Monday, November 21, 2011

Reinventing The Meal

Perhaps I've mentioned my love for the school cafeteria's grilled cheese sandwich. You know, the sandwich that is hard as a rock. Hard enough to chip a plastic cafeteria tray. Not that I would ever use it for such a destructive purpose. That's vandalism, you know.

The hardness of that sandwich is surpassed only by its greasiness. It's delicious. Sometimes, you even get a bite of cheese! That's usually smack dab in the middle of the bread. You have to gnaw your way through the crust first, shooting out crumbs like a band saw through a 2 x 4.

Saturday, I had the bright idea to try and duplicate that magical creation at home. I know that the cooks don't have time to grill 300 sandwiches. I know they profess to cook healthily by baking. Yet there's the grease. I presumed that butter in some form was a key ingredient. Or more likely, margarine. Again, I can't picture three cooks spreading pats of oleo on 600 slices of bread. That would be a Sisyphean task. Besides, we can't even have plastic knives.

I preheated the Mansion oven and slapped a piece of foil onto a pizza pan. Then I took two pieces of white sandwich bread. What to do for the margarine? I scooped out some I Can't Believe It's Not Butter into a bowl, and slid it into the microwave. After discovering that I have no barbecue brush in the house, a condition which I attribute to Farmer H, I resolved to spoon drops of melted margarine onto my bread, and spread it with the back of the spoon. I definitely know the cooks did not do that!

For cheese, I carved thin slices off a block of mild cheddar. I had meant to buy sharp cheddar, but was distracted a beeping fat-cart on The Devil's dairy aisle last week. So now I'm looking for ways to use up the mild cheese that is too bland to take for lunch on a bagel with yellow mustard.

After cutting the cheese, I assembled my sandwich. I put the pan in the oven and waited four minutes. I peered inside. The top was turning brown. I took out my sammie and turned it over. Another three minutes and it looked good enough to eat.

Texture: A
Greasiness: C
Cheesiness: D

My attempt was a mediocre success. More grease is needed. Maybe the cooks dip the bread in melted margarine. The cheese was a bit chewy and had no taste. It looked like the pale stretchy cheese on that Travel Channel show with the steamed hamburgers. I might go with American individually wrapped slices next time. But my baking method was on target.

For some reason, the cafeteria has switched from vegetable soup to chicken noodle. A grilled cheese does not go with chicken noodle soup. I would complain to management, but seeing as how I don't buy the school lunch, I'm afraid my moaning would fall on deaf ears.

I need to send a spy to ask the cooks the secret of their grilled cheese.


Mommy Needs a Xanax said...

Cheddar just doesn't work for grilled cheese sammiches. And I've never had it with chicken noodle, but it sounds nasty. Tomato soup is perfect!

Hillbilly Mom said...

Yes. I made that startling discovery about cheddar. I am partial to Velveeta on my own grilled cheese sandwiches, but I didn't know how it would hold up in the oven. I feared a Great Lake Velveeta and bare toast.