Today we celebrate that classic culinary delight, the grilled cheese sandwich. Though cooked bread and cheese is actually an ancient food, enjoyed the world over, the modern version that we’re most familiar with as kids in the United States has more recent roots. Back in the 1920’s, a man by the name of Otto Rohwedder would become known as the “father of sliced bread” with his invention of the bread slicing machine. His machine debuted right here in my home state of Missouri at the Chillicothe Baking Company. And what’s the best thing since sliced bread? Individually wrapped cheese of course!
Processed cheese had been patented by James L. Kraft even before the bread slicers hit the market. This was the type of cheese that the English referred to as “factory cheese” or “rattrap cheese” while raising up their proper cheddar noses in disdain. Both inventions continued to become popular, but it wouldn’t be until World War II that the Navy cooks started making “American cheese filling sandwiches.” In 1949, Kraft introduced Kraft singles, and by 1965 supermarkets everywhere were selling them. It was this invention that made the grilled cheese rise in popularity and become an American staple.
This was my favorite sandwich as a kid, much to my mother’s pleasure as it was absolutely one of the easiest things to make. It was the first thing I learned to “cook” and embarrassingly remains one of the few things I can “cook” to this day. As an adult, however, I’ve discovered the English were right in their snobbery and I prefer Irish Cheddar that I slice myself over the cellophane doppleganger. Also, I’ve now added tomato soup to the mix, which little Charlie would have raised his nose up at in disdain. But even with the changing times, making a grilled cheese is still one of the best things I can think of to do with sliced bread.
Join me any and all days you like during April by celebrating a National or International Day with a doodlewash! Tag your image #doodlewashaday and I’ll feature everyone who played along on doodlewash.com at the end of the month!