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Thomas Jefferson would have loved the Paso Macaroni and Cheese Festival, and so will you 

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Few words go together as beautifully as macaroni (mac, if you’re more intimately familiar with the meal) and cheese. When Thomas Jefferson visited Paris and Italy, he encountered the dish, prompting him to create a sketch of the pasta and write notes about the dish’s construction. He would later commission the American ambassador to Paris to purchase a machine to make macaroni, and wound up serving macaroni pie at a state dinner.

Doubtless, whenever the president hit a rough patch or had a difficult decision to make—for example, whether to follow through with the Louisiana Purchase, whether Meriwether Lewis had sufficient scientific credentials to explore the newly purchased territory on behalf of the government, and how to respond when Vice President Aaron Burr killed Jefferson’s greatest political enemy in a duel—he turned to that cheesy, gastronomic comfort food for mental clarity and emotional relief.

You might not be concerned about your second in command fighting a duel, but you’ve got your own unique set of concerns—veterinary bills for a cat who unfailingly wakes up at 4 a.m. intent on destroying everything in sight, in my case—and there’s no better cure for what ails you than a trip to the Paso Macaroni and Cheese Festival at LeVigne Winery on Aug. 24 from 2-6 p.m. Tickets range from $45-$125, which will get you an ID badge, the opportunity to taste more than 20 wines, and a wine glass to take home. More importantly, it will purchase you the opportunity to sample a wide variety of gourmet mac and cheese, and cast a vote in the People’s Choice Award.

If the allure of dozens of samples of gooey, delicious mac and cheese is insufficient to pry you from whatever you happened to have planned this weekend—and unless you’re getting a milk chocolate facial from Bill Murray, I’m not really sure what appointment could possibly be more important—the proceeds from the event are going to a highly worthy cause: a nonprofit rescue zoo that provides a safe haven for injured, abandoned, and abused wild animals. That’s right, folks—by eating macaroni and cheese prepared by some of the county’s finest chefs, you’re helping wildlife like Jasmine, the Indochinese tiger, and Sierra, the black bear. You’re helping Zoo to You in its mission to give wildlife a voice and provide a safe and loving home for wildlife that, for various reasons, can’t return to its natural habitat.

So go ahead. Indulge. If not for yourself, do it for Jasmine and Sierra. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit


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