7 thoughts on “Episode 116: Grilled Cheese

  1. Seth Hager

    Comfort foods evoke a lot of childhood memories. I grew up in a non-Velveta household, grilled cheese doesn’t involve Velveta for me. I haven’t had a grilled cheese sandwich fried in butter for years, but I will use olive oil and shredded kale, chopped broccoli or nearly any other easy to cook vegetable. And ham. While growing up I had a slice of bread with cheese under the broiler nearly as often as grilled cheese. A slice of cheese, tomato and mayo on an english muffin was what my mother would make to remind her of her girlhood in the 40s.

    Once when I was 6 years old, while my family visited Minneapolis (in the 1960s) I got to have lunch with my great aunt (read: I was babysat for the afternoon by an elderly relative I had never met). “Would you like a hot dog sandwich?” she asked me. I don’t think I responded. I can’t remember if it was a hotdog in a bun or a boiled wiener between two slices of squishy white bread. The memory used to be hilarious, but now it’s sweet and a little sad.

  2. Cayla

    In the fifth grade, I spent the night at a friend’s house, and in the morning, we had grilled cheese sandwiches for breakfast, made with Velveeta and Wonder Bread, and served with a glass of Sunny-D. This was a mind-blowing meal for me, because it was made of foods I wasn’t allowed to have at home, and because it was so ridiculously delicious. (I might recreate that meal this weekend.)
    Opinion on quesadillas qualifying as a grilled cheese sandwich: In terms of structure, it’s the same sort of thing, sure; it’s a bread-type thing with cheese inside, heated/crisped/melted. However, I feel that the essence of a true grilled cheese includes melted, browned butter plus toasted yeast bread. I think a quesadilla would taste pretty delicious with melted browned butter on it, but it still wouldn’t be the same as grilled cheese sandwich; with a tortilla, there no pockets for the butter to sink in (as there is in yeast bread) and not as much contrast of texture (tortilla is flat, dense/chewy, whereas toasted bread is crispy on the outside and more soft/pillowy near the center). I also feel strongly about the bread-to-cheese ratio; with a quesadilla, I want about as much cheese as there is tortilla, but with grilled cheese, I want more bread than cheese.
    That said, I’m far from a grilled cheese purist; I love to add sliced pickles, tomatoes, and/or raw onions to the sandwich, plus mustard and ketchup, too. As a kid, I ate grilled cheeses with ALL of these toppings, which was fodder for plenty of heckling from my less-adventurous (read: less weird, less gross) friends.

  3. Kate

    Hilarious episode. I’m intrigued by the whole idea of “comfort food.” I guess everyone knows what it is, but it can be so particular to different people. I find it hard to get on board with the mac & cheese as comfort food, or mashed potatoes and meat loaf for that matter. I never grew up with those things. Instead, it occasionally an open-faced so-hot-it’s bubbling grilled Swiss toast dipped into canned tomato soup. Or molten grilled mochi. But sometimes, the idea that foods we ate as kids automatically turn into comfort foods can’t be more complicated. Back in college, I used to long for soup of cabbage and beans that my mom used to make, the same dinner I had groaned over several years prior, and which still fills me with an unsettling mixture of nostalgia, “health food” angst and mom angst, too. Anyway… yay grilled cheese!

  4. b

    Someone might have already suggested this, but you (Molly) might have been thinking of Queenies at Utica Square. I know I am now!

  5. GeekFilter

    Er…maybe you were right. It was sort of an erotic Home Pride bread commercial in a sanitized 80’s TV kinda way:


    And the cut on a bread is called scoring. And the ‘ear’ is the raised flap of crust at the edge of a cut. There are tons of fancy tools you can use to score but I use a slightly wet, very sharp chef’s knife. If I want a more ‘rustic’ look I use a tomato knife…or just do it when I’m half awake and it turns out rustic looking whether I want it to or not. ;)

    1. mamster Post author

      That is the dirtiest thing I’ve ever seen, GeekFilter. How dare you? :)

  6. Avi

    Great episode guys! I actually didnt get introduced to velveeta until I met my partner’s family in little Greenville, SC where they swore was the only way to perfect mac and cheese casserole or pie. Grilled cheese I wouldn’t be surprised that it would come out cheesy and creamy as it is “programmed” to do…
    I was introduced to American grilled cheese growing up in LA and going with friends to Johnny Rockets. Possibly not the best way to be introduced to it but way different than we had at home. I’m originally from Israel and many may not know this but grilled cheese is very popular there too. Just about every home in Israel makes their own version of it, we called it simply “toast”. My mom used a toastmaster (the one you press like a waffle maker). We used emek or edam cheese alone or with a ripe tomato. Simply served with sliced tomato cucumber and olives on the side. My mom usually used a pita or sliced unbraided challah (yes we are that jewish!!!). On another note, when I used to go for summer breaks as a teen to israel, I remember there would be these food stalls in the neighborhood that only made grilled cheese. You walked up, chose between sliced bread, pita, bagel, or baguette (the ladder not my favorite), cheese (emek, bulgarian feta, kashkaval, or goat cheese) and then a huge selection of topping. May gross some out but it was a mish mash of stuff you never think of putting on your grilled cheese. Anything from canned tuna, corn, green onions, zaattar, pickles, olives, sweet potato slices, mushroom, and that’s all I can remember but there was more. As americanized as I am I do love my grilled cheese, minus the processed cheese. Isn’t it weird but my palette over the years just cant take it !
    The last one I had was with aged chedder,cherry tomatoes, carmelized onions on multigrain. This was at the Nordstrom Grill in Downtown Seattle :) btw

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