The way Mar­i­lynn and Sheila Brass make mac­a­roni and cheese could be con­sid­ered a lost art.

Instead of preparing the dish using today’s fac­tory pro­duced all-​​in-​​one kits, the Brass sis­ters com­bine more than 15 ingre­di­ents, including cheddar, ricotta, pro­volone, and parmesan, to make what they call the “Billionaire’s Mac­a­roni and Cheese.”

We learned the recipe from a friend 35 years ago,” explained Mar­i­lynn, 72. “It was called ‘Millionaire’s Mac­a­roni and Cheese’ and when we decided to include it in our cook­book I said to Sheila, ‘With infla­tion we should prob­ably change it to Billionaire’s.’”

The Brass sis­ters, who have written two cook­books and hosted their own cooking show on WGBH TV, showed off their culi­nary skills ear­lier this month at Northeastern’s Xhi­bi­tion Kitchen.

The audience—and eager taste-testers—comprised of stu­dents in a new course launched this summer called Food, Food Policy, and Health. It is the brain­child of John Auer­bach, director of the Insti­tute on Urban Health Research and Prac­tice, and his hus­band Corby Kummer, restau­rant critic for Boston Mag­a­zine and senior editor of The Atlantic.

Starting with the eating habits of the Pil­grims, the course looks at the his­tory of food in the U.S. and how poli­cies and public opin­ions have influ­ence how people eat, from the devel­op­ment of food stan­dards in the late 1800s to the obe­sity epidemic.

It’s ambi­tious,” Auer­bach said of the course. “There has been increased atten­tion on the impor­tance of food policy and con­sump­tion, and this course will delve into the his­tory of that.”

For Rip Weaver, MPH’14, this is the final course before starting a cap­stone project in the fall. He said he has always enjoyed learning about food cul­ture and this course helped to solidify his pas­sion for healthy eating in America. After grad­u­ating Weaver said he hopes to stay in Boston and work on issues related to healthy food access and eating for under­served populations.

I wanted to expand my knowl­edge of public health policy, par­tic­u­larly as it relates to food and agri­cul­ture,” Weaver explained. “I was drawn to the fact that the course com­bines var­ious teaching methods, including tra­di­tional approaches such as guest lec­tures, read­ings, and stu­dent projects, with more hands-​​on expe­ri­ences like site visits and cooking demonstrations.”

The Brass sis­ters’ cooking demo served as an oppor­tu­nity for stu­dents to taste dif­ferent ver­sions of mac­a­roni and cheese and learn how the dish has changed since the late 1930s, when Kraft Foods intro­duced the mac and cheese dinner. The stu­dents, many of whom said they grew up eating home­made mac­a­roni and cheese, had high praise for the Brass sis­ters’ dish describing it as “rich in flavor.”

In addi­tion to the Brass sis­ters, other Xhi­bi­tion Kitchen guests of the food policy course will include Mau­reen Tim­mons, director of North­eastern Dining Ser­vices, and Deb Fan­tasia, Xhi­bi­tion Kitchen coor­di­nator, who will dis­cuss what it’s like to cook for 20,000 people every day.

As part of the course, stu­dents will also tour the Boston-​​based Legal Sea Food’s Quality Con­trol Center to learn how the com­pany mea­sures the quality of its food and makes sure its safe to eat. The stu­dents will also visit the Haley House Bakery Café in Rox­bury, which uses food as a vehicle to help people and bring com­mu­ni­ties together.

We wanted to design a course that we would want to take our­selves,” Kummer said. “The kitchen is so unique to the school. We have cooks and teachers coming in who are very con­cerned about food access and the food system.”