BUCKHANNON — April 12 marks the especially delicious, odd holiday named National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day. Food historians believe people have been pairing bread and cheese for centuries. However, grilled cheese sandwiches are considered to have been developed in the 1920s and became a staple in the American diet.
In researching the famous grilled sandwich, it is a fun fact to note, that cheese was on the market before sliced bread. According to howstuffworks.com, processed cheese had been patented by James L. Kraft, an entrepreneur whose revolutionary pasteurizing process ensured cheese would not spoil, even when transported long distances. By 1914, J.L. Kraft and Bros. Company, the precursor to Kraft Foods, opened its first plant in Illinois. Five years later, the company had already expanded into Canada. A bread slicer was invented in the 1920s by Otto Frederick Rohwedder, who became known as “the father of sliced bread,” as stated by howstuffworks.com.
Furthermore, grilled cheese sandwiches were initially called toasted cheese or melted cheese sandwiches. Howstuffworks.com reads, “As early as 1902, a recipe for a ‘Melted Cheese,’ designed to be cooked in a hot oven, appeared in Sarah Tyson Rorer’s “Mrs. Rorer’s New Cookbook”; a recipe published in 1929 in Florence A. Cowles’ “Seven Hundred Sandwiches” called to broil the ingredients to make ‘Toasted Cheese.’ ‘Toasted Sandwich’ published in 1939 in “The Boston Cooking School Cookbook,” encouraged preparers to broil the ingredients or even — gasp! — sauté them in a frying pan coated with butter. And in ‘The Joy of Cooking’ (1953), Irma S. Rombauer wrote that bread and cheese should be heated in a commercial waffle iron — an easy meal for even ‘the maidless host’ to prepare.”
Howstuffworks.com revealed some interesting facts regarding the grilled cheese sandwich, which included that in 2004, an online casino, GoldenPalace.com paid $28,000 for a grilled cheese that was half eaten but resembled the Virgin Mary in the pattern. Also in 2006, an American competitive eater Joey Chestnut won a championship by eating 34 grilled cheese sandwiches in one sitting.
Nationaltoday.com also revealed that in a survey of 1,100 Americans, 87% said they liked grilled cheese sandwiches with the remaining 13% being a no. Cheddar is the highest ranked cheese preferred on the grilled sandwich, with American cheese coming in second, Swiss cheese third, Provolone is fourth and Pepper Jack in fifth place.
National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day can be celebrated by, you guessed it, making a delectable grilled cheese sandwich. Fondue is another way to go with toasted bread and melty cheeses to make a special creation. A romantic meal can be made as well by preparing your significant other a grilled cheese sandwich with their favorite cheese and pairing it with a craft beer or wine.
If you do not feel like cooking, stop by The Whistle Stop, located at 23 North Spring Street and try a grilled cheese hamburger, which is a special menu item only available one day for National Grilled Cheese Day!