Friday, July 13, 2012

Calling All Cooks - Grilled Cheese, Please

  "Say grilled cheese and the memories of a childhood indulgence, the first cooking lesson from Mom or  Dad, a bowl of tomato soup, or the aroma of melting cheese comes wafting into consciousness. And it doesn't stop there. The two words strung together also bring to mind seductive images of the sound of bread sizzling and crackling as it makes its transformation from soft and pillowly to butter-crisped and crunchy. These imagined sights and sounds tease with anticipation, because just knowing that as the bread turns golden brown the strands of cheese nestled within are languorously but ever so surely giving way to their melted glory...." *

My mother, bless her, was never late when it came to having a meal on the table. The problem was they were not worth waiting for. Mostly she worked with ground meat known by various monikers, baked chicken thighs, canned veggies (pork and beans were a vegetable in our house), canned biscuits, lots of bologna sandwiches, mayonnaise and salt. She didn't use garlic, basil, Rosemary, fresh or dried herbs, not even curly parsley and rarely added pepper to anything.  Potatoes in our house were reconstituted and drinkable.  Olive oil, like sauces and mozzarella were viewed suspiciously.

The only thing fresh was tomatoes in summer and a dozen ears of corn per season. She didn't do pasta or steak. She could however, make a mean grilled cheese sandwich with pimento cheese, margarine, and white bread. Campbell's red and  white can of chicken noodle soup was a familiar and welcome sight in our kitchen. So were hot dogs.

If it weren't for her grilled cheese sandwiches, Tasty Cakes, penny candy,and our favorite soup I do believe I might have gone hungry most days.

I learned what not to do by watching her struggles.

My mother would not recognize even one of the 50 Scrumptiously Cheesy Recipes in this book, but she did master the 1950s child-friendly grilled cheese sandwich.

The author Laura Werline is a James Beard award-winning author with an unbridled passion for cheese. If you love grilled cheese this book will make you weak with hunger.

"Whoever thought that the most basic of sandwiches, the one we all grew up with, the one that was the easy solution for Mom instead of a full meal, the one we all loved but didn't really pay attention to, the sandwich that combined nondescript cheese, would today become the subject of recipe contests and blogs, the focal point of entire restaurants, the inspirational fuel that fires up mobile food trucks, and the basic foundation on which Americans build their ideal of the best grilled cheese sandwich?"*

(c) 2011   Grilled Cheese, Please is published by Andrew McMeel Publishing, LLC, Kansas City, Sydney, London.
* Taken from the Introduction

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