5 Facts You Absolutely Didn’t Know about Macaroni – on National Macaroni Day!
For our Francophone friends, today may be most notable as Bastille Day (Joyeux Quatorze Juillet!). But for most of our readers in North America, today is also notable – as National Macaroni Day!
To help celebrate the day, we’ve assembled a list of five fun facts about macaroni that even your most well-read foodie friends probably don’t know. (And maybe even inspire a few traditionalists to check out this super-easy Copycat Kraft Mac and Cheese Recipe, for those readers who are so inclined.)
1. The name, “macaroni,” doesn’t actually refer to the ubiquitous pasta’s shape, but to its ingredients. In fact, macaroni can come in many different shapes, not just in the elbow shape common to North America tables. What the name technically refers to is a variety of dry pasta made from durum wheat and without eggs. However, these days, most macaroni sold in North America is tubular in shape.
2. Marco Polo was not the first Italian to discover macaroni. In spite of legends to the contrary, research suggests that macaroni-type pasta was produced in different parts of Sicily around a century before Polo ever left for China.
3. The English word, macaroni, originally comes from the Greek word, makaria, which referred to a sacred meal eaten at funerals. Food historians believe this meal was originally perhaps some type of barley soup served in honor of the dearly departed, but the word, makaria, and its meaning – “a ritual blessing meal” – eventually became associated with the pasta we all know and love today.
4. There’s a big global appetite for Mac & Cheese. 7 million boxes of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese are sold worldwide – each and every week. That’s a lot of second helpings!
5. Canadians really, really, really love their mac and cheese. Of the 7 million boxes that Kraft sells worldwide each week, 1.7 million are purchased in Canada alone. That means that Canadians consume about 50% of the product annually than their U.S. neighbors.