April 12 is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day!
Imagine it: a perfectly toasted buttery sandwich overflowing with hot melty Gouda, American, Havarti, cheddar, Swiss, or Guyere cheese. Mmmmmm… cheeeeese.
Humans have been eating bread and cheese together for millennia (even the Romans had a fondness for the delicious combination). However, the grilled cheese sandwich as we know it didn’t originate until the late 1920s when both sliced bread and American cheese became readily available to the American public. While American cheese was invented way back in 1911, commercially sliced bread wasn’t invented until 1928. By the time the Great Depression rolled around in 1929, the sandwiches were already a big hit. Grilled cheese sandwiches continued to be hugely popular during the Depression because they were filling, tasty, quick to make, and best of all, CHEAP.
In the beginning, they were made as open-faced sandwiches and were called “Cheese Dream,” which is a fun bit of food history, isn’t it? During World War II, US sailors and soldiers took these glorious cheese sandwiches around the world with them—with the ingenious addition of a top slice of bread (probably making it much easier to carry and eat while in the field). It wasn’t until the 1960s that the sandwiches came to be called “grilled cheese sandwiches” or simply “grilled cheese.”
Whether you make it the “traditional” way with Wonder Bread and that processed cheese product we call American Cheese or with artisan cheese and whole grain bread, make yourself a delicious grilled cheese to celebrate National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day!