The temperatures are dropping fast in the Midwest. What to do? Make (and eat) a lot of warm food—my panacea for the cold. After a long day at work (and a cold commute home), the last thing on my mind is going out for dinner or making a sit-down meal. As is often the case, the answer is simple. There simply is nothing better than frying up an old-fashioned grilled cheese and pouring some tomato soup. Mmm mmm good.
As the holidays approach, so much needs to get done: shopping for presents, gift wrapping, holiday baking, tree decorating. The simplicity and savory taste of the classic grilled cheese is one thing that will not complicate your life. When I was younger, there was nothing I found more relaxing and comforting than my Mom’s grilled cheese. After a long day at school (and, again, cold commute home), the only thing I craved was a hot, gooey grilled cheese. Mom would use just the right amount of real butter, ensuring the sandwich wasn’t too greasy and was toasted perfectly. The cheese was sharp cheddar and the bread was fresh from our local south-side bakery. To this day, it reminds me of my Wisconsin roots. The soup was always from the can (usually Campbell’s) and served as the perfect dipping accessory.
When I moved away from home to go to college, I realized how I took my Mom’s grilled cheese for granted. That first winter without homemade grilled cheese was tough. It’s usually the case that we don’t know what we’ve got ‘till it’s gone (or at least temporarily out of reach). Over the years I have worked with my Mom to duplicate her grilled cheese on my own. I still consider it “Mom’s” grilled cheese, but I’m making strides in the perfection of grilled cheese. As all Mom’s say, the secret ingredient is love!
Remember to enjoy your comforts this holiday and I’ll see you around the corner in 2012!
Mom’s Grilled Cheese
4 slices white bread (I prefer Texas Toast)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
4 slices Sharp Cheddar cheese
Preheat skillet over medium heat. Generously butter one side of a slice of bread. Place bread butter-side-down onto skillet bottom and add 2 slices of cheese. Butter a second slice of bread on one side and place butter-side-up on top of sandwich. Grill until lightly browned and flip over; continue grilling until cheese is melted. Repeat with remaining 2 slices of bread, butter and slices of cheese.