“Many’s the long night I have dreamed of cheese.” -Robert Louis Stevenson
If you didn’t know, hoist on your flannels dear readers, it is National Grilled Cheese Month, and that, if I do say so myself, is pretty great. Now, I am not necessarily a traditionalist, but I do believe in the undeniable comfort of pairings: fireplaces and a good book, flannels on days off, and grilled cheese and tomato soup. So in honor of this month aligned with delicious buttered carbs and cheese, I shall divulge the way in which I make one of my favorite comfort foods.
Why not the tomato soup do you ask? Simple, I only ever eat Campbell’s tomato soup, no dress-up; just straight, unadulterated, age old tomato soup. Don’t you even think about adding noodles, meat or anything else, except perhaps more salt and a little pepper for depth.
For my grilled cheeses, to begin, I turn the stove close to medium high, because I do not like waiting for food, but I also do not want my bread to burn. I always use a cast iron frying pan because I think it is best. Do I spray the pan? No, because the bread will be buttered and I like a challenge.
Then, I choose my bread of the day, I am particular, so whatever is in the breadbox, usually some kind of grain bread, butter all sides of the bread, with salted, Cabot butter, after all, I am a Vermonter, so everything is Cabot. Next, I layer my cheese in there, usually Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar, and I add some Pepper Jack in between the slices of cheddar cheese.
On top of the cheese, I place thinly sliced granny smith apples for crunch and added flavor. Finally, I place the top on the sandwich, all sides buttered if you remember, then it’s time to cook.
In the frying pan over the sandwich, I place a large pot lid to trap the heat and better melt the cheese. I do not know a specific time in which I cook the sandwich, but what I do know is that I cook it until one side is just past golden brown, then I flip it and cook the other side.
When both sides are cooked, and let’s be honest, a little blackened, I place the sandwich on the tray with my bowl of soup, because I am obviously on my way to the couch to watch a movie, and I cut my sandwich in half diagonally, that is from corner to corner because that makes for the best soup dipping.
One of the reasons I love comfort afternoons is for the reason everyone talks about as the way to increase happiness and mindfulness. It is a simple pleasure, to cook yourself a simple sandwich and to have that period of time that all that matters is that you eat and enjoy what is before you. So snuggle in, “flannelize” yourself, and warm your insides with tomato soup and the cheesy wonder that is grilled cheese.