#1 Grilled Cheese Sandwich
The best thing I’ve ever eaten is…a grilled cheese sandwich.
I know. I KNOW. “You follow up a tasting menu with a grilled cheese sandwich?!?!?” Well, this is my damn blog, and I can pick what I want. And it just so happens to be true.
I’ve eaten so many grilled cheese sandwiches in my life. With American cheese, cheddar, on white bread, wheat bread, rye bread, served with chips, with salad. Eaten them as comfort food when I’m sad, as a last resort when there’s nothing in the fridge, as a remedy for a hangover. As a matter of fact, it’s my surefire remedy for a hangover – a grilled cheese sandwich.
When I was young, my father would make them for my brother and me after church on Sundays. We’d eat them with cold milk and sweet pickles. It’s a weird combo. I wouldn’t recommend eating them all in the same bite. But that’s what I grew up with, so it tastes like home to me. It tastes like the moments after you get home from church and you can take off your tights and squeaky shoes and stiff dress, and eat lunch before you go play in the pool.
The first grilled cheese sandwiches I had were made with wheat bread, American cheese and butter. Lots of butter. I don’t like sandwiches with too much butter though.
In college, the grill would make them with Texas toast. They’re good that way, but the bread is too thick to cook properly, in my opinion.
Nowadays, I usually eat my grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup. Not soup I make myself. The point of a grilled cheese sandwich is the simplicity. Cheese and bread, premade soup. It’s a meal you eat in a pinch, but also because you love it. It’s a meal you eat when you tell the Atkins diet to fuck off, when you want something warm and comforting.
John makes my favorite grilled cheese sandwich. He makes the best grilled cheese sandwich, and I won’t tolerate any opinions to the contrary.
What I’ve learned in this top 10 series is that everything, everything in life tastes better when someone makes it for you. It’s true. The less effort you spend on it, the better it tastes.
Last night, John made us grilled cheese sandwiches and soup. I sat in the living room and listened to the sounds of butter sizzling on a skillet, soup being stirred, smelled the cheese melting.
John’s grilled cheese sandwiches are made with a layer of mayo on the outside instead of butter. This gives it a little zing, a little tang. Inside, there are usually at least 3 cheeses. Last night’s sandwich had goat cheese, queso asadero, and havarti. This sounds like a lot of cheese, but it’s just enough. The asadero melts and binds the other cheeses together. The goat cheese forms hot melting pockets of cheese. The havarti gives more depth of flavor. In case you want more flavor, or maybe just an earthiness, John will sautee some mushrooms and maybe some onions and add those in.
He cooks then until they are dark brown, almost charred. This gives them a nice crisp texture and turns the crusts into perfect dipping mechanisms. They can withstand multiple soup dunkings this way.
So that’s it, folks. The 10 best things I’ve ever eaten. Maybe you think I’m cheating my naming a sandwich as the best thing I’ve ever eaten. I don’t really care. Every time I eat a grilled cheese sandwich, I am happy. And while all of those other fantastic meals were great, I can’t eat them anytime I want. Some of them because they’re in places I don’t live, some because they’re not offered anymore, some because it’s downright unhealthy to eat them on a regular basis. But a grilled cheese sandwich, you can eat that whenever you want. And when you do, you will be happy.