Such a simple, beautiful thing. A perfect grilled cheese and tomato sandwich. It's one of my favourites. My sister too. In fact, recently she and I, instead of going out into the wilds to hike, decided to do a rather more domestic hike. Up and down the Avenue we went, poking around all the shops, trying on clothes, admiring pretty things and chatting with sales people. And if you don't think that counts as exercise, you have never shopped with us!
We capped the event, as we usually do, with a late lunch. This time at one of my favourite places, The Soda Fountain. It's a real old fashion soda fountain with wooden booths, and long highly polished eating bar with high stools that swivel, walls covered in old photographs, checkered tile floors and the BEST milkshakes I have ever had!
They honestly do have all of those wonderful old sofa fountain favourite ice cream treats, but they also have all sorts of sandwiches, salads, soups and pizza! But when Joy and I eat there, we go for the old comfy homey favourite, grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches. And chocolate milkshakes, too of course. Let's not be stupid. If you are eating at a place with the absolute best milkshakes in the world, of course you have milkshakes. Lactose intolerance be damned!
Tim kind of raises his eyebrows over our choice of sandwich. I mean it's something anyone can make, right? Why order it at a restaurant? Well, actually, apparently it's not true that anyone can make a good one.
In fact, a place Joy and I used to order them frequently, recently changed how they made them and, in our eyes at least, totally ruined them. The other place, which shall remain nameless, tried to get fancyschmancy. I don't need fancy. I just need good. Instead of making it on ordinary white bread, they started using sourdough bread and they added something to the butter that is just wrong.
I've had grilled cheese sandwiches that were burned. I've had them soggy. Only partially melted cheese. WAY too much butter. Not enough butter. Icky tomatoes. Weird cheese. Weird add-in's. Wrong kind of bread. So you see, it is possible to make a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich incorrectly. Or, maybe it's just that I don't fully appreciate a unique grilled cheese. Okay Okay. I get it. You are trying to be different, to stand apart from the rest of the crowd. Trying to elevate us gastronomically. I appreciate the effort. Truly I do!
However, my palate refuses to be refined. It is not fancy. It is not sophisticated. I like simple food. Sometimes, to me anyway, the effort to be unusual, to try something unexpected, veers off into pretentious and falls into the abyss of a failed attempt. Nice try, but no thank you.
Or maybe it's just me. Probably it's just me. Fancy food is wasted on me. If I don't recognize it, I don't eat it. If you have to explain the menu to me, I'm probably not your target demographic.
Like my junior high Home-Ec teacher told us (just before I got kicked out of that particular class - a story for another day), "It's just as important how your food looks as how it tastes. I agree! But I will go one further. It's also important how it smells. I love the smell of good food cooking. And if I do not care of the scent, I do not eat it.
So, let's tote this up: I will not eat food that I don't like the looks of. I will not eat food that I don't recognize. I will not eat food I don't like the smell of. I do not eat food whose texture is weird. (mouth feel is a real thing people). And I absolutely do not eat food that I don't like the taste of. Yes I suppose you could call me a picky eater.
Again, that's me. I'm sure your definition of a perfect grilled cheese sandwich is different than mine. Maybe you don't even like grilled cheese sandwiches. Perhaps your order at the Soda Fountain would be for a Reuben instead. Or the Italian. Or the BLT. Or.... Well there are just so many to choose from. But the point remains, in everyone's mind, there is one shining example of a perfect.....whatever...sandwich. And at it's essence, it is probably something very simple.
There is nothing wrong with simple. Simple can be beautiful. And just because it's simple, doesn't mean it's easy. And in fact, I would go so far as too say that sometimes a perfect, simple, beautiful any kind of sandwich can be a little tricky to achieve.
But it's good to have a goal. And there is nothing wrong with a goal that is simple, beautiful and perfect.
Have a wonderful weekend and perfect sandwiches. Whatever your definition of a perfect one is.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.