First served on the tables of the Southern elites, macaroni and cheese has become one of America’s most beloved dishes. African American chefs and cooks are at the center of that story.
This is the macaroni and cheese recipe that would have been made in the kitchens at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. Jefferson first became familiar the creamy, cheesy baked dish of macaroni from his time in Paris and it was enslaved cooks, James Hemings, Peter Hemings, Edith Hern Fossett and Frances Gillette Hern, who prepared this favorite dish over the years. The popularization of this iconic American dish can be traced to Black cooks, like Peter Fossett (the freed son of Edith Hern Fossett), Rufus Estes and Freda De Knight, who helped spread the dish throughout the United States. Learn more about Macaroni and Cheese at Monticello.