I’m not going to lie, I took the easy way out today. Not too easy. I still had to cook something and even went to the store for it, but with a category as broad as cheese on National Cheese Day, I didn’t go too far out of the way to start the fiesta. I could have done a cheese plate with different types of cheese and crackers. Smoked gouda. Brie. Maybe a nice sharp cheddar. I could have made a nice cheese sauce. I could have even made my own mozzarella had I been so inclined. I just didn’t have it in me. You know the story by now: worked all day, I was tired, blah, blah, blah. What can I say? It was Sunday night and I just wanted something simple that celebrated cheese in some small way. A grilled cheese was the answer, as it usually is.
Cheese has been intertwined throughout this quest I am very grateful for that. I’ve celebrated it in little ways whether it was in snack form (cheeseballs), cake form (cheesecake), sandwich form (cheeseburger) or even liquid form (fondue). It’s also often there on days not specific to cheese but a fine accompaniment like yesterday when it was National Egg Day. I made scrambled eggs with cheese. It’s just an important ingredient. When I told Lola it was National Cheese Day, she even suggested I duplicate the grilled cheese sandwich that I made back on National Sourdough Bread Day. That was a good idea and so that’s what I decided to make. When I got out of work, I made my usual stop at Clements and I picked up my key supplies. I went to the deli counter and got some sliced Cheddar cheese along with some Pepper Jack cheese. Then I moseyed back over to the bakery section to get some fresh sourdough bread. Then it was back home to do some cooking.
I started by taking out my griddle pan which I have explained before is the ideal pan for a grilled cheese because it gives you a flat surface which means more heated area. I put down some butter and when it melted, I topped it with two fresh sliced pieces of sourdough which I cut myself from the whole loaf. Atop the bread I placed the cheese slices. I started with American, topped that with Pepper Jack and then some Cheddar on the top. Three cheeses seemed to be a happy celebration of Cheese Day. I topped that with another slice of bread and then some more butter. After it cooked for a bit, I flipped the sandwiches over so the other side with the butter could cook. To help speed things along, I put a pan on top of the sandwiches so it would press down the sandwiches more and help promote more even cooking. Eventually, I removed the weight and just covered the sandwiches with the lid of a pan to create a more ideal melting climate. Eventually the cheese started oozing out the side and the surface of the bread was brown and toasty. I pulled them off the griddle and and on to the cutting board, then I cut them in half (because I am not a savage).
Yup, these were awesome. I’ve made this exact sandwich before and I’ve explained why. It’s the combination of the cheese (all creamy and melty with the cheddar bringing in some sharpness and the Jack cheese adding a bit of spice), the butter which makes for great toast and of course the sourdough bread which brings it all together. The bread is the right texture and firmness and that hint of sour in the taste is mellowed by the creaminess of the cheese. It could be the perfect sandwich and tonight, on a rainy Sunday night after a long weekend, it really was a little cooked slice of heaven. Lola couldn’t have agreed more. She had been craving this since April when I last made the sandwich. She was happy tonight.
So that was National Cheese Day. No, I didn’t go out of my way to really make this celebration one for the record books. I just made a delicious sandwich and that was just right. In truth, the joy of cheese is really a simple pleasure. Sure it can be more than that. The art of cheesemaking, which is indeed an art, celebrates the intricacies and nuances of this almost sacred food. Tasting and enjoying those special creations is it’s own type of celebration. But cheese also has a practicality to it – an every day kind of appeal. It is a food that almost every culture has made part of their daily existence. Even in basic colonial living, cheese and bread was on the table to welcome guests and family in celebration. That’s what my grilled cheese was today. A tip of the hat to the simple joy of good food. A celebration of a relaxing and easy night which was made better by having a good dose of creamy warm cheese between to perfectly cooked slices of bread. I’ll take that kind of celebration any day.
Next up: National Veggie Burger Day