The Joys of Toasted Cheese

I love cheese.  I love toasted cheese.  There, I’ve said it.  No fancy pants sandwich for me; I want toasted cheese, summer, winter, fall or spring.  However, we here at the Island cabin have taken toasted cheese to new heights.  In unison, I want all the Gkids to shout out the best cheese for a toasted cheese.  You all heard it, it’s Muenster.  And not just on any bread either.  We want Franz Sweet Dark Bread.

I have been making toasted cheese sandwiches forever.  When the Hunka-hunka (aka GPa) and I got married, I didn’t know how to cook.  Why would I when my mom was the best.  The problem was we got married and promptly moved to Hawaii and I was suddenly expected to cook.  Oops!  The first thing I made my new husband was, you guessed it, a toasted cheese sandwich.  I managed to burn it on both sides and the cheese didn’t even melt.  Awkward.

Back then it cost the earth to call from Hawaii to Seattle to get advice, so no help there. We were a poor Army couple.  Our neighbors were surfer dudes with names like Hiawatha and Looney Tunes.  No help there.  Al Gore hadn’t invented the Internet yet, so no help there.  But, where have I always turned when I don’t know what to do?  The library of course.  It has always been my salvation.  I would walk to the library at least once a week and check out cookbooks.  While there weren’t a lot of recipes for toasted cheese, I did learn about low and slow, covering the pan and buttering the bread.  So, here are the secrets to a most fantastic toasted cheese sandwich.

Assemble a fry-pan, your Franz bread, 3 slices of Muenster approximately 4 inches square (they call it toasted cheese for a reason), and butter.  I only butter one side of each slice; I’m very health conscious.  Put one slice in the fry-pan butter side down and layer on the cheese, top it with the other slice of bread, butter side up.  Turn the heat to medium.  Remember, low and slow.   Brown the first side, flip it over and put a lid on the pan.  I turn the heat off after about 30 seconds, but I leave the pan on the burner so the sandwich can get ooey-gooey.  Hooray, you have a beautifully toasted cheese sandwich.

And, don’t forget the tomato soup. None of that la-di-da gourmet tomato basil soup.  You want Campbell’s Tomato Soup.  I don’t care what the instructions say, mix it with milk not water.  When it’s all warmed to the temperature you like, add a generous pat of butter.  Yes, butter.  You’ll thank me.

*  Notes from the Recipe Box

When I was a little girl, my Papa started my cheese addiction.  He would take a thick slab of Tillamook sharp cheddar cheese and place it on a plate.  He would liberally sprinkle it with sugar and then he would put it under the broiler until it was soft and gooey.  I’d sit on his lap and he would feed me hot bites of cheese with a sugary crust.  Heaven!  I assume this is a Norwegian thing; I’ve never heard of it anywhere else.  Of course, this man also started my love affair with sugar.  Same lap, only this time he would have a cup of coffee and a teaspoon.  He would scoop out some coffee and set a sugar lump in it and then I got to slurp up the coffee.  He would repeat this until the sugar lump totally dissolved.  Ah, life was good and I was obviously the favorite.  Don’t tell the others.

 And remember:  If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands.  Big kiss, Lynn

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