And He Called It Macaroni–
It’s not the most important story in the paper. That might be sinking of “The City of Athens,” a U.S. based steamer sunk by a mine en-route to South Africa, or the obituaries of two long-time citizens of Bloomington, or the details of IU’s mandatory military studies course offerings for fall all of which can be found on the front page. But I was intrigued by this, an ad in the middle of the paper for a brand of pasta that I had never heard of before.
The brand still exists.
Their former factory in Omaha has been turned into luxury apartments.
If you wondering why that appears to be a spaghetti box in a macaroni ad, Macaroni was, and still sometimes is, used as a word for any dried pasta. Macaroni and cheese was a dish associated with World War I and future-president, then head of the Food Administration, Herbert Hoover’s program of voluntary conservation. Formerly a fancy side-dish made with imported parmesan cheese, World War I turned macaroni and cheese into an affordable option for Meatless Tuesdays in a new form with sauce made from domestic cheeses stretched with milk and flour.
This recipe from An All Western Conservation Cook Book published in 1917, shows that fried macaroni and cheese is not a new thing. It is one of 8 recipes in this book for macaroni, with or without cheese.
Macaroni and Cheese Croquettes
1 c. cooked macaroni
1 T. butter
1 T. flour
1 c. milk
3/4 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
Cut fine 1 cupful cold cooked macaroni; add this to a thick sauce made of 1 tbspful each of butter and flour and 1 cupful of milk, tbsp. of grated cheese, yolks of two eggs, salt, pepper. Cool, shape into balls and fry in deep fat – Mrs. J.W. Harris