My Evolution with the Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Ah, who doesn’t remember the days of their youth when Mom would make a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch? For me, I remember it being a pretty basic sandwich – two slices of bread and some slices of cheese. I don’t even remember if there were condiments on it… Yep, that sums it up. And I loved it!

Given the simplicity of a grilled cheese sandwich for me, as an adult I have been of the mindset that I would never pay money for a grilled cheese sandwich. Right, never say never.

Several years ago, Greg and I met some friends at a local pub for dinner. After looking over the menu, one of the items that stood out to me was their grilled cheese sandwich. Greg agreed. (Side note: almost every time Greg and I go out to eat, we share two entrees so that we get to enjoy two different meals. This is mind, agreeing on which entrees appeals to us is important.) Now, this was not a simple, basic grilled cheese sandwich.

This sandwich started with three cheeses – havarti, muenster, and cheddar. Havarti cheese just happens to be one of my favorite cheeses. A layer of tomatoes was also nestled with the cheese between two slices of sour dough. Nothing too complicated, yet more than I was used to from my youth. (I have to be honest. I can’t remember the exact details of the sandwich from years ago so this description is from the current menu item…although, it may be the same sandwich as back then.)

Yep, I was about to pay money for a grilled cheese sandwich. This decision was going to make or break my philosophy of “never pay money for a grilled cheese sandwich.” If the sandwich was good, I would be open to paying money again; if the sandwich was not good, I was going to be upset that I went against my life-long belief. Oh, you can’t wait to know how this ends, right?

The sandwich was amazing! Both Greg and I loved it. (Side note: I am positive the beer we were enjoying had nothing to do with how good this sandwich tasted. 😉 ) Seriously, I loved it and Greg did too.

Since that fateful dinner choice years ago, I have paid money again for grilled cheese sandwiches. In fact, just last weekend Greg and I were enjoying a beer at a brewery not far from our house and I told him a grilled cheese sandwich sounded good. (Side note: the idea had been etched on my mind when we were out for breakfast that morning and “Grilled Cheese Sandwich and Cup of Tomato Soup” was on the menu.) So, I did a quick search on Yelp.

One of the first places on the list was a local restaurant walking distance from our house. I quickly took a peek at their online menu and told Greg I hit the jackpot! They had five grilled cheese sandwiches to choose from. We drove home and walked to the restaurant to pay money for and enjoy a grilled cheese sandwich.

As we sat at the bar enjoying our sandwiches (yes, we ordered two different sandwiches and shared them so we each got to try and enjoy two) I turned to him and said, “You are not going to believe what is about to come out of my mouth. I would actually rather go out and pay money for a grilled cheese sandwich when I want one than buy all the ingredients and have them in the house.” What? I had actually gone from “never paying money for a grilled cheese sandwich” to “I’d rather go out and pay money for a grilled cheese sandwich” in the matter of several years.

Of course, there is a caveat to this new “paying money for a grilled cheese sandwich” philosophy of mine. These sandwiches have to be “gourmet.” I won’t pay for a simple, basic sandwich like the one I ate growing up. Besides, that simple, basic grilled cheese sandwich of my youth has wonderful emotions and memories tied to it. Those can’t be replaced by any “gourmet” sandwich no matter the cost.

Now, this is one [hopefully] entertaining story about how important it is to be adaptable and flexible as we get older. Some of the beliefs from our youth may need to be adjusted as we get older. Foods we didn’t like when we were young should be tried again to see how our taste buds have changed. And, you really should give foods more than one try. It can take a handful of tries (I’ve actually heard up to 15) to discover you like a food. (A great example of this for me is beets. Love, love, love beets now.) As we age, we should be open to modifying our exercise routine as we may not be able to do the same things we did in our younger days. Also, we may discover a new activity we didn’t know about or didn’t like previously.

So, there you have my evolution with the grilled cheese sandwich. I am sure you have had this sort of evolution with a belief, food, or activity in your life. Please share one of your evolutions.

by Michele Spear