Grilled Cheese for Breakfast? Of Course!

Jeremy, Christopher, and Benjamin, with Grand-daddy Ast
Jeremy, Christopher, and Benjamin, with Grand-daddy Ast | Source

Family Meal Traditions


My siblings and I grew up on grilled cheese served with a steaming bowl of tomato soup. It was a hot meal in the fall and winter when we were in a hurry and wanted something warm and satisfying.


I have to admit when we were growing up, most people didn't think a lot about "eating healthy," so our grilled cheese sandwiches were made with white bread and processed American cheese, a little mayo on the inside and a little butter on the outside so the sandwich would brown well. I just remembered, and you might want to try this, I always had a dill pickle, a Polish dill pickle along with my sandwich. Probably any sour or dill pickle would be good.

Christopher Nathan
Christopher Nathan | Source

From Martha Stewart to Rachel Ray


In my thirties, and with the availability of round the clock television cooking shows, I learned that my grandmother, mother, and I had been making our Grilled Cheese sandwiches incorrectly. Grilled Cheese snobbery had arrived in full force and with flags waving. First, we should have been using thick hearty, preferably homemade, whole-wheat bread. Second, using mayonnaise was unthinkable -- maybe a smear of artisanal mustard, or perhaps a bit of organic cream cheese with chives.

Third, the cheese should be sharp sheep's milk Cheddar or an aged Gouda, or perhaps a European Havarti. Never, never, never stoop so low as to put American cheese on a Grilled Cheese sandwich. Oh, I almost forgot, a generous sprinkling of freshly ground black peppercorns is necessary. Finally, the bread should be lightly brushed with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, before being toasted over an open (but whimsical and rustic) fire made with the finest maple or cedar logs.

Well I never had a Grilled Cheese like that (although some of those combinations sound appealing), and I will never make sandwiches like that for company, even if I happen to have all the ingredients on hand. A Grilled Cheese is supposed to be quick, homey, comfort food. Pair it with soup or a salad and you have made a reasonable effort at meeting the food pyramid requirements. I know the food pyramid is now passe and has been replaced, but it wasn't in my thirties and it certainly wasn't during my childhood.

What the cooking shows consistently provided was a rigorous process that took way too long and they trumpeted guiding principle which were a strange amalgamation of "healthy for you" and "out of the ordinary ingredients." So when and how did Grilled Cheese become breakfast fare?

Benjamin O'Neal and Sebastion the Feral Cat
Benjamin O'Neal and Sebastion the Feral Cat | Source

Lack of Ingredients Equals a New Dish


In my opinion, wonderful food combinations and new recipes often emerge synergistically when a severe lack of time and paucity of ingredients collide -- this frequently happens at my house. If you can't relate to this, then you probably don't want to read any further. Save yourself - you will want to pick up a copy of Fine Dining or some such publication.


So the magic moment came yesterday morning. I was running late, had no time for breakfast, and had a full eight hours of classes and student appointments ahead of me before I could stop for a meal. I opened the refrigerator. Eggs, but I didn't think I could safely eat scrambled eggs while driving. Some cheese, but what to do with it?


Then I looked at my counter top, which was orderly and clean of course, just like the pictures in Better Homes and Gardens, and I shouted Eureka! Yes, I actually shouted Eureka, and if you don't know the wonderful story about an Ancient Greek (I think he lived and worked in Syracuse) the word Eureka, look it up. Great story. :)


On the counter-top sat half a loaf of raisin bread. I grabbed two slices, turned on the gas, sprayed a skillet with Pam, well, generic olive oil Pam, unwrapped a slice of Swiss cheese, threw the sandwich into the pan, and generic Pammed the top slice of bread. Three minutes later I walked out of the house with my grilled cheese and a tangerine, but it could have been a pear or a plum, or some sliced melon, or a handful of grapes.


It was quick, satisfying and healthy. Raisin bread, Swiss cheese, generic Pam. I liked it so much I did a variation for dinner this evening - I had a Grilled Raisin Bread and Peanut Butter Sandwich (no jelly, jam, or preserves - that would just be so wrong). Instinctively I knew not to go with a tangerine or orange. Instead the perfect accompaniment was a big juicy apple.


What kind of apple did I have that morning?

Well, what kind of apple do you like? That is the kind I had. :)

Jeremy Jonathan
Jeremy Jonathan | Source
Jeremy, Benjamin, Christopher Sedalia Park Elementary
Jeremy, Benjamin, Christopher Sedalia Park Elementary | Source

More by this Author


Your Comments Are Welcome and Appreciated 52 comments

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

great little piece here on Grilled cheese.. never though thought of using raison bread.. sounds kind of yummy to make a grill cheese.. a sweet taste to it. hmm fodd for thought LOl


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 3 years ago

Love your story on making grilled cheese. I wouldn't use mayo, but the raisin bread is interesting. Now, I do have a craving for grilled cheese but have to run to the store for the ingredients. Thanks for the thought. :)


lovedoctor926 3 years ago

I love grilled cheese. As a child, it was one of my favorite staples and it still is. Sunmaid has an awesome raisin bread. I usually like to eat this with a cup of coffee for breakfast. It gives you a lot of energy throughout the day. voted up useful and yummy!


lovedoctor926 3 years ago

phdast7, here is a link to an article that I wrote on raisin bread. teaches you might like this too.

http://notecook.com/bread/sun-maid-raisin-bread-ci...


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

Grilled cheese and tomato soup...the perfect combination and comfort food on a cold day....love it. My favorite cheese for a grilled cheese? I hate to admit this, but Velveeta. LOL


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good Morning, Frank. Glad this little piece caught your eye. I never think sweet when I am thinking grilled cheese and I am quite sure I would never have thought of raisin bread except that it was staring me in the face. :) Happy to provide you with "food for thought." Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi teaches - I know it a good hub when it stirs up someone's cravings. :) Thanks for reading and commenting. It is cold and gray here. Hope it is a bit nicer where you are. Winter does hold on doesn't it? :) Theresa


AMFredenburg profile image

AMFredenburg 3 years ago from Southwestern New Hampshire

Of course, grilled cheese for breakfast! The best comfort food in the world - why not start the day right? Thanks for a lovely, cheerful article. Voting up and Pinning.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 3 years ago from Portland, Oregon

Shared this. grilled cheese is one of my favorite and I think it can be eaten at any time. I sometimes grill it with onions, tomoatoes and lettuce, and never with sharp cheddaqr because I don't care for sharp. Sometimed a little jalepno for fun :-)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

lovedoctor - Seems like most of us love grilled cheese. :) Like you, I normally have rasin bread toast with a cup of coffee -- a great start to the day. Thanks for your comments. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Bill - Truth be told, that is still my favorite --- GC with tomato soup. I love all kinds of cheeses,but Velveeta has a family favorite for years. Sometimes when money is tight and there are children to be fed, Velveeta is the perfect choice. It is inexpensive, melts beautifully over eggs, potatoes and onions, or broccoli. And really, what child is going to eat a grilled sharp cheddar or a grilled gouda? I think we should celebrate Velveta. :) Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi AMF - A woman after my own heart. :) Why not grilled cheese (or any other food) whenever we have a yen for it. :) Glad you enjoyed the article, it was fun writing it. Hope your weekend is going well. Theresa


aethelthryth profile image

aethelthryth 3 years ago from American Southwest

I love grilled cheese and tomato soup, but I have never managed to make it quickly, except by having burnt toast and raw cheese. How in the world do you get the heat through the bread QUICKLY?

As for weird recipes, a co-worker told me Grey Poupon on Spam is good. I personally hated it, but I did try it because I was amused by mixing two such proverbial high- and low-class foods.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Evening Justin. I love grilled cheese with onions and tomatoes - that's more of a summer sandwich for me. I do the sandwich and tomato soup when it gets cold. Actually, almost anything is better with onions or tomato or both! :) Sharp cheddar has its uses, but not on a grilled cheese. Hmm...not sure I am tough enough to add Jalapeno, but I bet my sons would love that. Hope you are having a great weekend. :) Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good Morning, aethelthryth - You do have to finesse the sandwich a little to get it well browned, but not burned. Years and years ago I had lovely golden brown toast and the cheese was still cold in the middle. Here is what I do. Use medium low heat (you will have to play with this a little) and make sure the first side is well- browned, then as soon as you flip it, put a lid over your frying pan. Not one that fits - that produces soggy bread which is not what we want. But a lid from a different pot or pan, either a little too small or a little too small. It seems to capture and concentrate the heat while letting the moisture/steam escape. See if that works. Thanks for commenting.

PS I like Gray Poupon (although I buy the Kroger knock-off version), but combining it with spam is hysterical. I have to admit we occasionally had spam sandwiches when times were hard when I was a child, but my mother sliced it very thin and browned it on both sides until it was almost burned. Our accompaniments were lots of lettuce and bright yellow mustard. :)


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

Certainly indeed! Love grilled cheese and tomato soup. Also, love raisin bread, but never thought about it with cheese, but I will give a try. Actually, sounds great.

Vote dup +++ and sharing

God bless, Faith Reaper


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Faith - I think I am about to become the Grilled Cheese Fairy...and I am just fine with that. :) If you try a Grilled rain bead Cheese, just remember to use a very mild cheese, swiss, monterey jack, maybe provolone. If you come up with another exotic version, be sure and let all of us know. Thanks forreading and your kind votes. I hope all is well with you and yours. :) Theresa

I just remembered, my father used to grill onions and then pair them with swiss cheese and rye bread. That was a great grilled cheese! And healthy, too, because onions are a vegetable and full of Vitamin C. :)


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 3 years ago from Texas

Grilled cheese for breakfast and oatmeal for lunch! Why the heck not? Voted up and interesting ;)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Suzanne - You and I are on the same page. There is always something special about eating things at unexpected times. :) Thanks for commenting. :)


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 3 years ago from Texas

You know, I was just thinking today about the way that you'll get a sudden craving for particular foods at an odd time. Specifically, there are times when nothing will do for supper but bacon and eggs and pancakes. You could try to have anything else instead, and you'd still end up wanting that! :D


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

suzanne - You are so right. Our food cravings (I don't mean cookies and ice cream of course) are so strong and insistent. Other very good foods may be available but we want what we want. It is fascinating. I have read that sometimes the body really does need a specific nutrient - there are times when suddenly I just must have spinach or suddenly want sweet potatoes in the spring. However, Bacon, Eggs, and Pancakes do call to me, and it is just because they are so good and comforting. :) Have a great day!


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Grilled cheese on raisin bread sounds great and such a unique combination,.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi DDE - We love it in our family, although I still like the old-fashioned version, especially with an added slice of ripe tomato. :)


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

Theresa I voted this up, useful, funny, awesome, and interesting, oh and shared! First of all I love your writing style and it really shines in this hub. Second, who said anything is a "breakfast" food? I mean really, who made the laws about what to eat when? When I was in high school I though nothing of grabbing a cold slice of pizza for breakfast...my oldest son ate soup for breakfast every morning for four years or more!

As for grilled cheese I guess you could call me a purist...white bread, American cheese and butter on the outside.

LOVED this hub!


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

Hehehe -- "look it up" :)

Once in a while my allergy to cow milk products leaves me wishing…, and always when a neat writer does a creative piece on cheese. A good old old-fashioned grilled cheese sandwich sounds good! (Thanks for the smiles.)


Theater girl profile image

Theater girl 3 years ago from New Jersey

Love it! We have this one regularly for breakfast lunch or dinner....works equally well on crusty bread, english muffin or in a tortilla quesadilla style:Thinly sliced apples (green are best, but whatever you have)sharp cheddar cheese a bit of raspberry preserves (kids don't like that "EWWW Mom!) so it is totally fine to leave out!

Also fantastic to eat in the car while driving to school!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Mary - Thank you for such wonderful and enthusiastic comments. It is good to know I have a recognizable style -- for so long my only style was purely stiff, stuffy academic. Occupational hazard. :)

And I totally agree with you. Are there really "food rules" and who made them up and when? You and I were certainly not consulted. I have always loved cold pizza for breakfast and breakfast for dinner or lunch and so on and so forth. I like my sandwich invention, but it was born of necessity....truthfully, if there had been white bread and American cheese in the house, that is what I would have made. :) It is a simple classic that cannot be beaten. Have a great week! Theresa


Sharkye11 profile image

Sharkye11 3 years ago from Oklahoma

I love this hub! You did an excellent job of summing up most cooking shows. I never could get into the food snobbery fad, because when I am hungry I will eat just about anything. :) Cooking shows always say " you will have these ingredients on-hand", which makes you feel so ashamed when you don't have a pat of butter churned that morning, a strange, exotic vegetable that can only be bought in one city, and of course, that home-made wheat bread. I really don't have the time or urge to churn my butter after making loaves of home-made bread from organic wheat I harvested before breakfast. So my grilled cheese (which I love) is usually made the traditional way. Two slices of bread, a bit of butter in the pan and whatever cheese is in the fridge. When I have it, I love to add leftover turkey to my sandwich before grilling.

And yes, I love it for breakfast too! I never eat breakfast food in the morning. Makes me queasy to smell bacon or pancakes first thing. I love breakfast at night though.

Really had fun reading this. I won't lie and say I will eat raisin bread, because I hate raisins, but I will pass the idea on to the raisin-lovers that I know. Thanks for sharing--you have fun and enjoyable writing style.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello RT - I am sorry you are allergic to cow milk products....and they are in everything as I am sure you know. My niece was recently diagnosed as lactose allergic and her mother is scrambling to figure out what she can safely eat. I am glad I could make you smile. :) Hope you are having a wonderful week. :) Theresa


must65gt profile image

must65gt 3 years ago

Wow great and humorous hub Phdast my grandson (17 months) loves grilled cheese and can put away one and 1/2 sandwiches in a sitting. (quickly I might add) We love grilled cheese and we have made our own variations like whole wheat with jalapeño peppercorn cheese, sharp cheddar with shaved black forest ham and served with a nice bowl of cream of tomato soup. Perfect for a cold or rainy day. thanks for reminding me of what I want for dinner tonight lol


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

Re your niece. Tell her that there really are some wonderful recipes out there for those of us who cannot eat cow's milk. I often explore the options, and have been able to enjoy many foods that I would never have tried if I had not had this problem. She could become a world-renknown chef (ess?) for the rest of us! I see her developing a line of cow milk free foods that will really help people as well as make her famous and rich--tell her not to forget me. ;)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Theater girl - Almost any kind of bread, almosy any kind of bread. It is pretty hard to go wrong with agrilled cheese sandwich. :) Alnd apple sounds wonderful. This reminds me of a casserole that has ham, cheese, apples, celery and onions and a sauce. You bake it for an hour and all the flavors meld and all you need is a sald and some good bread. Sounds like a Hub I should do. :)


Theater girl profile image

Theater girl 3 years ago from New Jersey

It sure does!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Sharkye - We are so on the same page when it comes to cooking shows (well the great majority of them - there are a few that focus on basic ingredients and simplicity, but not many). Years ago, when my children were still home and I was balancing parenting, homemaking, part-time student, and church responsibilities, I had friends who couldn't shut up about Martha Stewart. I disliked her show intensely. Her casual and (to me, both insulting and deceptive) attitude about what the "good life" ought to be (that none of us had or could begin to achieve) was simply infuriating. She effortlessly dabbled at dishes and projects (with an entire unseen crew of shoppers and workers and gardeners and, and....) that no ordinary person could hope to copy!! Needless to say I ranted about her for several years, and my friends would say, but its just a TV show. :)

I absolutely love your description about what is required to duplicate a dish from the typical cooking show --- Churned butter exotic vegetables, homemade bread, organic wheat, freshly harvested. Priceless. I laughed and laughed. :)

No problem about the raisin bread -- raisins are not for everyone. But there is always the original (and to my mind,the best) Grilled Cheese - cooking shows and Stewart be damned. :) I am so glad you enjoyed this hub and thanks for the wonderful comments. :) Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Stewart - I have a grandson who fell in love with grilled cheese before the age of two -- fixing his lunch was always so easy. He recently turned six and we went to a Mexican Restaurant for dinner. His mother made him eat some salad, but what he ordered and then scarfed down was a huge "chicken and Cheese Quesadilla." It is his new grilled cheese, and probably will be for a long time. :) I do love all the variations you suggested, They sound wonderful. Thanks for commenting and I hope you are having a great week. Theresa


Sharkye11 profile image

Sharkye11 3 years ago from Oklahoma

Woman after my own heart! I am no fan of Martha's condescending attitude either. And personally, I always thought her crafts were little boring and overly-expensive for us average folks. :) You should write a hub about you rant against her! I would love to read it! Cheers!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you RT. I will tell her and encourage bher to think of this as an opportunity to explore food. I will mention the famous chef thing -- she will really like that. And when she is rich and famous, you will certainly get the crdit. :) Thanks again. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hmmmm. Interesting idea. I will add "Martha Stewart Rant" to my "Hubs to be Written in the Future" list. :)


Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy Goodfleisch 3 years ago from Planet Earth

Grilled cheese is one of my comfort foods - especially with tomato soup. And I admit I am a dunker. Maybe I will make some tonight . . . I could use the comfort right now!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Marcy - Grilled Cheese does seem to be one of the "universal" comfort foods -- at least in western culture and cuisine. I am an occasional dunker. :) I am sorry you need comfort now, but when we do, grilled cheese and tomato soup certainly fit the bill. I will say a quick prayer. Blessings. Theresa


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas

Love your essay on the cheese sandwich! Growing up, my family also had cheese sandwiches made with processed American cheese slices on white bread, sometimes with Campbell's tomato soup.

My daughter loves cheese sandwiches with Miracle Whip on the bread before cheese is added, and she likes them with dill pickle slices in them too.

I still make cheese sandwiches with processed American cheese, but I do usually use whole wheat bread instead of white nowadays. They're just as good.

For breakfast? Growing up I loved leftover pizza (cold), left over macaroni and cheese (cold), tuna casserole (cold), etc., for breakfast. There were no microwaves back then and it was too much trouble to warm things up the conventional way.

I don't know what difference the time makes (morning, noon, evening, midnight, etc.) when choosing what food to eat. I think 'breakfast foods' are steeped more in tradition than health rules or anything related.

Very much enjoyed this hub and will share with my followers!


Careermommy profile image

Careermommy 3 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Nice story especially with including the family photos. This article is a reminder to me of the tastiness of grilled cheese. I also need to start making it more for my kids.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Careermommy - Yes, I finally decided to put some of the family photos to use. No sense just having pretty faces around all the time. :) I imagine your kids will thank you, whether you serve them grilled cheese with sup or their favorite piece of fruit. Hope your weekend is going well.


Bedbugabscond profile image

Bedbugabscond 3 years ago from United States

I had never heard of putting mayo on a grilled cheese until I met a new friend from the south. It does taste good, but somehow I just can't eat them when they are made that way!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Bed- I have found that most people have strong feelings, either they really love mayonnaise on their grilled cheese or they really hate it. :) Maybe it is a southern thing. I never thought about it like that before. Thanks for commenting. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good morning Au Fait - I have friends who prefer Miracle Whip as well. Actually we use wheat bread most of the time, but fifty years ago when I was little, all I remember my mother having was white bread. :) You are absolutely right -- the "rules" about what should be eaten at what time are silly -- don't even know how they evolved. More tradition and habit, probably than anything else.

Maybe centuries ago when most people farmed fora living and men needed to get out at first light to start their work day, women went with whatever was quick, eggs, bacon, biscuits, and saved things that took longer to cook for lunch and dinner, pot roast, chicken, pork chops, etc. But I am like you, there are a whole lot of things that I like either cold or at room temperature.

Thanks for commenting and sharing. Have a great week. Theresa


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

nice hub and lots of family photos.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi peach purple - Yes, I decided to put all those family photos to good use. :) Glad you liked the hub. Thanks for commenting.


John Sarkis profile image

John Sarkis 3 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Hi Theresa, hope you're doing well.

Very interesting and well written hub. I love grilled cheese sandwiches. I enjoy them with American cheese and mustard. I use butter on the outside in order to grill the sandwich on the skillet. Voted up and away!

Take care. I hope you're enjoying your summer.

John


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello John - Always good to see your smiling face. :) Thank you for your kind words. I can see mustard and cheese -- when I was younger I put mustard on everything, even vegetables. My mother decided that I must have a vitamin deficiency that I was trying to make up. The doctor told her to relax, that it was a passing phase. It was. :) I hope you have a wonderful week. Theresa


Born2care2001 profile image

Born2care2001 23 months ago from Asheville NC

OK Theresa,

Didn't see this one coming during my first week back but I absolutely love a good Grilled Cheese Snob! LOL

How wonderful it is to know most of the old (sorry, just a metaphor) clan is still here pecking away at the keyboards.

I'll stop back again and when I do I'll be full of grilled cheese anew!

gratefully,

Bruce


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 23 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Some of the old clan are still here. Some are gone and I miss them....I don't know their stories, because they often drifted away while I was on hiatus myself. Trying to really evaluate my time and desires and invest myself where I should be. Much less on Facebook (my students sucked me in) and more private writing and HP reading and writing. :)

So we will both celebrate Grilled Cheese sandwiches as we think and write about soberer things. :) Theresa

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