A Haven for Vee

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

~Jean Hersholt and Shirley Temple in Heidi 1937~

Then he went up to the hearth, pushed the big kettle aside, and drew forward the little one that was hanging on the chain, and seating himself on the round-topped, three-legged stool before the fire, blew it up into a clear bright flame. The kettle soon began to boil, and meanwhile the old man held a large piece of cheese on a long iron fork over the fire, turning it round and round till it was toasted a nice golden yellow color on each side. Heidi watched all that was going on with eager curiosity. Suddenly some new idea seemed to come into her head, for she turned and ran to the cupboard, and then began going busily backwards and forwards. Presently the grandfather got up and came to the table with a jug and the cheese, and there he saw it already tidily laid with the round loaf and two plates and two knives each in its right place; for Heidi had taken exact note that morning of all that there was in the cupboard, and she knew which things would be wanted for their meal.

"Ah, that's right," said the grandfather, "I am glad to see that you have some ideas of your own," and as he spoke he laid the toasted cheese on a layer of bread, "but there is still something missing."

Heidi looked at the jug that was steaming away invitingly, and ran quickly back to the cupboard. At first she could only see a small bowl left on the shelf, but she was not long in perplexity, for a moment later she caught sight of two glasses further back, and without an instant's loss of time she returned with these and the bowl and put them down on the table.

"Good, I see you know how to set about things; but what will you do for a seat?" The grandfather himself was sitting on the only chair in the room. Heidi flew to the hearth, and dragging the three-legged stool up to the table, sat herself down upon it.

"Well, you have managed to find a seat for yourself, I see, only rather a low one I am afraid," said the grandfather, "but you would not be tall enough to reach the table even if you sat in my chair; the first thing now, however, is to have something to eat, so come along."

With that he stood up, filled the bowl with milk, and placing it on the chair, pushed it in front of Heidi on her little three- legged stool, so that she now had a table to herself. Then he brought her a large slice of bread and a piece of the golden cheese, and told her to eat. After which he went and sat down on the corner of the table and began his own meal. Heidi lifted the bowl with both hands and drank without pause till it was empty, for the thirst of all her long hot journey had returned upon her. Then she drew a deep breath--in the eagerness of her thirst she had not stopped to breathe--and put down the bowl.

"Was the milk nice?" asked her grandfather.

"I never drank any so good before," answered Heidi.

"Then you must have some more," and the old man filled her bowl again to the brim and set it before the child, who was now hungrily beginning her bread having first spread it with the cheese, which after being toasted was soft as butter; the two together tasted deliciously, and the child looked the picture of content as she sat eating, and at intervals taking further draughts of milk.

~excerpt from Chapter 2 "At Home with Grandfather" Heidi by Johanna Spyri

Some passages of books stay with me. Not verbatim, but the essence of the scene does. I always think of this one when I'm making grilled cheese sandwiches and I wonder how cheese would taste toasted over the fire. It all sounds so very cozy.

Now John and I seldom have differences of opinion or points of contention; however, one of them concerns the making of grilled cheese sandwiches. Seems that I have not been doing it quite up to his standards. Seems he grills all sides of the bread.  I decided to try it his way for my lunch yesterday.

My well seasoned griddle works great for grilling. Yes, the clock says three...a rather late lunch. I thought I could get away with a little bowl of tomato soup at noon, but by afternoon I was famished.

You can't tell from this photo, but both sides of the bread are buttered and the future inside is being grilled while the outside waits.

Oh, I forgot this other difference of opinion: I like American cheese and John prefers sharp, seriously sharp, cheddar.

I was being a good girl by having only half a sandwich, though I didn't skimp on the sharp, seriously sharp, cheddar.

Finished...it only took twice as long...

Hmmmm...he may have a point. The cheddar was delicious and the bread was so nicely grilled on all four sides. Well shoot! I hate learning new things. ☺

Do you like grilled cheese sandwiches? Do they have to be made a special way? What's your favorite cheese?

Sounds as if it would be a good day for grilled cheese in many parts of the country. Stay safe and warm and cozy.


  1. I've not heard of grilling both sides of the bread. It does make sense, though, that the grilled cheese sandwich would be especially good if both sides of the bread were toasted. Did you notice a difference? Did you like it better?

    I'm with John ~ sharp cheddar. Keith is like you ~ American cheese.

    I really enjoyed the story of Heidi and her grandfather eating grilled cheese. Can you imagine the delicious flavor added to the cheese when it's roasted over a fire? Yum!

  2. I love grilled cheese sandwiches -- definitely *soul* food! Sharp cheddar, please!

  3. I think our grilled cheese is what you have described here. Old cheddar in the centre, put the buttered side down in the pan and butter the top while it's cooking, flip and press down to really melt the cheese. We have ketchup on the side, one of the few things I ever eat this condiment with.
    I have in mind to get a griddle like yours, I do everything in a big fry pan and the darn sides get in the way, especially when making pancakes.

    1. Not quite...all four sides get buttered...insides and outsides...upsides and downsides...

  4. Hey, anything grilled with spread butter, has to be deeeeeeelicious.

    But since I can't/don't eat butter, it's a moot point with me.

    Back in the day, when I could eat a real Toasted Cheese Sandwich, I'd have melted butter in the little fry pan, and cheddar cheese between the bread. Pan toasting the outsides. Pushing down on it, with a spatula, to make sure the cheese got melted. :-)

    MEMMMMMMMMMMORIES........ -chuckle-

  5. Mild cheddar. Never thought of grilling both sides. Go John!! One of Bills specialties now is grilled tuna since he's been chief cook and bottle washer. I think it would be too much if I asked him to grill both sides of the bread. Will have to wait till I'm back at the stove. - Abby

  6. That has seriously made me hungry! I have not had much really sharp cheese - grew up on American but use mostly Muenster and Farmer's cheese, regular cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan, etc...

    I like the idea of grilling both sides of the bread. I've done that recently for toast with egg and it was delicious!

    I may have my lunch planned now!


  7. Yummy! I love grilled cheese with creamy tomato soup. That may be my lunch today!


  8. This reminds me of a picture I saw on Pinterest... they made grilled cheese sandwiches by laying the toaster on its side and sliding them and out. :)

  9. Oh I love a good grilled cheese, and eat one probably more than I should. I have never grilled the bread on both sides, but now I might have to try that, haha. Enjoy your day!

  10. I love grilled cheese with a slice of tomato inside and a bowl of tomato soup. This brings back memories of coming home from school at lunch time and mom there making grilled cheese in her iron skillet.

  11. What a great way to start my day...talking about one of my favorite movies (and book) and grilled cheese sandwiches. My hubby and I make them a bit different, too. Let's see...his would have buttered bread on ALL four sides, too...mine only 2. So to make mine, put the butter on the griddle and put my bread down on it to soak it up. Turn it over to warm the 'inside' of bread, right back over to layer sharp cheddar cheese AND Havarti! Then keep toasting, butter sides are both out now. Voila...the VEST sandwich EVAH!!! You have got to try a little Havarti with the sharp cheddar. It gives it the gooey quality and even more flavor! Well...I know what WE'RE having for lunch! Hugs!

  12. I love grilled cheese. I have never had it toasted on both sides though. I have been using my paninni press for grilled cheese and omitting the butter altogether, trying to save calories. It does not compare :-(

  13. I loved the book Heidi! My comfort food is grilled cheese sandwich with hot chocolate.

  14. I have always fixed mine this way: Butter 2 slices of bread and slap a slice of American cheese between them. Then put buttered side down on heated skillet, brown and flip over to the other side and brown. Meanwhile, the cheese is melting. Voila! Finished and yummy. Sometimes I even put a slice of...okay, hold your nose...bologna with the cheese. Super yummy!
    I've never thought about buttering all sides of the bread...that would be a bit too much butter for me. Now you've made me hungry and it's a long time until lunch!

  15. I love grilled cheese sandwiches. My favorite cheese is Cracker Barrel sharp cheddar.

  16. I quite like grilled cheese...and prefer it grilled on both sides, though that doesn't always happen. The 'Heidi' book has been a favorite of mine since I first had it read to me...and I now have several copies on my bookshelves, including an antique version from my grandmother.

  17. I will have to try that next time. I love colby jack grilled cheese.

  18. Snow day here! County schools are closed with the largest snowfall we've had in two years. Not all that unusual here to have a large snowfall or ice storm in March.

    That is a brilliant idea! My favorite way to enjoy a grilled cheese is like my mother often made it with a couple slices of tomatoes in the middle. Grilling the other side of the bread first would solve the problem of juicy tomatoes making it rather soggy (I hate soggy bread).

    I'm thinking of doing some baking today as it's probably the last really cozy snow day we will have this year.

  19. Vee
    I enjoyed the excerpt from Heidi. In reading some of my older books I'm reminded of how the author inspires us to be kinder, better people through the character they create. I'm reading Laura Ingalls Wilders,The Happy Golden Years right now.
    Now I have NEVER heard of grilling all four sides for grilled cheese. I guess you can learn something new everyday. It sure sounds good! Tell John I'll try it and get back to you on this.

  20. Grilled cheese is one of my most favorite comfort foods...Mr. Sweet loves them, too...and we eat a lot of them.
    I put the buttered bottom slice of bread on the grill...layer SHARP, SERIOUSLY SHARP, cheddar cheese and top it with another buttered slice of bread...and grill. Mr. Sweet wants a thin layer of mayo on his...I take mine PLAIN...If I have pepper jack or swiss, I add a slice to my sharp cheddar...and I don't like American cheese AT ALL...I do like NEW YORK WHITE CHEDDAR with a passion.
    Now, I am thinking we'll have GC sandwiches for lunch today. :))

  21. Hi Vee,

    I love that book and movie. The time before last when my youngest niece spent the night we watched it on Netflix - she has never seen it and just adored it. All 4 of her grandparents has passed away before she was born - so I think it made it even more special.

    As for grilled cheese, well, I was a vegetarian from 1975 till about 6 years ago - almost my whole life - so I have had a lot of grilled cheese. I was a vegan for about 6 of those years but that was awfully boring and I missed cheese and cream and butter and ice cream so much, ugh.......so getting back to grilled cheese - I think John is brilliant! I always like mine very crispy outside - heavily grilled - but never thought to get that extra crunch by toasting the INSIDE too - I am soooo going to try that for Friday's meat-free Lenten lunch!

    Good timing.

    And I think one of my fav comfort foods is tomato soup and grilled cheese.


  22. Hi Vee,
    How your post just made me smile....
    I love Shirley Temple, she has been my favorite ever since I was a child. My sister and I loved watching her movies on Sunday night. Such a joyful child.
    How I love grilled cheese full of sharp cheddar like John and Gary loves American cheese like you...
    I like my grilled cheese really gooey inside and crispy outside. OK now I'm hungry LOL.
    Have a sweet day, Elizabeth

  23. We have toasted cheese sandwiches for lunch frequently during the winter. In fact, we had it yesterday with a cup of hearty tomato soup seasoned with basil. Our favorite cheese for these sandwiches is chipotle gouda (made by Boar's Head and purchased in the deli section). Tuck in a some spicy turkey pepperoni, and it is a meal fit for royalty! Mr. Jim is the resident chef and I would never, ever in a million years suggest to him a different way for him to cook. I'll tuck the double-toasting trick away in my noggin for future reference in case our cooking roles ever get reversed.

  24. 1) Heidi is my all-time favorite children's book.
    2) My mom is famous (among family) for her grilled cheese, and she, like John, grills both sides of the bread which are slathered with butter. She uses Velveeta cheese though. I use the seriously sharp cheddar, but usually only grill one side because it's faster.
    3) A grilled cheese sandwich tastes even better when served on a Friendly Village plate. :)
    4) Comfort food is definitely in order on a day like today!

  25. That grilled cheese sandwich looks delicious. It reminds me of what I did for many years after school. I would pop two slices of bread in the toaster and then put a slice of processed cheese between the slices while they were still hot. I hadn't thought about that for years.

  26. Jeepers, I feel guilty enough grilling just the outside with butter. John's way will sure spike the calorie count!
    After we got back from Switzerland I got that Shirley Temple movie version of Heidi and played it for Bernie and myself. Nowadays Grandfather would be arrested for child endangerment! How things change.
    And dang it, now I want a grilled cheese sandwich too!

  27. That scene with the cheese toasting over the fire is one of my favourites in the book. I love reading about food in novels. When I was in Switzerland I saw how they toast cheese over an open fire. Here's a link http://www.soireeproductions.com/blog/2009/12/. This is all about weddings, but if you scroll to the bottom of the page, you'll find the wheel of cheese basking in front of the fire in a custom made contraption. AHA!

    Toasting all side of the bread is something new to me, and would amp up the crunch factor! For me, sharp Cheddar, Swiss, or Gouda makes a fine grilled cheese sandwich. Tomato soup is the perfect accompaniment! Now I'm hungry. And I just finished breakfast.

  28. How wonderful to see that bit of the Heidi story again! I think John's way to grill is brilliant - I never thought to toast all four sides of the sandwich like that. We often have GC sandwiches for Sunday lunch, buttered right to the edges and grilled on two sides with sharp cheddar or Mozerella and a slather of Pesto inside. I like your griddle and gas stove. Am thinking of replacing my glass top stove - just doesn't seem to cook things the way I'd like! Would you recommend gas vs. electric?

    1. I've only cooked on electric once or twice so have no real means of comparison.

  29. Everyone loves Heidi and mostly everyone grilled cheese. I like any kind of cheese we happen to have. I have even used shredded if that is all I can find in the fridge. Gonna check out that app, as if I need another thing to do. Blessing dear friend.

  30. Oh how I love that movie - never read the book though.

    I like American cheese - Mr OP likes Velveeta (his Mum used it - ugh!). We only toast on the outside.

    Love your new look!

  31. I LOVE grilled cheese. :) We mix a couple types together and butter the outside. Never tried grilling the inside before adding cheese!!! Adore this!! We usually have a piping cup of tomato soup along with the sandwiches (and make extra to heat up at work for lunch the next day- boy coworkers droll when they see it. LOL)

  32. Grilled on four sides? Never heard of that, but sharp cheddar? The best. And with milk and tomato soup? A nearly perfect lunch. So you have a wonderful combination today: Grilled cheese "Sannich" as my kids used to say, along with my favorite book! Oh how I loved that story!

  33. I make it like you do, Vee.
    But John does have a point.
    Hmmm. Whenever I think of reading Heidi, I always think of her eating her lunch of bread and cheese out on the mountainside. The grilled cheese sounds so comforting, though, doesn't it?!

  34. I've never grilled both sides of the bread but I think I'll give it a try next time.
    We love grilled cheese sandwiches at my house.
    I like a slice of cheddar and Swiss on mine.

    I read Heidi when I was a kid and remember the movie with Shirley Temple too. : )

  35. I had never heard of grilling both sides, but it sounds wonderful!! Monterey Jack cheese for me, with a bit of garlic salt on the outside of the bread...

  36. I like to grill both sides too. Now Vee you've gone and done it.... I shall have tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich for my dinner! YUM

  37. I'm amazed that you could eat just one half of a grilled cheese sandwich. I like cheddar on light rye with a dill pickle on the side. I had the series of Heidi books and loved them and when I was in Wengen, Switzerland, I spotted a man much like Grandfather outside his mountain home. Thanks for the memory...

  38. Blogger just gobbled up my comment, cheez whiz, I know the sandwich looks delish, but, really, Blogger?? I never thought to grill all four sides, and I would pick the extra sharp cheddar, like John. xo

  39. Oh, dear little Heidi. What a beloved story that is. I don't remember this scene from the book but I do remember Shirley Temple playing the role of Heidi. Am I old or what!? Now, I am going to have to try grilling (frying pan style) my bread on both sides for our grilled cheese to see how it is. We use medium Canadian cheddar cheese for ours.

  40. That's exactly the way my husband grills his cheese and the exact kind he likes to use. Your John and he would get along just dandy.

    I like it any possible way you can make it. I'd even snarf it down with no grilling at all if I were hungry enough. I love a cheese sandwich.

    (And I realized reading this that though I know the story because of the movie, I have never read the book Heidi. It's on my shelf, too. Hmmm....)

  41. My favorite lunch as a child was Campbell's tomato soup and a grilled American cheese sandwich. :) I don't use canned soups any longer but I still buy American cheese from time to time and make grilled cheese sandwiches with it.

    I recently re- read Heidi just for the joy of it and the Shirley Temple movie version was always a favorite!

  42. Oh my goodness, I think of Heidi when I eat bread and cheese too! Like you, I didn't know this by heart, just loved the way it was written!
    Funny, the things that stay in our mind from our childhood reading!
    Take care!
    Always loved Shirley Temple too! I still do!


If comments disappear, please don't fret. A simple "hi" will do. The platform surely needs some maintenance.