I’ve never been a huge fan of grilled cheese (gasp)….

I know, I know… I rave about the Whey Station all the time, but I never really get a grilled cheese there. It’s always some other combination of melted cheese, meat and vegetables, which, let’s face it, is pretty much a panini.

I’m not sure why grilled cheese was never really my thing. Maybe it’s because the whole concept of American cheese slices individually wrapped in plastic has always kind of freaked me out. Or maybe it’s because white bread was a pretty rare commodity in my house, and as grilled cheese lovers everywhere know, it’s just not the same on whole wheat. Anyway, I’ve just never really liked them. But for some reason, I’ve had a change of heart.

Readers who read my post on chocolate might have realized that my taste buds are having some kind of mid-life crisis. Foods that I never previously enjoyed are now on the top of my cravings list. I think I need a taste bud psychologist.

Anyway, because of the title, I figured it was only fair to give you a little history on grilled cheese. Here it is, courtesy of my old pal Grilled Shane. Just kidding. I have no idea who that is, but here’s what he says about the history of grilled cheese.

“According to The Food Timeline, some sort of cooked bread and cheese were ancient foods included Roman cookbooks. However, nothing is known about the grilled cheese sandwich between ancient times and the 1920s. Inexpensive bread and processed cheese were first available in the 1920s, allowing the common person/family the first opportunity to create a “grilled cheese sandwich.” At the time, the sandwich was cooked open faced with grated “American” cheddar cheese. With time, the sandwich was cooked “closed” and we had a true sandwich as we know it today. The reason for the top piece of bread? Also according to The Food Timeline, adding the second slice of bread “was the the least expensive way to make a popular sandwich more filling.”

So I guess the concept of grilled cheese came into this world after the introduction of processed food. Yummm chemicals!

Fact of the day: Before January 15th, 2013, I did not know how to make a grilled cheese. Judge me. I don’t blame you. It’s pathetic.

But as my high school rowing coach always said ,”go hard or go home”. Unlike my rowing coach, however, I took that to heart. I looked up a million grilled cheese recipes (6), tested it THOUSANDS of times (3), and combined all the best qualities of each to make a truly delicious grilled cheese. So for all of you out there who don’t know how to make one (you’re reading a food blog so you probably do…), here’s a way to make yourself a grilled cheese sandwich!

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Ingredients:

  1. Two slices of white bread (do not use wheat. It won’t work)
  2. A LOT of butter
  3. grated cheese (I used cheddar because American scares me. Can they even grate American? Does it come on a block?)

Directions:

  1. Grab a plate, a butter knife, a stainless steel frying pan, a spatula, and all your ingredients.
  2. Make sure that the butter is room temperature, maybe even a little warmer. If it’s too cold and you break your bread while trying to butter it, you’ll never forgive yourself.
  3. Butter each side of both pieces of bread very generously. Disclaimer: The reason to put butter on the bread instead of in the pan is so that no bread is left unbuttered. If you want to put butter in the pan AND on the bread, more power to you. 
  4. Put the first slice into the frying pan. Let it sit. Do not play with it. If you flip it every 15 seconds, it won’t grill any faster. Believe me. I tried.
  5. Once the first side is golden brown, flip it over. Cover the bread with as much cheese as you want, and then put the other piece of bread on top. Press down a little with the spatula if you want to feel like a real cooking pro.  Also, if you want to sprinkle a little cheese on the bread, it adds a nice texture, and makes you feel kind of fancy!
  6. Once that side is golden brown, flip it again, and let the new slice get golden brown.
  7. You’re done. Cut it (I’d recommend cutting it into two triangles, but if you’re like me and you can’t figure out incredibly complicated geometry, it will probably taste the same if you just cut it in half.)
  8. Serve it with ketchup, chips, fruit, vegetables, OR if you want to experience grilled cheese ecstacy, tomato soup.

Alright, clearly I’m a genius chef. If you want to hire me to write a cookbook, speak with my agent.

Enjoy!

-Ari