We’re going to switch topics from sedation dentistry and dental health to talk about a really important national holiday, as well as shine the spotlight on a local business. Today is Tuesday, April 12th. Not many people know this, but today is national grilled cheese day! They’re especially famous amongst college kids, and busy moms, who don’t have time to cook large, complicated dinners. Nothing says soul food and southern like a nice grilled cheese sandwich. Grilled cheese sandwiches are a national staple, and they have been for a long time.
The History of the Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Our idea of a grilled cheese sandwich is a couple of slices of cheese slapped between two pieces of sliced white bread, then grilled with butter in a frying pan. This grilled cheese goes as far back as the 1920s. It wasn’t uncommon for people to use processed Kraft cheese to make a cheap meal that would stick to their ribs.
Grilled cheese sandwiches really took off in the 1940s during World War II, when the government added it to Navy diets on ship kitchens. At first, these sandwiches were served open face with one slice of cheese and grated cheese. It wasn’t until 1949, when Kraft Singles hit the market that they started adding the top piece of bread, making it a heartier meal. The word “grilled cheese” didn’t take hold until the 1960s. Before “grilled cheese,” these sandwiches were called “toasted cheese” or “melted cheese” sandwiches.
The cool thing about a grilled cheese sandwich is that it doesn’t matter how it’s cooked. You can cook it Benny and Joon style with a clothes iron if you need to, stick it in the oven, slap it in the frying pan, or throw it in the oven broiler. As long as the bread is toasty and the cheese is melted, then you’ve got a grilled cheese. While it’s pretty hard to mess up a grilled cheese, some restaurants make them better than others. You can take grilled cheese sandwiches to a whole new level by adding vegetables, using a gourmet cheese, or step your bread game up by choosing an artisanal bread.
In Florence, there are a lot of great places to get a good grilled cheese sandwich. The best grilled cheese in town comes from Starfire Grille. Starfire makes a hearty grilled cheese that surpasses the American Kraft single sandwich.
Like the olden days, they call their cheese sandwich a “cheese melt,” instead of debasing it to a traditional grilled cheese. They put a special twist on their grilled cheese sandwich by using a pimento cheese base.
They use a creamy melted mixture of cheddar, Monterrey jack, cream cheese, roasted red peppers, pimentos, and thick Applewood bacon on grilled pieces of Texas toast. I don’t know about y’all, but I got hungry just reading that. Their grilled cheese is enormous and well-prepared. They clearly put a lot of effort into preparing this cheesy good national favorite.
Beyond grilled cheese sandwiches, Starfire has a huge menu of other food items for the lactose intolerant. They have a huge list of Mediterranean fare, including Mediterranean pasta, sides, and salads. They also offer a huge share of American soul food with Mediterranean twists, as well as twists on other classics like quesadillas.