Macaroni and cheese goes right to the American soul. Thanks to Thomas Jefferson, macaroni has been a part of American cuisine right from the beginning and cheese even before that. It is a natural combination that caught on right away.
The dish is embedded in American memory permanently. It is revered both for its simplicity and endless variations. It was a natural from the beginning, both pasta and cheese can be kept without refrigeration. It is also a hearty dish, an important consideration among our hard working ancestors.
Macaroni and cheese had a huge comeback during the Depression, it was ideally suited for hard times. Both cheap and satisfying it was not only embedded in American culture, it was now enshrined. It saved the budget, it kept families together and the wolf from the door.
In more modern times, I remember macaroni and cheese as a staple of meatless Fridays, which we observed although we were not Catholic. On Fridays it was either fish or macaroni and cheese. Personally, I enjoyed and looked forward to the Friday fare, it was different and a nice weekly ritual.
Last but not least, is the great mouth feel and flavor of macaroni and cheese. It is great comfort food and one with a long history. What's not to like, what's not to get?