Of all the topics I research when I write, food has to be one of the most frequent. What a character eats tells a lot about them and a lot about the period in which they lived. For writers of historical romance, it’s also one of those things that’s easy to get wrong.
I was intrigued with a post on 18th century food on one of my favorite blogs – Two Nerdy History Girls. Of all the things on the Colonial Williamsburg table, they focused on the macaroni and cheese. That’s exactly what would have caught my eye too. Somehow, thinking about our colonial ancestors eating mac and cheese makes me feel closer to them.
I make mac and cheese for dinner at least once a month. It’s not exactly a gourmet dish, but when you have two kids, including one voracious teenage boy and a vegetarian daughter, it’s easy and filling. My favorite recipe is Tim’s Mac and Cheese, and I follow it pretty faithfully, except I substitute a little mozzarella for some of the cheddar. Plus, I always use sharp cheddar, and I prefer Barilla pasta. (OK, so maybe I don't follow it that faithfully.)
Now that I know my characters might have eaten something similar, except all of their ingredients would have been homemade (yum!), I will never look at this simple dish the same way again.
Update: Since originally posting this, we've developed a little casein (milk protein) intolerance at my house. If anyone has a suggestion for a decent cheese substitute, I'd love to hear about it. Going casein-free has been way more difficult than going gluten-free!