April 12 is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day!
April is National Grilled Cheese Month, and April 12 is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day–after all, who doesn’t love them? Read on for the history, plus some tips and tricks for making delicious grilled cheese sandwiches.
The grilled cheese sandwich first became popular in the 1920’s, when reasonably priced sliced bread and cheese was readily available, according to the website, the Food Timeline. The original grilled cheese sandwich was cooked open faced with grated cheese. During World War II, many grilled cheese sandwiches, known at the time as “cheese filling sandwiches”, were made in the Navy’s ship kitchens, as they were economical, simple to prepare and met all the nutritional requirements. During the 1940’s and 1950’s the grilled cheese sandwich was served frequently at schools and other kitchens, and was most often served with tomato soup, which was a good source of Vitamin C.
The additional piece of bread came later, in the early 60’s, most likely to make the sandwich more filling. The named grilled cheese sandwich came about in the 60’s also. They were known as toasted cheese sandwich before that time, and most of these recipes called for broiling rather than grilling or pan frying.
Today, the grilled cheese sandwich is so popular it has its very own day, April 12th. You can even send an e-card to let everyone know that today is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day! Don’t let your friends miss out on the fun!
There are many ways to prepare the grilled cheese sandwich, such as pan frying, cooking on an indoor grill or Panini sandwich cooker, broiling in the toaster oven, or cooking on a griddle, which is how they are usually prepared at a diner. All the methods will work so it’s simply a matter of preference and convenience. The easiest way I have found is to simply fry them in a small skillet, but a toaster oven works well too.
And while the original grilled cheese sandwich consisted of American cheese, white bread and butter, today there are many variations of the sandwich. One variation is to spread mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip) on the bread in place of the butter. It sounds a little strange, but it actually works well and gives the sandwich a great flavor and texture.
Other great ideas for grilled cheese sandwiches include:
· Goat cheese and sliced mozzarella or Provolone cheese with sliced avocado on white bread
· Sautéed mushrooms and Swiss cheese on whole grain bread
· Cooked bacon and tomato slices on Italian bread
· Cheddar and Swiss cheese with thinly sliced ham between the cheeses on sourdough bread
· Gruyere and smoked Gouda with tomato slices on wheat bread
· Swiss cheese and ham on Italian bread
· Colby cheese or cheddar on rye bread
· Muenster with bacon and tomato on sourdough or wheat
· Sharp cheddar with thinly sliced apple or pear and brown mustard spread on the inside of the bread
· Pepper Jack cheese and thinly sliced avocado on sourdough or wheat bread
· White sharp cheddar, cooked bacon and a thinly sliced Bartlett pear on wheat or rye
· Colby jack cheese on white or wheat bread
· Velveeta Processed Cheese Spread on white or wheat bread (for those who like Velveeta, it melts perfectly for a grilled cheese sandwich)
These are just a few ideas. The possibilities are endless, with so many types of bread and cheese readily available to us today! Plus, don’t forget to pile on your favorite fresh veggies, fruits or meats. Try any of the above-mentioned combinations using butter or mayonnaise on the outside of the bread. If you like garlic, add a touch of garlic powder to the butter before spreading on the bread.
Grilled cheese sandwiches are fast and easy to prepare and are great for lunch or dinner. Serve with a cup of soup, and add chips and a pickle spear for a complete and satisfying meal!