April is National Grilled Cheese Month and, as luck would have it, today, April 12th, is actually designated National Grilled Cheese Day. It seems only fitting that on such an auspicious day, I pay homage to the Queen of all sandwiches, the humble, yet ooey gooey delicious, Grilled Cheese Sandwich.
Historians say that cooked bread and cheese actually dates back to ancient times. The grilled cheese is popular across the world in many cultures. France has the Croque Monsieur, England has the Cheese Toasty, Brazil has the Bauru, in India there's the Bombay Marsala Cheese Toast, South America, Arepa and in Peurto Rico they have the Jibarto. However, in the U.S., the modern version of the grilled cheese didn't start popping up until the 1920's. The grilled cheese grew in popularity during the Great Depression when inexpensive sliced bread and American cheese became easily available.
Who among us doesn't have memories of grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup when we were growing up? Grilled cheese is virtually synonymous with comfort food and in fact, in an informal survey conducted by the Huffington Post in February of 2014, the Grilled Cheese Sandwich was crowned number one out of 25 best loved comfort foods, with tomato soup popping up at number 7.
The grilled cheese sandwiches of my childhood were simply a slice of processed cheese between two slices of store bought white sliced bread, smeared with butter on the outside and fried in a frying pan. Don't get me wrong...it was delicious, but these days I like my grilled cheese sandwiches with a little more 'depth'.
I've been experimenting with flavours and here are some of my Grilled Cheese Successes:
Avocado Bacon and Tomato Grilled cheese with chipotle aioli and herbed Hacarti cheese!
Philly Cheesesteak Grilled Cheese with strips of medium rare beef sirloin, caramelized onion, mushrooms and green pepper, horseradish mayo and provolone cheese!