GRILLED CHEESE ORIGINS

The humble grilled cheese sandwich. A quintessential comfort food for millions of Americans. Why do we love it so much? Is it the ooey-gooey rush of melty cheese? Or the crisp crunch of the toasted bread as we sink in our teeth?

Grilled cheese sandwich.

Are you surprised to learn that this cheesy food has its origin during the Great Depression? A quick and easy, not to mention filling, version of the modern grilled cheese began its career as the “Cheese Dream,” and open-faced grilled cheese sandwich. This prototype combined the classic ingredients we love – butter, bread and cheese – along with other options like bacon and tomato.

RELATED: 5 IDEAS FOR HEALTHY SNACKS AT HOME

NATIONAL GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH DAY

Surely then it’s no surprise that this iconic food warrants a day of its own! 87% of Americans love a grilled cheese sandwich, according to data team at National Today. It makes this cheesy food the second most popular menu item after pizza. Our favorite dairy-based sandwich even beat out macaroni and cheese and cheeseburgers in the ranks!

April 12 is the day we celebrate and recognize a food as American as apple pie. If you’re in the Northeast, feel free to add your slice of cheese!

BEST CHEESE FOR GRILLED CHEESE

What is the best cheese for grilled cheese? Obviously, such an important question must be answered! Polling was conducted – maybe even some taste tests (without bias, we assure you). Respondents ranked their favorite cheese fillings, and the results might just surprise you.

  • Cheddar (68%)
  • American (60%)
  • Swiss (59%)
  • Provolone (56%)
  • Pepper Jack (47%)

In a race we expected to be extremely close, cheddar cheese defeated American cheese by eight percentage points. Frankly, I’m surprised! For me, growing up, American cheese defined a grilled cheese sandwich for me.

Also, I tend to think of yellow cheeses in my grilled cheese, so I was honestly taken aback to see Swiss, provolone, and pepper jack make such strong showings. Personally, I love these cheeses and I’m excited to try them during my next grilling sesh.

However, I’ll probably be avoiding the “Quintessential Grilled Cheese.” According to the Guinness Book of World Records, this is the most expensive grilled cheese sandwich, selling for $214. That’s a lotta chedda!

SANDWICH HACKS THAT LEAVE US MELTING

Butter, cheese, and bread. It’s a simple trinity that makes this sandwich delicious. But how far can you go before it’s no longer a grilled cheese? Can you improve upon the ultimate comfort food?

ADD TOMATO (OR KETCHUP)

Tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich are as iconic a duo as Laverne and Shirley, or maybe Grace and Frankie. The salty cheese pair wonderfully with the acidic notes of tomato soup. But can we go further?

While some might already be soup dippers (no judgement, we promise), have you tried adding a slice of tomato to the sandwich? A moderately thick beefsteak tomato slice is all you need.  I like slipping it between two slices of cheese inside my sandwich, but you do you here.

Alternately, instead of dipping in soup you can always go with ketchup! This simple hack is one my kids love. They’re at that age where they want more control over how and what they eat, do by giving them some ketchup on the side they can experiment with moderating flavors.

FASTER GRILLING

They said we couldn’t, that we shouldn’t. But we dared to dream. Is there a faster way to deliver cheesy goodness to our mouths? There is!

Through the power of microwaves, we can now grill cheese faster. But does it stink like limburger?

I’ve experimented with microwaving grilled cheese at home, and the results are mixed. My current go-to method, when fixing a snack for the kids, is simple. I toast the bread in my toaster and then add cheese. Placing the sandwich on a microwave plate, I then nuke it for about 10 – 15 seconds. It’s not the same as grilling on a frying pan, but the kids like it, and that’s what matters to me.

Rangemate Multi-purpose Microwave Pan

However, this Rangemate Multi-purpose Microwave Pan looks promising! It’s an authentic microwave grill and cookware that can grill, bake, steam, sauté, roast, poach, and make one-pot meals that have the same deliciousness as your BBQ, oven, or stove. I like the idea of being able to grill the sandwich in the microwave.

However, I’ve also dabbled with a similar technique. Have you ever tried using a waffle iron? I have, and I like how it gets both sides done at one. Even though I can control the temperature, I don’t feel it gives the same finesse as a pan. Secondly, no matter what, I feel a waffle iron is tough to clean! What do you think? Tell me in the comments.

Also, have you thought about an air fryer grilled cheese? I love my air fryer. It’s really one of the best things I’ve bought for my kitchen. But after all this time, I haven’t yet tried a grilled cheese in there. I did find this air fryer grilled cheese recipe to try!

BLENDING CHEESES

Lastly, I’m very curious about blending cheeses. And while I haven’t yet tried this, I’m keen to give it a go – especially after seeing the most popular cheeses while researching this article.

For the most part, I’ve been what I consider a purist. I prefer American cheese in my grilled cheese sandwich. However, teaming it up with cheddar sounds quite good. I feel the same about the subtle smoky flavor of provolone with the soft, tart bite of swiss.

Even beyond the top five best cheese for grilled cheese, there is a huge variety to try! Mozzarella, parmesan, Colby – the list goes on. Now I’m planning to take a closer look at the dairy case next time I’m visiting the supermarket.

NO MATTER HOW YOU SLICE IT

The grilled cheese sandwich is a staple of our homes. There’s plenty of ways to enjoy this hot sandwich, and I daresay no wrong way. Quick and easy, it’s the perfect snack, and can even become a meal when paired with an iconic choice like tomato soup.

Prepare your own grilled cheese sandwich with kitchen products from Shop LC!

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