The humble grilled cheese sandwich has been making a bit of a come back lately, with a number of street food traders popping up of late with various incarnations of this retro-comfort food classic.
From the simple to the sublime and even somewhat bizarre (see below) – the grilled cheese sandwich certainly is making its mark on the gastronomic landscape – weather your hung-over or just in need of a naughty little treat the grilled cheese sandwich is an all-round crowd pleaser.
According to food historians, cooked bread and cheese is an ancient food, popular across the world in many cultures; evidence indicates that in the U.S., the modern version of the grilled cheese sandwich originated in the 1920s when inexpensive sliced bread and American cheese became easily available.
The so-called cheese dream became popular in the United States of America during the Great Depression. U.S. government cookbooks describe Navy cooks broiling “American cheese filling sandwiches” during World War II.
Whilst developing and implementing a new menu at The Beast of Brixton, I was commissioned with the task of developing a Grilled Cheese Sandwich as a menu option – but what goes into the making of an epic Grilled Cheese Sandwich?
Puritans may argue that the simplicity of the sandwich it self – i.e. melted cheese between two slices of toasted bread is suffice; whilst others decided that it needed much pimping up with the addition of bacon, tomatoes, pulled pork, pickles, mac n’ cheese, just to mention a few!
After some research and sampling some of the capital’s cafés, pubs, bars and street food vendors for some grilled cheese sandwich inspiration I was even more confused than ever to what constitutes to making a decent grilled cheese sandwich…albeit an epic one!
Should it be a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian sandwich? How many types of cheese should be used? Is there such a thing of too much cheese? Should it be prepared placing buttered slices of bread, with the cheese between the slices, on a frying pan or griddle? Or or made in a panini grill or sandwich toaster baking or grilling a cheese sandwich in an oven? Other methods observed were in a toasting bag in an electric toaster, or using a pie iron in order to toast the bread and melt the cheese.
Then a couple of weeks ago, I came across this:
So here’s my ode to the grilled cheese sandwich which now features on the menu at the Beast of Brixton – The BoB Grilled Cheese Sandwich. It’s a vegetarian sandwich, however there is the option to add bacon or even pulled pork if you so wish. There are also some pickles and spring onion for some texture, as well as featuring two types of cheese – Gruyere and Monterey Jack.
These days’ numerous eateries across the country have dedicated their menu to serving up their own rendition of the grilled cheese sandwich, so pay homage to the grilled cheese sandwich throughout the month of April also known as Grilled Cheese Month, as one thing is for sure, the grilled cheese sandwiches are here to stay satisfying the youthful and adult palette alike.