Happy Grilled Cheese Day!

My first love was melted cheese on bread.

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This love broke my heart when I discovered a mild lactose allergy in college.

broken grilled cheese heart

 

I continue to ignore it to this day, despite the raging pains in my tummy. I don’t care — I’m alive, and I will eat cheese til’ the death!

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Growing up I had an obsession with Thomas’s Everything Bagels with Muenster cheese heated in the microwave until the cheese falls through the hole in the bagel and onto my plate and gets kind of crispy. In middle school I upped the ante (meaning Hawaiian rolls + cheese in the microwave).

I eventually got my grilled cheese act together and concocted a list of rules to ensure that every four hours spent in the bathroom after eating one is worth it (TMI? Woops.)

Grilled Cheese Rules and Regulations

1) Contrary to what my adolescence led me to believe, the microwave is not the best way to go. Use a pan or the oven method I will later mention (or an iron à la Benny & Joon, if you’re my hero).

2) Grate your cheese! It ensures even gooeyness and who wouldn’t want that, honestly?

3) Butter the bread not the pan-. Yes you need butter, don’t try to work around it. You’re already eating a grilled cheese, might as well do it right. Be fancy if you want! Chop some herbs to mix into the butter before spreading. I like to mix a wee bit of mustard into butter and spread that on the bread because I’m gross (or a genius).

4) Okay so one of my worst nightmares (even more than a burnt crust because I kinda like that) is biting into a grilled cheese to find a section of cold non- melted cheese. THE HORROR. I have learned 2 foolproof methods to make sure this never happens to you: First, if you cover the pan with a lid when you are cooking the first side- maximum cheese melting will occur.

This second maneuver is my favorite: butter one side of each bread slice and toast them both in the pan. Then transfer them to a wire rack, put the toppings on the untoasted side, and finish it in the oven (open face style). Once the cheese is perfectly melted, take it out and smash those two babies together and experience nirvana.

5) Condiments or bust. If you read my bio, this a no brainer. Same goes for pickles. They make everything better. For delicious quick pickled onions, soak a thinly sliced red onion in ½ cup apple cider vinegar, tablespoon of sugar, big pinch of salt for an hour!

Gabi’s Favorite Grilled Cheese Situation

The time has now come for me to share a little piece of myself with all of you in the form of my favorite grilled cheese concoction. Pause while I debate if this is a socially acceptable recipe. Here goes nothin’…

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The bread: I like to use multigrain breads because it makes me feel better about all the shit I’m about to put inside. But when I don’t care about such petty things: PRETZEL ROLL.

The cheese: Whatever you like. For me, it’s gruyere for the win.

Other stuff: Potato chips (salt and vin is my preference), bread and butter pickles AND quick pickled onions that I mentioned above (obviously can’t get enough vinegar), a good grainy mustard.

Microwave until you have reached gooey perfection. Jokes! I like the aforementioned oven method for this one. I add the chips and pickles after I take it out of the oven before I smash the two slices together.

There you have it! Who wants to have a grilled cheese party? Be right there, gotta go buy some Lactaid.

Recommended Reading
Ode To: Grilled Cheese
Top 10 Ways To Eat Melted Cheese

Gabriella has written 26 articles for us.

41 Comments

  1. Last month I started to develop lactose intolerance. I too ignore it to varying degrees, despite feeling like I’m going to DIE after consuming my favorite grilled cheese situation (sharp cheddar and green apple slices on whole grain bread).

    Those little chewable “dairy relief” tablets are pricey and kinda gross, but mildly helpful.

  2. “There you have it! Who wants to have a grilled cheese party? Be right there, gotta go buy some Lactaid.”
    Funny, aye?

    My basic grilled cheese… or “cheese on toast” as us brits call it… isn’t complete without a generous splash of balsamic vinegar on top of the cheese MID-MELT. Don’t do it too early, you will ruin everything forever. Don’t leave it too late or you will just feel like you’ve drank a shot of vinegar. Let that shit make sweet love to the cheese… I promise a happy ending.

  3. I had to log in just to comment on this post. You guys, one of my deepest darkest secrets is that I don’t love cheese. I realize this is a character flaw, and I own it! But grilled cheese sammies are a different story.

    My concoction: mayo on the outside of the bread in lieu of butter (or Miracle Whip if I’m feeling really classy). Smash some jalapenos and pineapple in the middle, liberally drench in Tapatio hot sauce. Crisp to perfection. I predict this situation happening in my near future.

  4. OMG, this is my new favorite holiday of ALL TIME!
    Your weird recipe actually sounds tasty and satisfyingly gooey and crunchy.

    If you can get your hands on some Beecher’s Flagship (or other really good quality white cheddar), grill it with some truffle oil for simple, perfect heaven. (and I don’t even like mushrooms, but truffle oil is from the gods).

    I also LOVE to put some pesto in just about any grilled cheese, because PESTO.

  5. I recommend putting cheese in waffles. I know it’s not really a grilled cheese, but if you’re going to melt cheese, why not go the way of the savoury waffle? or use two waffles?

    my favourite recipe is to make three cheese waffles which is like a traditional waffle recipe but you just keep throwing (I go with ricotta, gruyere and colby jack) cheese into the batter and then you put them in the waffle iron and it’s always perfectly melted and gooey and it’s also a WAFFLE you guys.

    I also recommend adding old bay into every grilled cheese sandwich or waffley type thing.

    • One of my favorite Portland foodtruck items is the waffle sammich with cheddar and veggie sausage and maple. DEE-LICIOUS. (I always order a side of meaty sausage for my dog so that he gets to feel like he’s in on the action.)

  6. MY LACTOSE INTOLERANT FELLOW HUMANS:

    Goat milk doesn’t have any lactose and they make way more types of goat cheese than that soft kind. Goat cheddar, mozzarella, gruyere, and gouda ALL EXIST.

    Go forth and get goaty, friends.

        • True story, after this comment thread, I went and looked at goat cheese at whole foods, was too afraid of my tummy’s potential reaction to buy it, and then got some jack-style Daiya and made a cheddar-jack dairy free grilled cheese on gluten free bread. With mayo on the outside as suggested in a comment (it did make it brown very nicely).

          it was delicious.

  7. I’ve been OBSESSED with this grilled cheese lately:

    whole wheat sourdough with mozzarella and extra garlic-y pesto inside, when the first side is grilling in the pan I sprinkle parmesan all over the butter on the other side, after that side grills it has an amazing delicious crust of cheesy goodness. This sandwich is heavenly when dipped in any kind of marinara sauce.

    yay happy grilled cheese day!

  8. Thank you so much for calling my attention to this very important holiday!
    Made myself a classic, a tomato-mozzarella with loads of fresh thyme AND a manchego with pear jam in celebration, just to be sure I was in sufficient observance, you know.

  9. This is simply the best grilled cheese recipe: country white bread (the good bakery kind), applewood smoked gruyere cheese, either gouda or swiss (gouda if you really want to go for a smoky taste, swiss if you want to tone it down a bit, or you could do all three cheeses), and garlic herb mayo. You can add some crispy crumbled bacon as well. AND YOU’RE WELCOME.

  10. Last night at around 11:30 pm, I got the most overwhelming craving for a grilled cheese sandwich. I was completely confused by this, because I don’t generally care for cheese all that much and I hadn’t had grilled cheese in well over a year. But I made one anyway (with nice multi-grain bread and red onions) and munched away.

    And I had no idea that Grilled Cheese Day was even a thing! Basically, I’m psychic, is what I’m getting at.

  11. shouldn’t have read this after getting stoned because now I hate myself for putting off grocery shopping and I’m slightly convinced I can make a grilled cheese without bread or cheese

  12. So I am a grilled cheese traditionalist and prefer American cheese, but I am studying in Italy this semester and apparently “formaggio Americano” is not a thing here because I had a long and frustrating conversation with a stock boy that featured more hand gestures than normal at the grocery store a couple weeks ago.
    Ah well…I guess I have to get creative.

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