Few of the foods I have loved from my childhood evoke more ire and disdain from friends and celebrated food icons than the much maligned processed cheese food, also known as American Cheese, the boldly orange stuff found in convenient individual plastic wraps. Often considered a lowbrow food, it must be admitted that it is a much used ingredient by harried mothers everywhere seeking to make something quick and satisfying for their children after a long day of school and a great way to shut them up for a few minutes which they scarf down their white bread and American cheese while watching the afternoon cartoons.
Before then, I actually did not know what a true grilled cheese sandwich in this form was for a long time. My family had always simply placed the cheese on bread slices, and toasted them in the toaster oven, and I had liked it just fine, and still did after learning the proper way. Truth be told, I still enjoy this as a quick snack when I can get away with it. But when I witnessed my friend’s mother butter the sides of two pieces of bread, slide not one but two pieces of American cheese between them, and them grill them between the plates of a George Foreman grill did my perception of how grand a grilled cheese could be was truly elevated. Perhaps that experience was one of the contributing elements to my love of cooking and its abilities to transform food.
So it is this memory that I pay homage to for this post, and with love that I transform it into this. I really hope I’m not using the word deconstruction incorrectly when I call this a deconstructed grilled cheese. It seems more like a reconstruction, but obviously I haven’t watched enough Top Chef to figure it out.
So behold my creation of love and quick thinking, a “deconstructed grilled cheese,” which is now in the form of homemade bread dough, studded with chopped garlic, stuffed with American cheese, and fried to doneness.