Grilled Cheese: The Great LevelerMarch 2, 2010
To paraphrase Monty Burns, from the mightiest Pharaoh to the lowliest peasant, who doesn’t enjoy a grilled cheese sandwich? It’s one of the simplest and most comforting foods to make; but with its simplicity comes a huge opportunity for variety – ask anyone how they like their grilled cheese sandwich, and you’re bound to never hear the same answer twice…and that’s just discussing the kind of cheese and bread to use. Start talking about other non-cheese ingredients and the variations go on forever. But therein lies a debate – if you add something to a grilled cheese sandwich, like ham or spinach or chicken, etc., is it still a grilled cheese sandwich, or is it now a “melt” or a “Panini,” or just a grilled sandwich? One side of the debate says that if you have other ingredients that are in greater amounts than the cheese, it cannot be called a “grilled cheese” – which I guess is why a cheeseburger is called that and not a “grilled cheese and beef sandwich.” Others, like the Melt Bar & Grilled in Cleveland, OH, seem to claim that if it’s a sandwich with melted cheese on it, regardless of what else is in the sandwich, it’s a “grilled cheese.” Just look at their Gourmet Grilled Cheese menu and you’ll see what I mean.
And then there’s the issue of seeing religious images in a grilled cheese:
But that’s a debate for another time.
So on which side of the issue do you fall? What’s your favorite way to have a grilled cheese sandwich? Mine is as basic as it gets: white bread and yellow American cheese. Butter the bread lightly, grill it in a pan over medium heat until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown. Slice it in a diagonal and enjoy. Now of course I love other kinds of bread, and I’m sort of a cheese fanatic, so any variation of bread with melted cheese is going to be a winner in my book. Let me know if you have any magically delicious grilled cheese ideas!