With the onset of the Great Recession in December of 2007, people began to really take stock of what's important to them. People scaled back their lives. OK, perhaps no one scaled back their lives unless the bank specifically gave them written notice to do so, but the country as a whole sure did talk about scaling back our lives. It allowed us to take stock in what's really important. We need to own a smart phone. How else would we give everyone 24 hour access into our lives. We need to demonstrate to our friends just how intelligent we are by posting links to articles that we read. We need to be able to upload images of our new child and our new broccoli casserole. We need to take those once crystal clear images and make them blurry in interesting ways. We need people to "like" and "share" those blurry images. It validates us and let's us know that there are other people out there with similar interests. Really, what's the point of living otherwise? Instagram and Facebook have changed the way we look at food and specifically grilled cheese. People want to see that grilled cheese cut in half, with the melted cheese oozing out. People need to see that grilled cheese cut in half, with the melted cheese oozing out. They want to see a stratified inner core with layers, upon layers, of complex ingredients. Without that complexity you will be likeless, friendless and borderline suicidal. C'MON WORLD! VALIDATE ME AS AN INTERESTING PERSON!!!
Wow! What a disgusting mess of food. Of course the most important ingredient in grilled cheese is the cheese. I chose to use two types, I got some pepper jack cheese singles and then the creme de la creme, Velveeta. We'll get to the Velveeta in a little bit. For my meat, I chose a $1 package of pepperoni. What a deal! It's not $1 pizza, but it's pretty shitty. For the bread, I picked the shittiest white bread possible. With no nutritional value whatsoever, it makes sense that it only costs 97 cents. Finally, I'll also be rounding out the entire meal with some grapefruit.
Fill the bottom of the pan with some olive oil and toast a slice of bread in the pan. When I was growing up my grandmother used to make us burnt grilled cheese. It was her signature move and in her lifetime I'm pretty sure she never changed her recipe. Here are the steps:
- Butter two slices of bread.
- Put cheese in the middle.
- Place it in a hot pan.
- Go to another part of the house and do household chores.
- Wait until the cooking timer goes off (also known as the smoke alarm).
- Remove grilled cheese sandwich from the stovetop.
- Ask granddad to fan the smoke alarm with newspaper.
- Scrape the burnt part of the bread until golden brown.
- Feed to grand kids.
It turns out the apple doesn't fall far from the tree because I got sidetracked and burnt the hell out of my toast. Not to worry, I own a knife and I scraped the bread until it was golden brown. This is all part of the recipe. Cut the toast up into small squares and line the bottom of a small cast iron pan with the bread squares. Using cast iron will take your guests attention away from the shitty ingredients within this "dream". Cast iron is great for a few reasons, but most importantly, it hearkens to, "The days of old" and will have your guests considering their own cast iron aspirations.
"Oh my god is this cast iron? I just LOVE cast iron. My grandmother used to use cast iron and it's all I use now. It is so durable! I tried that non-stick stuff for a few years, but for David just can't seem to remember not to use metal utensils on them and he scratches the hell out of them. What? Well I'm sorry David but you can't. You can't. It's your pan and you'll use it how you please? What're you talking about? It's not your pan, it's our pan. Well just use it correctly and we wouldn't be having this conversation. I swear sometimes I think your head is made out of cast iron. Oh you don't complain to me about how I use the car? What? Oooooooh, I run into one parking garage support column and you get your panties in a big mess. Now there's an idea for you. Just get me a cast iron car and we wouldn't have this problem."
Next, break up some of the individual pepper jack cheese slices and layer them on top of the toast. Kroger didn't have the balls or the legal flexibility to actually call this cheese, as it's t's described as, "Pasteurized process cheese product with hot peppers." It feels weird to touch and even though it's March, it doesn't expire until November. NOVEMBER! WHAT?! That should be a warning sign for anyone purchasing this, unfortunately white trash has yet to receive the memo. Once we heat this puppy up, the cheese will seep down within the toast creating a nice base for the cheese dream. Layer the pepperoni on top of the cheese.
- Gwyneth Paltrow
Not sure how Gwyn feels about Velveeta, but I'm guessing we could get her to smoke at least a little PCP before taking a bite of my grilled cheese. By then end of this recipe, even Gwyneth Paltrow would assume she's only dining on the finest ingredients, partly because she'd be all hopped up on PCP and crack, but mostly because it will look so pretentious!
When Velveeta was purchased by Kraft in the 1920's, it was originally advertised as health food. WHOA. That's how shitty food was in the 1920's. Unfortunately for arteries everywhere Velveeta is still around; fortunately for this blog Velveeta is still around. I had to ask a stocker in the grocery store if they even carried the, "Big blocks of Velveeta." Wrongly, I was looking in the cheese aisle. Imagine that. He walked me to the middle of the store, far away from any refrigeration, pointed to the Velveeta and said, "I've got the big block and I've got the small block." There it was nestled next to the canned cheeses. I should have known to look in the "Pasteurized recipe cheese product aisle." What was I thinking? I will say this though; I love Velveeta's packaging. It's both shitty and pretentious at the same time. It's box is obnoxious, boisterous, and loud, just begging to be the life of the party and then when you open it, it doesn't disappoint. You have to peel away it's tightly wrapped foil like you're opening a bar of gold, revealing the prize within, it's reflection shining off of your face like the open briefcase in Pulp Fiction. Slice that gold up and put it on top of your meat!
Every grilled cheese needs two slices of bread. Remove the crust from a slice and cut it up into small squares. It is important to brush the bread with olive oil or butter so it bakes to a golden brown. Cut up some more small squares of Velveeta and place them within the spaces of the bread. Just as it does with your arteries, this will congeal with the bread creating a beautiful top to the grilled cheese. Next, cover the dish with tinfoil and bake it in the oven at 350 for one hour. We're baking a grilled cheese?! This is a paradigm shift that I'm having trouble comprehending! Relax. Yes, we're baking a grilled cheese. We have to pull out all the stops. How else are we going to accumulate the necessary "Likes" and "Retweets" that allow us to sleep at night?
You can't have grilled cheese without tomato soup. Look at the top right of the soup can. It's a grilled cheese! Everyone knows that it's a natural pairing. What about the picture of the girl in the cornfield? Well you've got me there, that makes no sense at all, but look at the grilled cheese! Heat up the soup with an equal amount of water and pour it into some pretentious Japanese tea cups. Don't have Japanese tea cups? Sounds like you'll have to take a trip to the 90 Cents and Up Store!
I plated my meal on a wooden cutting board which is nice, but if you can salvage a piece of wood lying around a back alley in your neighborhood. That will really take your guests back to the depression and after dinner you can burn it for heat! If you have it, throw some basil on top of everything and then neatly slice up the grapefruit to top it all off. But Kyle, grapefruit is fruit, that's not shitty. It's the shittiest fruit; it's like a lemon had sex with an orange and got all the worst parts. If you're serving grapefruit you better add sugar to it. YOU BETTER ADD SUGAR TO IT. You're liable to get punched in the face if you don't add sugar when serving grapefruit.
Prior to social media you would have just sloppily pieced this mess together. Luckily now people are judging you all the time. People have expectations. Without Instagram there's no way you would have sliced a grapefruit like that. There's no way you would own Japanese tea cups (unless you're Japanese). So impress the world. Take a picture. Throw a filter on it. Make it blurry in parts. Tag your dinner guests so that they too can share it with their friends. Their friends will "like" it. The next day you can add a post on Facebook saying, "Great dinner party last night with David, Sharon, Steve, Chelsea, Renee, and Ashley. Can't wait for the next one!" Now you have the deep satisfaction of knowing that your life means something!