Thursday, December 2, 2010

Trivial tidbits, week nine

Apple pie.  Baseball.  The Stars and Stripes.  Oh yes, these things are pseudonymous with America.  But do you know what's more American than these?

Grilled cheese.

Seriously, who doesn't love grilled cheese?  If McCarthy were still investigating Communist behavior, disliking grilled cheese might be seen as suspicious.  Plus, the numbers don't lie.  According to a NY-based research firm, 2 billion grilled cheese sandwiches are consumed annually in America alone.  Imagine the total world-wide?

Braden and I had grilled cheese for dinner tonight, hence the inspiration for this trivial tidbit.  His, white bread and American cheese, a standard for purists like him; mine, American and provel on 7-grain, my version of gourmet; both, meltiness that reminded me of my youth.  Last Sunday afternoon,  my mom made my sister and I grilled cheese for lunch.  It was the first grilled cheese she had made for me since I don't remember when; yet eating it, burnt edges and all, I felt 8 years-old again.

Add a bowl of tomato soup (and when possible a chilled American brew) and leave the worries of the day behind.

In New Haven, Connecticut, The Caseus Cheese Truck serves gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches to students at Yale.  On the one occasion my Chaucerian Elizabeth and I found its location, a line of people gathered and waited in the rain for their unique twists on mom's old stand-by.  It was well worth the wait, soggy shoes and all.  (In my next life, the one where I have disposable income, I will own a cheese truck.  Don't live near New Haven, but want to eat cheese grilled in a truck?  No need to despair, you can also find grilled cheese trucks in Boston, Portland, and Chicago.)

And if you're truly crazy for the gooey deliciousness, consider attending the Grilled Cheese Invitational held every April in L.A.

But what I really want to know, however, is who do we have to thank for this slice of Americana?  Who invented the grilled cheese sandwich as we know--and love--it today?

The winner of today's Trivial Tidbit gets to make me a grilled cheese sandwich.  Good luck!


Mr. Brame said...


This blog post hits me at just the right time, as I have just returned from a night out at bar trivia (we came in seventh--don't ask), and I had a grilled cheese sandwich with apple and bacon tonight. So, even though I don't really have a good answer for your question, I'm going to take a stab at it.

I hereby guess that Thomas Jefferson, who invented macaroni and cheese, also invented the grilled cheese sandwich. Am I right?

Saucy Wench said...

Mr. Brame, man, that's a blow to your trivia game, there. I hope you can regroup and dominate this week.

As for my question, I sadly don't have a specific answer. The sandwich in general is credited to the Earl we all know and love. But the best thing I found about the grilled cheese was that it became popular in America in 1920 because it was so cheap to make.

However, I think that Thomas Jefferson deserves credit for all good things in America, so we'll add the grilled cheese to the list.

Bybee said...

Great question...I know that WWII brought us the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but don't know about grilled cheese....yum....