Grilled cheese party
Friday, October 24, 2008 | 12:23 PM ET
by Amber Hildebrandt, CBCNews.ca
Over the weekend, I held a grilled cheese party, an event so successful I hope to make it an annual tradition.
Friends arrived at my apartment armed with unconventional breads, exotic cheeses and other toppings, such as sliced apples and jellies, for whatever concoction they'd decided to make. Then each person had a turn taking over my kitchen, making several of their sandwiches and serving them cut into bite-sized chunks.
While some guests were foodies, many were not. But all revelled in the experiment. There’s something about grilled cheese sandwiches, or grillers as we took to calling them, that brought out the gourmand in each of us.
I was impressed with the combinations we amateurs came up with: white cheddar with a spicy homemade salsa dubbed “El Diablo” on sourdough; croissants filled with soft Port Salut, fresh basil and sun-dried tomatoes; and multi-grain bread topped with herb Havarti, goat cheese, tomatoes and prosciutto, just to name a few.
There wasn't a kitschy processed-cheese-and-Wonder-Bread sandwich in sight.
A gooey grilled cheese sandwich, one of many consumed throughout the night. (Courtesy of Natalie Bay)
It should come as no surprise that these retro sandwiches have a devoted following, with entire books dedicated to techniques and recipes, an annual grilled cheese contest and countless websites and articles extolling its virtues.
The first time I heard of a grilled cheese party, though, was from a classmate at a cooking course last year, and I had been mulling the idea ever since. I wracked my brain for alternatives to the sandwich, but finally gave in and stole the idea outright. Few meals rivalled the possible versions of this simple sandwich.
What other foods do you think would work well for a party?
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About the blog
From trends and culture to politics and nutrition, Food Bytes serves up tasty tidbits about food and the issues surrounding it that flavour our everyday lives.
About the writers
Amber Hildebrandt writes for CBCNews.ca in Toronto. Growing up on a farm in Manitoba, she acquired an insatiable appetite, but it was during a stint in Japan that she developed her discerning tastebuds and "foodie" ways.
Andrea Chiu is an associate producer at CBC Radio Digital. Though she loves to eat, cook and discuss food, don't ask her to bake. It never turns out well. She tweets as @TOfoodie on Twitter and organizes food and wine events in Toronto called FoodieMeet.
Tara Kimura is the consumer life reporter for CBCNews.ca, covering a wide range of issues that range from rising food costs and the growing organic movement, to new trends in the marketplace.
Andree Lau is a CBC web reporter in Calgary. Her journalism career includes seven years as a CBC-TV reporter. Her own blog called "are you gonna eat that?" chronicles her eating adventures (including sampling snake and camel hoof tendon).
Jessica Wong is a CBCNews.ca writer who loves to eat and cook, as well as discuss, read and watch programming about food, sometimes all at once.
Kevin Yarr, CBCNews.ca's writer in Prince Edward Island, wrote about food and beer for national and regional magazines before joining the CBC. He acquired a desire for new tastes on his first trip to Europe, and an appreciation of eating locally and in season when he finally settled down on P.E.I.
Elizabeth Bridge is a writer with the CBC Digital Archives in Toronto. She first ventured into the kitchen as a child to indulge a sweet tooth by baking cookies and making fudge. A student budget compelled her to be a vegetarian (for a while) and instilled in her an ongoing curiosity about food and cooking.
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