Monday, December 22, 2014

AAM Monday: Cheese on Toast

Back in my years of living in England, one of my favorite home lunches or suppers was cheese on toast and/or mushrooms on toast. Growing up, or even when I was first married and living in Texas, I almost never used a broiler. The broiler was usually on the bottom of the oven, so it was just about on the floor. You'd put whatever was to be broiled on the slotted pan, shut the door and then have to guess how long it might take or when to open the door. Leaning down and peering in was no fun, but even worse was cleaning the large broiler pan which was always a mess.  Then came the days of aluminum foil and covering the tray seemed, to us, to be a wasteful thing as the foil was usually thrown away even if the idea of washing it was occasionally considered.

But there in 1968 England, I had a 'cooker' rather than a range and the broiler pan was now called a 'grill pan' and it was up at eye level. A totally separate bit of cooking equipment. I loved it. Of course, cheese was a big staple in England and back in the late 60s the idea of cholesterol was fortunately not a worry for people. The cheeses we ate were natural and came from 'contented cows', often from a farm not far away.  My favorite was Wensleydale which melted beautifully and on a thick slice of real bread, possibly baked that day at a local bakery, cheese on toast was wonderful. Just add a dollop of Branston Pickle and ah....pure comfort food.

Yesterday, I did my best to recreate this on short notice at home. We had just made a loaf of English Muffin bread and I had slices of swiss cheese as well as some fresh mushrooms.  A thick slice of bread, a layer of sliced mushrooms, a slice of swiss, another layer of sliced mushrooms and another slice of swiss cheese. Into the toaster over, and 5 minutes or so and the broiler there did its job. No way as good as those meals in England but somedays you just have to take what you can get. It filled the tummy on a December day and that was the point.

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