Almost everyone is aware of the trend of giving various things their own special day. Monday, April 10 was National Sibling Day, and yesterday was Barbershop Quartet Day as well as National Pet Day. Well, today is a special day as well. April 12 is celebrated as National Grilled Cheese Day, among other things.
Many people, from all around, are celebrating National Grilled Cheese Day in their own ways, using the hashtag “#NationalGrilledCheeseDay” on social media. People are posting pictures of, and talking all about, their delicious grilled cheese sandwiches, whether the grilled cheeses are prepared in the traditional way, or by adding ham or tomatoes, or even by completely redesigning the grilled cheese altogether. Some people have even managed to make a rainbow grilled cheese. Even people who are lactose intolerant do not have to miss out on the excitement.
While the origins of National Grilled Cheese Day are unknown, the origins of the grilled cheese itself are not. While people have been eating bread and cheese together for centuries, the modern concept of the grilled cheese sandwich dates back to the 1920s in the United States. The Croque Monsieur was a sandwich invented in France in 1910, and there are those that believe that this was technically the first instance of the grilled cheese. The Croque Monsieur was prepared by spreading Dijon mustard across two slices of bread, adding ham, gruyere cheese, and then frying the sandwich in butter. While this fits the modern definition of a grilled cheese sandwich, it does not fit the traditional definition of simple cheese and bread, so there is some debate as to whether or not this was the first, true, instance of the grilled cheese in history.
The invention of the bread slicer by Otto Frederick Rohwedder in 1928, which made distributing bread easier and more affordable, and the invention of processed cheese by James Lewis Kraft in 1949, paved the way for the style of grilled cheese that is known and loved today. Previously, grilled cheeses went by the name “toasted cheese” and were made with a single slice of bread, sprinkled with grated cheese. Eventually, a second slice of bread was added, most likely to make the meal more filling. The grilled cheese was popular during WWII, with recipes found in official cookbooks of the Allied armed forces. Grilled Cheese sandwiches quickly found their way into school cafeterias and homes all around the country.
Around the same time that grilled cheese sandwiches became popular as school lunches, was around the same time they were paired with a hot bowl of tomato soup. Tomato soup helped to provide people with Vitamin C, as well as other things that a grilled cheese alone could not provide. Canned soup was cheap, and it was an easy way to fill out a meal, especially in public schools with limited equipment. Today, grilled cheese sandwiches are paired with a variety of different soups, including chicken soup. However, it is hard to beat the taste of a gooey grilled cheese sandwich dipped into a well-seasoned bowl of tomato soup.
Many people consider the grilled cheese to a comfort food, a reminder of childhood, or as a warm meal on a cold day. Others enjoy the grilled cheese because it is cheap, easy, and convenient to make, as well as filling. There are several different recipes and variations of the grilled cheese and tips on how to make a grilled cheese taste as delicious as possible. With all these possibilities, the grilled cheese is not likely to lose popularity any time soon. What is your favorite way to eat a grilled cheese?
[Featured Image by juliedeshaies/iStock]