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updated: 1/24/2013 7:39 AM

Move over Mom: Bacony mac and cheese serious comfort food

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  • Whether you make Cheesy Bacon Mac on the stove top or in a slow-cooker, it's seriously delicious comfort food.

      Whether you make Cheesy Bacon Mac on the stove top or in a slow-cooker, it's seriously delicious comfort food.
    Bob Chwedyk

 
By Jerome Gabriel

Macaroni and cheese is a comfort food; it's a food that makes you feel better, and something that will warm you up on a cold winter day and make you feel at home.

Here are some things I just found out about macaroni and cheese:

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• The Chinese came up with the noodle for macaroni and cheese and then the Italians started using the noodle with different cheeses. This was the 1200s.

• Macaroni and cheese became popular in the United States after it was served to President Thomas Jefferson in the White House. When he first tried macaroni and cheese it was made with parmesan cheese.

Today it seems like everybody likes macaroni and cheese; I've liked it for my whole life and don't know many people (except my brother) who don't like it.

And another thing I've always liked is bacon, so I decided to mix the two. This seems like the perfect combination of two things that are popular -- very popular.

A word from Mom: I admit it. I have made macaroni and cheese from the familiar blue box more times than I have made it from scratch. At the time it always seems like the easier thing to do, but making this yummy dinner from scratch really doesn't take that much extra time.

Precooked bacon and shredded cheese are simple shortcuts, but you can also set aside a few strips of bacon from breakfast and have your kids grate some cheese.

I think of macaroni and cheese as a quick and easy meal so when I first came across the slow-cooker recipe it seemed counterintuitive. Then I saw the beauty of it: I can put the ingredients in the crock and turn it on, run the boys to swim practice, get my own work out in and return to a hot, homemade dish. A side of steamed broccoli and some pear slices or a salad completes the meal.

That's my idea of comfort food.

• Jerome Gabriel, a seventh-grader, has been helping in the kitchen since he could hold a spoon. He is the son of Daily Herald Food Editor Deborah Pankey.

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