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10 Things You Didn't Know About Kraft Macaroni & Cheese

Cheesy, filling, and easy and fun to prepare, it's one of those foods that almost everybody likes.
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Ask just about anyone to name a few of the childhood foods that they remember the most fondly, and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, in its trademark blue box, will invariably come up. Cheesy, filling, and easy and fun to prepare, it's one of those foods that almost everybody likes. We'll bet, though, that however often you may have eaten it, there are some things you still don't know about this classic standby.

James Lewis Kraft, the founder of Kraft Foods, didn't invent macaroni and cheese, and didn't even invent processed cheese, but he was the first to patent the process of emulsifying and powdering cheese in order to give it a much longer shelf life. One day, he encountered a salesman in St. Louis who was selling boxes of pasta with bags of grated cheese attached to it with a rubber band, and had one of those "light bulb" moments. In 1937, Kraft was the first to sell boxed macaroni and cheese, and it became an instant hit.

The reasons behind the blue box's success are manifold. It was the height of the Great Depression and the product was inexpensive, and its shelf life of 10 months was certainly attractive in a time when not everyone had refrigerators. It was also a great way to feed the whole family something hearty and filling, and was meat-free in a time of rationing during World War II.

Today there are plenty of companies selling boxed macaroni and cheese (click here for our Ultimate Boxed Macaroni and Cheese Taste Test). Over the years, more and more styles of mac and cheese were added to Kraft's portfolio, and today there are "Deluxe" varieties with a pre-made cheese sauce in the box; larger-format "Homestyle" options that come with seasoned breadcrumbs to sprinkle on top; Easy Mac, which cooks quickly in a microwave (and has entered the pantheon of legendary dorm foods); and a food-service version that's delivered frozen and heated in the microwave.

Read on to learn 10 things you didn't know about Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

The “Original” Variety is Technically Called “The Cheesiest.”
The classic mac and cheese, in order to differentiate it from the host of other Kraft blue box macaroni and cheeses, is technically referred to as The Cheesiest. Photo Credit: © Flickr / Mike Mozart
Today, More Than 1 Million Boxes are Sold Daily
It’s official: people love their macaroni and cheese.
There are 22 “Blue Box” Varieties
You’d be amazed at the variety that’s currently available. There are more than 20 options, including Buffalo Cheddar, Garlic & Herb Alfredo, Grilled Cheese Explosion, Veggie Pasta, and Organic White Cheddar. Photo Credit: iStockPhoto/ThinkstockClick Here to See More of 10 Things You Didn't Know About Kraft Macaroni & Cheese
9 Million Boxes Were Sold in Year One
In 1937 alone, 9 million boxes flew off the shelves. That’s what we call getting off to a good start!