So, in honor of my day of frustration, I have chosen to share with you a recipe for my favorite dish: the grilled cheese sandwich.
You will need:
2 slices of white bread (Arnold's Country White is excellent, or any good pullman loaf)
2 slices of American cheese (Kraft, people! Kraft!)
Butter, lots of it. (sweet, not salt. The best you can afford.)
Take about two tablespoons of butter, put it on a plate and wait until it is soft.
Spread the butter so that it thickly coats the two slices of bread.
Unwrap the cheese slices and place one whole on the bread, and tear up the second one so that it covers all the empty spots on the bread. You want a solid coating of cheese! It's especially good if you arrange it so that it hangs out the side slightly so that it will caramelize in the pan.
Speaking of which, turn the heat on the stove to medium. If it is too hot, it will melt the butter, and toast the bread before the inside gets melty, which would be disastrous.
Place sandwich in pan (Note: the buttered sides of the bread should face outwards). Let the butter melt and the bread get a nice golden brown. Flip the sandwich with a spatula and do the same on the other side.
You should now have a perfect grilled cheese sandwich!
Obviously, the permutations are endless. You can use nearly any kind of cheese or bread, and add anything you like: avocado, tomato, mushroom, whatever. Sometimes, the cheese does not get melty enough if one has other ingredients in the sandwich. In that case, I have found that covering the pan briefly while it is grilling will work.
For grilled cheeses available for purchase in NYC (and good ones are skockingly difficult to come by) the best traditional grilled cheese can be found at Junior's, in Brooklyn. It's just perfectly toasted and melty. My favorite non-traditional one is 'wichcraft's gruyère and caramelized onions on rye. Tom Colicchio really does know what he is doing. And they will happily add avocado if you like at no additional cost! Which you know is almost unheard of. And it costs like $5.50. So, the best sandwich is a really good deal!
Last week I read Mary Roach's excellent and completely hilarious Bonk: the Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, where I discovered this gem:
I give you a sentence, my favorite sentence in the entire oeuvre of Alfred Kinsey, from Sexual Behavior in the Human Female: "Cheese crumbs spread in front of the copulating pair of rats may distract the female, but not the male."
Look. I realize the picture of the rat with the banjo has very little to do with anything, but it's been a super frustrating day, and it is so cute, so just leave it.