The odds were stacked against Meghan and me when it came to getting good meals when we were little. First, our mom worked so didn’t have a ton of time to cook for us. Second, she was cheap, as are all Meierottos. Finally, she wasn’t, shall we say, blessed with the cooking gene. All three of these traits conspired against us kids when it came to the following meal (this is a true story).
One night, she decided to make grilled cheese for us. We were probably about 8 and 6 years old. Because Peg was so cheap, she kept the bread in the freezer so it wouldn’t get moldy. She must have been in a hurry because she didn’t bother to defrost the bread — she took it out of the freezer and made the sandwiches in the skillet on the frozen bread. I think that she was thinking that the heat from the skillet would evaporate the ice crystals in it, but instead they melted and turned the grilled cheese sandwiches into a soggy mess that looked more like grilled cheese soup.
Undeterred, she spooned those soggy sandwiches onto plates and served them to us anyway. When we lifted them from our plates, we asked, “Mom, what is this?” Her response:
“That’s how they eat grilled cheese in France.”
So, the secret to making “French” grilled cheese: start with frozen bread and don’t bother defrosting it.