A widowed father, an aging housekeeper, and three older siblings were in a bar.
Not really.. ha! You can poke me.
Not in a bar, no, but they raised a little boy named Stanley. The theory is that the widowed father, the housekeeper and the siblings put a little bit of sugar or sweet on anything that Stanley wouldn’t eat (like rice and spinach and sandwiches). Then Stanley ate.
Stanley was my dad. Dad taught us to spread the tops of his grilled cheese sandwiches with a bit of grape jam or jelly. My brothers and I thought everybody did. But as soon as we were old enough to travel to neighbor kids for lunches, we learned that other people dipped their grilled cheese into ketchup and nobody did the jam on top.
Bruce’s family ate their grilled cheeses plain. Yes, plain! I know it’s weird to eat it with jelly so I didn’t even ask. But no ketchup? Plain?
The art of the cheese sandwich
White bread from the bakery with sliced Colby cheese was Mom’s way. Before the sandwich went into the pan she dabbed on thick slabs of cold butter then fried it until golden brown.
I keep in touch with one of our old neighbor friends who remembers my mom’s grilled cheese… served on the plate with the burned side down. Sue says she always looked underneath while Mom wasn’t looking. How funny.
Grandma’s way was Velveeta cheese on squishy white Wonder Bread spread with soft butter from her butter dish that she kept on the kitchen table. I don’t know if we got jelly or ketchup but who cared. We got melty processed cheese food on white fluffy bread sandwiches.
My mother-in-law melted butter in the pan first then added the sandwich. I think she was a loyal Pepperidge Farm bread and Kraft singles gal.
From vintage to modern and back again?
I’ll call it vintage, being the stuff people used to eat before the chemists got ahold of it. The minimally processed 1960 version of my Mom’s sandwich made of a good quality simply made bread without preservatives, 100% dairy cheese and dairy butter is vintage. Don’t forget the jam made from fruit and sugar.
Then food manufacturing went modern, big and corporate. Chemically concocted highly processed “foods” like cheese food, crock-0-stuff pretending to be butter, and foods made with corn syrups, artificial sweeteners and preservatives designed to stay “fresh” forever and that are relatively cheap to buy, are still the order of the day. The trouble is that we make ourselves sick by eating it. I regret raising my boys on this junk.
Here’s my yummy Grilled Cheese and Strawberry-Jalapeño Jam sandwich. It’s a little bit vintage with a modern twist. Yumm.
Here’s what you do… slice a bit of some lovely Vermont White Cheddar Cheese and pair it with some good bakery white farmhouse style bread.
Arrange the cheese on the bread and top it with a big spoonful of the Sweet and Spicy Homemade Strawberry-Jalapeno Jam from my last week’s blog… you made it already, right?? winks
Butter the bread and pan grill it ’til the cheese melts and the bread is golden brown.
Give it a try — you will LOVE it — or, better yet, let me know of your favorite way to do grilled cheese. Yummmmm.