Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Grilled cheese sandwich -- supreme

We're supposed to help you. Indeed, we have. Over the past year, this blog has brought you fearless (some would say feckless) reports covering a wide variety of subjects: screw caps on wine bottles, elastic waisted britches, and media coverage of the day Elvis died.

Today, we tackle the sacred -- the making of the grilled cheese sandwich.

And we will plagiarize shamelessly from Jennifer Steinhauer's article in the New York Times on the front page of the Dining In section.

There have been remarkable improvements in frying cheese-filled bread in butter. Most of the innovations come from Los Angeles eateries, not Wisconsin as you might think.

This year, some 600 people entered the Grilled Cheese Invitational at an unpublicized address in Century City, California. In three categories: missionary (bread, butter, and cheese), kama sutra (with meats and other ingredients and better bread), and honey pot(dessert sandwiches).

Still, as much as grilled cheese means to the American pantheon of comfort foods and no matter how dressed up you make it, the sandwich celebration does not rise to the level of the the Spam-O-Rama in Austin, Texas. Or the granddaddy of food fights, the Chilympiad which originated in Terlingua, a Texas ghost town. Food fight? Yes, there are competing events the first week in November. One is sponsored by Chili Appreciation Society International, the other is the Frank X. Tolbert/Wick Fowler Memorial Championship Chili Cookoff.

Focus. We're talking grilled cheese sandwiches here: sourdough bread grilled in butter, maybe a tomato and an onion, served hot enough that the cheese still runs. Ahhh, that's comfort.

Take it to the next level: taleggio cheese, short ribs, arugula and apricot caper puree on raisin bread.

Burp when you're done.


Anonymous said...

What a coincidence. Had grilled cheese for lunch. Best in Austin - Nau's Pharmacy.

Jim said...

The dearest one beside me
Swears there's cheese within me
The best thing to enhance the flavor of a grilled cheese is the use of Miracle Whip Light in lieu of butter. That spread has a bitof a tang that can't be beat (the Light variety only) and it complements the thin sliced Danish Ham and two types of cheeses - American and sharp Cheddar (Cracker Barrel brand only). The onlyest improvement is to make a jalapeno pie, slice it thin and use that cheese in lieu of others ... of course the pie was made of Cracker Barrel sharp cheddar and pickled jalapenos. Trouble is, in my area (arg,
Washington, D.C.), anything spicier than Heinz - you bet your Liberal ass - ketchup, sends people to the emergency room (back door) for undocumented help and assistance.
Some put tomato slices on them - but not me. If I want to eat tomatoes, I'll go out and lie down in the garden with the snails, slugs birds and squirrels.

Anonymous said...

That darn New York times has corrupted you worse than I thought. Now it's got you making everything but the American standard grilled cheese sandwich. Come on back to the good old boys heritage and enjoy freedom again. Toasted bread coted in butter and a couple of slices of American cheese in the middle.----Goose

Anonymous said...

Call me border trash, but make mine a quesadilla. That is how I like my carb/dairy induced post-lunch comas induced.

s.l.d. cowen

Anonymous said...


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