I Made a Grilled Cheese Sammich (and So Can You)

posted in: Day In The Life, School 7
Mine looked a little like that! Photo: Wikipedia.
Mine looked a little like that! Photo: Wikipedia.


You know what’s really adorable?

What’s adorable is how many students I see in class or on campus eating lunch they brought from home.

Do you feel me on this? There’s just something about seeing a stranger take a fork and a Tupperware container out of her tote bag and dig into whatever it is she put together before she left the house that morning. It’s hard to explain why it’s sweet, exactly; it just is. It’s comforting to see someone who appears to have thought ahead. Someone who’s not wasteful. Someone trying to be careful with her money, maybe. (Buying a quick lunch in the Loop every day for a week will set you back anywhere from 50 to 100 bucks, depending on whether you want extra avocado and/or a small cup of water, for example.)

Yes, it’s heartening to see someone skipping the lunch lines and taking a seat on a bench, sovereign. It reminds us that there are other ways. We can be adults. We don’t have to hemorrhage money every day on pre-wrapped salads and muffins. There are options.

Today, I took the brown bag lunch option: I made myself a grilled cheese to take to school.

The bread got buttered on both outside sides. The pan got heated up. Muenster got torn into pieces and placed, lovingly, in between the thick slices. Into the pan my sammich went. Once I heard sizzling, I smooshed the squares down a few times with the spatula and then put the lid on the pan so it could get hotter in there and melt the cheese, please.

The flip is hard, not just because the maneuver itself is tricky — and it is — but because it’s hard to know just when to flip a grilled cheese. You really want a nice toast, so you can’t flip too soon. But leave it on too long and you’re movin’ to Scorch City.

Fortunately for me today, the flip was perfect. My grilled cheese looked good enough to be photographed for a slightly off-brand, low-production-value food magazine. I wrapped it carefully in aluminum foil, put it in a lunch bag with a napkin and a cookie, and I got out the door.

It smelled so damn good, and I was so blinkin’ hungry, I ate half of it in the elevator on the way down.

7 Responses

  1. Marianne ten Kate
    | Reply

    Best. Sammich. Ever. (Surprised it got as far as the foil, to be honest!)

  2. Karen Keller
    | Reply

    I agree–for all the reasons you gave! Taking a lunch is like taking a little bit of home with you. (But try to resist temptation in the elevator next time….. 😉

  3. Linda
    | Reply

    I liked the picture you choose with the iron skillet. I still use mine for everything and think all food tastes better when cooked in an iron skilled.
    Taking your lunch is so much healthier.
    Good post.

  4. Shermie
    | Reply

    Mom packed lunches for herself, my three kids and me to eat on the museum steps for our yearly summer trip there. So wish we could do it again (my “baby” is 37). The best tasting sandwiches and fruit ever!

  5. Jan C.
    | Reply

    My mom packed a lunch for 6 kids every school day. But here’s the back side of the story. My dad was in the army, and only got paid once a month, which meant only one commissary shopping day a month. The soft bread purchased on that commissary day would have been pretty ugly by the end of the month. My brilliant mom solved the bread problem by making up a months worth of peanut butter and jam, and baloney sandwiches on payday, wrapped them individually in waxed paper, and put them in the large chest freezer. The thing is, with soft bread, when there is weight on it, it tends to smash down. So the sandwiches on the bottom got squashed pretty flat, and as the stacks went higher there was less squashiness to the successive pb&j’s. As the month started the sandwiches were quite normal looking, but by the end of the month. . .not so much. It looked like she had set the iron on our sandwiches! It al tasted the same, and must have had the same nutritional value. We kids never seemed to mind.

  6. Susan Friend
    | Reply

    Growing up in the fifties, I remember a sandwiche wrapped in wax paper and an apple for lunch every day. How I longed to buy lunch, to go through the cafeteria line and have some of those yummy hot choices AND dessert! But ,no, ….not us. Mom often made us her favorite…liver worst and butter on whole wheat…..gag me! She didn’t think peanut butter was good for us. So three sandwiches everyday for her three daughters. …Later when the little brothers came along…..they got to buy lunch EVERY DAY! She thought it was a pain to make sandwiches by then! Now as I look back, I wonder how often she might have gone to school without any lunch at all. After all these years, I’m retired and I still don’t like sandwiches. However, an occasional grilled cheese sure hits the spot!

  7. Mary D
    | Reply

    I went on a grilled cheese sammich free for all for a month. I bought all sorts of cheeses to try out mixing and shuffling them. I added fresh garden tomatoes to the mix. I tried different breads. It was all wonderful.

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