Celebrating good old-fashioned grilled cheese

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Grilled Cheese Sandwich (Photo credit: powerplantop)

This probably seems odd. The woman who proclaims herself as “…waging a one-woman war against cheese” is excited about National Grilled Cheese Month. First, let me clarify: I’m not opposed to cheese itself, just the overuse of cheese, such as when every item on the restaurant menu includes cheese;  and the use of “cheese-like food” being passed off as cheese.

But grilled cheese? That’s the ultimate Mom food. I relish my childhood memories of Mom making us grilled cheese sandwiches on Fridays. Having grilled cheese was a treat, a departure from our usual tuna or egg salad. Mom didn’t really like to cook, and getting out a frying pan to make grilled cheese bordered on cooking, so it didn’t happen often. I’d watch the process with anticipation. First, she got out a stick of margarine, and set it on top of the gas range near the pilot light for a few minutes to soften. Of course we had real, old-fashioned margarine, not the light buttery vegetable oil spreads like we have today. She’d slather two slices of soft white bread with margarine while the frying pan was heating, then peel off a thick slab of American cheese from the package. Real American cheese, not  the slippery, plastic wrapped “cheese-like food slices” of today. If I was really lucky, I’d get to have chocolate milk, and maybe even potato chips, but the sandwich was so good alone, that really didn’t matter. I liked my sandwich well-toasted, pretty close to burned. I’m still not sure if I developed that taste on my own, or just expected it that way, as Mom tended to over-cook most things on our ancient gas stove. I’d sit at the red kitchen table, my feet swinging far above the floor, and enjoy my greasy, drippy cheese sandwich on a special Friday afternoon.

Since I’ve  developed a dairy allergy in adulthood, I can’t join in the National Grilled Cheese Month festivities. But if I could, I’m be making a grilled cheese sandwich today just like Mom used to make.

What’s your favorite grilled cheese memory?

© Huffygirl 2012

31 thoughts on “Celebrating good old-fashioned grilled cheese

  1. Grilled cheese and tomato soup when i would come home from school for lunch. Mom would be listening to her stories on the radio and it was such a comfy, homey feeling. I hate to go back to school after lunch. I’m old enough that we used real butter and real cheese. there wasn’t much in the way of processed anything back then. 🙂

    • Oh, I see you go for the modern grilled cheese Lisa. Other twists on the modern are pesto, and trendy cheeses. I would go for goat cheese myself if I could eat it.

  2. Thanks for the link! I agree that chefs try too hard to grab the cheese-lovers of the world and NEVER should cheese-like-product be used in fine dining. Go real or go home. Stay cheesy!

  3. I love grilled cheese. It’s my go-to lunch on Fridays in Lent. Oliver is apparently a grilled cheese snob. He loves it in restaurants, but not so much when I make it. Personally I think I make a great grilled cheese sandwich, but I try to use whole grain bread and 2% reduced fat cheese as much as possible. I think he only likes the full-fat stuff on white bread. I’ve taken to buying “whole grain white” bread, and he seems to like that better. 🙂
    The Indiana State Fair Dairy Bar makes a great traditional grilled cheese sandwic, btw, for like $2. One of the best deals at the fair!

    • The state fair sandwich sounds wonderful Judy. I admire your attempt to make Oliver’s grilled cheese more healthy, but maybe you should try going for the full-fat version for a treat. It’s not like he’s eating it every day (although the way kids eat, I suppose that could happen.) Personally, I think my memories of the full fat, white bread grilled cheese would probably not be so warm and fuzzy, had we been having low fat cheese food on healthy bread.

      • Oh, I’m not trying to make it healthful for him in particular, mostly for me! 🙂 I guess I could always make him a traditional full fat one, and a low fat, high fiber one for myself, but then I’d probably be jealous. LOL And we do tend to have grilled cheese about once a week for lunch since it’s a pretty kid-friendly meal and easy to do, so I don’t want us all to blimp out.

      • All good points Judy. My philosophy is that I’d rather have the full-flavored version of a favorite food, with all the calories and bad stuff left in, and just have it occasionally, than have the low-fat sub-par version frequently. This works for me most of the time. I guess it’s quality over quantity. Of course I only have myself to worry about too. UD never says “we should have low fat _______.” He just eats whatever he wants and manages to stay pretty slim.

    • Wow, that’s a variation I haven’t heard before Gilly. A lot of people here like it with tomatoes and onions, so I guess that’s somewhat similar. Thanks for sharing your version.

  4. Hi, I’m a friend of Nathan Badley. He was just mentioning that he kind of misses seeing you around his blog lately. I just don’t want him to get his feelings hurt too much. I think that people have been slacking off on visiting his blog because he doesn’t reply to comments very well. Anyway, would you please swing over there and say hi? http://badlandsbadley.wordpress.com/

    • Hi Hobbler, I’m so sorry to hear that Nathan misses me. I’ll have to take care of that right away and stop by his blog.
      Funny though, it seems like I was just there. This couldn’t have anything to do with the “war” you two are having does it? But no, that could not be it, because if you were at war with Nathan you wouldn’t be worried about his hurt feelings. The “war” you two are supposed to be having must be one of those nasty internet rumors that get started some how.

      Anyway, thanks for stopping in. I’ll have to come by your blog and say hi there too, just so you don’t feel left out and start some kind of war with Nathan. 😉

      • Hmmm, am I a dark side person? I guess I’ll let the readers decide. But you’re safe Hobbler- I’m not planning on starting any wars.

      • Okay, but will you join me? I didn’t start this war. Nathan declared it on me. Rude huh. I am just trying to find a way that will make it easier for him to apologize and surrender.

      • I’m enjoying seeing how two crafty bloggers work this out, so I think I’ll stand by and watch for now. I’ll be Switzerland in the war between Badlands Badley and The Hobbler. (I do enjoy the knives they have up there though. For a neutral country, they certainly produce a rather bellicose little pocket knife!)

      • He’s playing dirty though. He put a hex on my computer that has made me feel horrible and sleep almost all day. It really is weird. You need to help just in case.

  5. Loved making a grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of tomato soup for my daughter when she was little and needed cheering up. It almost always worked and created special memories for both of us. We sat down, slowly ate our lunch, and just talked it all out.

  6. I don’t think I ate grilled cheese as much as you did when we were kids, but I think I rediscovered it at the State Fair Judy mentioned. It’s now my lunch (along with their milkshake) every time we go there.

  7. Pingback: Mexican Cheese Toasties | The Hearty Herbivore

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