ORIGINAL SANDWICHES: THE GRILLED CHEESE Friday, February 03, 2012
Its recipe is ancient, and its span, pan-cultural, but if the U.S. were to have a true street food that reflects all the cultures of which we’re made, might it not be (sorry pizza), the conveniently transportlable grilled cheese sandwich.
Because everybody, and we mean every body (excepting those with certain dietary restrictions) loves a good, grilled cheese sandwich.
But when you get down to it, anyone can make one. All you need is cheese, two slices of bread, some butter and some heat. The trick, though, to making a good one lies in the ingredients. And you know who makes one (*cough* *cough*)
We take two slices of Como Bread, a rustic white, from Grand Central, which we butter and heat until it’s crisp, brown and goldeny. And in between, are not just one, but two types of cheese (cheddar and gruyère).
And that’s pretty much all you need to make a good thing better. The real question, though, is how do you make a better thing best? How do you take something so perfect and wholesome and nostalgic and make it the most comforting of all comfort foods.
By pairing it. And Americans know how to pair things. Think peanut butter and jelly, cookies and cream, bourbon and branch, 501s and Chuck Taylors, Rogers and Hammerstein, Itchy and Scratchy.
And while we’ve got an intrinsic knack for pairing things, we know that you know that nothing goes better with a grilled cheese sandwich than a nice, hot bowl of tomato soup.
And you know who makes a mean tomato soup? We do. Every day.
Like the grilled cheese for which it’s made, the recipe for tomato soup is nearly as simple (ours is made with cream, onions, fennel and, of course, tomatoes). It’s the execution, though, that makes all the difference.
That this combo is an American favorite is something upon which everyone can agree. The only real aspect to consider is whether to dip, or not to.