Day one in my Foodie February blog challenge – the Childhood Comfort Food (or “How to Make a Proper Grilled Cheese”):
Yesterday I was at the gym, cruising along on the treadmill, watching the Food Network. I know – the guy with the remote is a masochist, but I LOVE the Food Network so it kept me going for longer than I had planned in my workout. I can watch those shows for hours on end and it doesn’t make me the slightest bit hungry, but it does get me motivated to get cooking! My husband, on the other hand, implores me to change the channel whenever I’m watching because he immediately starts to get hungry. And it’s probably not the best idea for me to let him watch it (especially considering we had canned chili and hot dogs last night) – he might expect a bit more from me since I’m watching all these shows.
Last night the network was running an episode of Sandwich King with Jeff Mauro. I haven’t watched this one too much, but I do like this guy – he gets very into the cooking and I like that. (Although he got a little too excited on this episode.) He was making “ooey gooey melts”, which as most of you know is really all about eating healthy. NOT. One of the healthier sandwiches he made was a roasted cauliflower grilled cheese. I got into it because my husband loves cauliflower, but he kept calling it a “grilled cheese” and I got upset.
Grilled cheese is two pieces of white bread (maybe wheat), slathered in butter, with 2-3 slices of fake, yellow American cheese inside. After fried up in a pan on the stove, it’s then delicately dunked into a steaming bowl of tomato soup. That’s IT. Mmmm… Mmmm…. good (as they say.) Don’t mess with it. That’s how my mom made it, that’s how her mom made it and my dad’s mom, and that’s how I make it. That is how it is INTENDED to be made.
Or so I thought.
One day a couple of years ago I had a craving for this comfort meal. I had all the necessary ingredients on hand and prepared to make a meal my husband would assuredly agree was a blast from his childhood. What fun! As the sandwich sizzled away in the pan, I ran for the can of tomato soup.
“My Mom always made it with chicken noodle soup. The Campbell’s kind. I don’t like tomato soup,” he says.
I stopped in my tracks.
Okay. Can you tell this is one of those “comfort foods” in my life that I always argue over?
He could tell from the shocked look on my face and the upturned spatula in my hand that he should probably acquiesce to my way of doing things, however… I acquiesced instead. I mean… this is his comfort memory too. So now we just make two different kinds of soup (we didn’t have any on hand that day so he just had the grilled cheese. So much for that childhood memory.) And, to be honest, I’ve switched up to the tomato basil kind of soup. A little more highbrow if you will. So, I’m willing to change it up. Willing to make minor changes to this classic favorite.
But this guy, this Jeff, if that is his real name, tried to pass off a roasted cauliflower, I don’t even know what kind of Communist bread and some fancy, schmancy cheese as a grilled cheese. Admittedly it looked good, but it was no grilled cheese, sir. It was, perhaps, a roasted cauliflower with melted cheese sandwich, but not the simple, comfortable, well-defined grilled cheese in my book.
And I’ve noticed a lot of redefining of this classic – it’s like the new thing to do. But I say NAY SIR! Keep the traditions – they are important.
But maybe be willing to switch it up… a bit.
What childhood comfort food to you still most enjoy and can’t stand to change? Please share!