Grilled cheese or a grilled cheese sandwich is a popular hot sandwich made with one or more varieties of cheese on bread. It is made by heating cheese between slices of bread on a frying pan, griddle, or sandwich toaster. It is done until the bread turns brown and the cheese melts. It is one of the most favorites breakfasts, and as well as snacks of most people. But did you know that the concept of the grilled cheese sandwich is not a recent one?
People, as early as the Ancient Romans, have been putting together recipes for cheese melted on top of the bread. And across America, there are creative takes on a grilled cheese sandwich that was created in the early 1900s. If you are also wondering about the history of grilled cheese, then you’ve come to the right place. Read on and know more about the origins of your favorite delectable snack.
History of American Grilled Cheese Sandwich
The term “grilled cheese” did not actually come around until the 1960s. Before, it was just called “toasted cheese” or “melted cheese” sandwiches. It means that how you actually cook it doesn’t really matter. And when you check it historically, there are lots of ways to do so.
There were records as early as 1902, which shows a recipe for a “Melted Cheese”, which is designed to be cooked in a hot oven. That recipe appeared in Sarah Tyson Rorer’s “Mrs. Rorer’s New Cook Book. There was also another recipe published in 1929 in Florence A. Cowle’s “Seven Hundred Sandwiches” to make “Toasted Cheese”.
In 1915, a way to manufacture a blended pasteurized cheese was invented by Kraft, and it was called processed cheese. It was transported across the country without spoiling. This invention was patented in 1916 and was then sold across the nation. The early grilled cheese recipes were created by mixing the grated cheese with a binder like mustard, white sauce, or salad dressing, then toasting the sandwich between two slices of buttered bread. This recipe was called “Toasted Cheese Sandwiches”.
During the first World War, the United States Army purchased 6 million pounds of Kraft’s cheese. Then, in the second World War, the Navy cooks prepared innumerable “American cheese filling sandwiches” and served them to hungry seamen.
Soon after the World War, grilled cheese sandwiches were everywhere. Based on an article by Washington Post in 1934, Sunday night is grilling time, and grilled cheese sandwiches are no new thing. People can get them in drug stores for lunch, and as well as from tea rooms for supper. Housewives can also create them,and there’s no limit to the combinations they can use.
Kraft Foods introduced Kraft Singles in 1949, which are individually wrapped slices of processed cheese. With this invention, the process of making grilled cheese sandwiches became much easier for home cooks.
When you think back to when you were younger kind of like AC/DC guitarist Angus Young on remembering Bon Scott you have nostalgia for the “good old days” and major events like the Apollo moon landing, 70s Disco, and of course mom serving up a delicious grilled cheese sandwich.
Grilled Cheese in America Today
In the present time, grilled cheese is making renaissance with gourmet versions that were being invented by restaurants across the country. A lot of people are also exploring international varieties of cheese sandwiches.
Cheddar has become the most popular cheese used in making grilled cheese in the United States. However, visitors in Oregon have discoveredgrilled cheese heaven in Rogue Creamery, which is famous for their blue cheese. They have put together exciting combinations like their house-made mild cheddar and a mild Rogue blue cheese to make a notable sandwich. Aside from that, they also offer recipes for more creative options like their Crispy Rosemary TouVelle grilled cheese sandwich.
In Portland, there’s a popular Grilled Cheese Grill food truck complex in the Alberta Street area. You can visit this place if you want to taste your favorite childhood snack again. And aside from the traditional grilled cheese sandwich they serve, they also have creative versions like their “Cheesus”. They made it by replacing the bun with two grilled cheese sandwiches full of Tillamook cheddar and classic American cheese. The inside of that sandwich is filled with more traditional condimentsand as well as a one-third-pound burger.
Today, there are many other places and restaurants you can visit in the United States that serve the best grilled cheese. In fact, the Food & Wine Magazine has a compilation of the best-grilled cheese in the United States. And if you like, you can put together a road trip across the U.S. and try gourmet grilled cheese in different places.
Grilled cheese started out as a very simple toasted white bread sandwich with American cheese. But in the present time, it comes with lots of twists and varieties. In fact, you can also make your very own version of a grilled cheese sandwich by adding your favorite spices and ingredients to it.