Monday, 3 April 2017

Why I Don't Make Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

When I was a young newly married woman in the early 80s I bought a toasted sandwich maker. It was all the rage, and it sounded exciting, so I thought I'd give it a try. What's not to like, after all? I loved cheese on toast but this was a bit different. Why not.

The end result was pleasant enough. And then I tried adding other ingredients. I experimented for about a week then lost interest and the thing languished in the back of a cupboard for years until I threw it out. It wouldn't be the last gimmicky small appliance I'd ever buy, but that was the story of the toasted sandwich maker.

In 1993 we came to live in Canada, and shortly after that I got a babysitting job for a child in my younger daughter's class at school. It was before and after school, but obviously on days when there was no school I had her all day. Her mother told me she was picky but easy to feed. Just make her a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch. I told her that I didn't have a grilled sandwich maker, but I'd be happy to give her cheese on toast.

We both looked at each other blankly.

I was then instructed on the art of a standard North American grilled cheese sandwich. It wasn't difficult, but it seemed a bit odd. For a start it was fried, not grilled. And for this child the filling was processed cheese slices. And she ate it.

That was the only time I made them for years. For my own family I made cheese on toast. Far less work.

Internet years arrived. I learned that it was actually normal, common, and popular to make grilled cheese sandwiches in North America. Well, fried cheese sandwiches really. On a couple of occasions I decided to give it another go, but frankly, it just wasn't worth it. Cheese on toast has a much higher cheese to bread ratio (i.e. this is better) and is less effort. I could see no advantage to the grilled cheese sandwich whatsoever. More work, less cheese. Nope.

Then people started to tell me about eating it with soup. I had heard of having soup and a sandwich before, apparently a popular lunch option. Well, two lunches really. At first I assumed it was two courses, but then I learned it was served together. This confused me. I couldn't quite picture it. Did you dip the sandwich in the soup? Or did you double fist it? Spoon in one hand, sandwich in the other? Whatever, too complicated. Sandwich for lunch, fine. Soup for lunch, fine. BOTH...sounds like too much food anyway. I'm sure it would be great for a working man, but I don't need two lunches.

But to COOK a sandwich and heat up soup too? FOR LUNCH? Geez. Well, clearly many people make far more effort for lunch than I do. For me it's a quick snack. There is no way in hell I'm cooking two things at that point in the day. If I feel like eating cheese and toasted bread I have cheese on toast. I have absolutely nothing against grilled cheese sandwiches. I just don't have a use for them. If you make me one, I'll eat it, and I'm sure I'll enjoy it, but it's just not something I make.

(I've also learned that some people eat chips with their sandwiches. It's a nice touch on a special occasion, but daily? There's another blog post right there, but I can't.)

Then, I heard of people having this for dinner. And I gave up.

It is none of my business what other people eat. That has been made very clear. OK. Unfortunately this doesn't work the other way around. It is perfectly acceptable to question or berate me on my food options. Hey, it's fine. So, now you know, this is why I don't make grilled cheese sandwiches.


  1. Is the cheese on toast stuck under the grill? It looks nice and bubbly. I happen to enjoy both grilled cheese and the s&s combination for lunch. The soup would come out of the freezer and just takes a moment to heat up, about the time it takes to make a grilled cheese.

    1. Yes. Toast one side, flip it over, add cheese, toast that side. Done.

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