1. The one my mom made me and paired with tomato soup when I had scarlet fever like the boy in The Velveteen Rabbit. It helped me to avoid worrying about whether my parents we going to torch all my stuffed animals (SPOILER ALERT) like in the book. It turns out they didn’t have to do this because of washing machines and bleach. I was going to make some other ill-informed jokes about my Civil War-era childhood because I actually had scarlet fever twice, until I read that there is a new rare strain of the disease in China. I hope their caregivers are all making them grilled cheeses.
2. The one I ate at Tom’s Diner after I got my braces off. You know you’re really going places when biting into a sandwich is a victory. I remember pausing just to high-five myself and then take another chomp out of the fibrous whole wheat, which I had absolutely zero problem tearing through using my newly freed central and lateral incisors. Like McGruff, the trench coat-wearing cartoon bloodhound detective, I am awesome at taking a bite out of things — except instead of crime, those things are grilled cheese sandwiches. I am the king of mastication. Sure, I masticate a lot when I’m bored, but I also derive a lot of pleasure from it — both solo and with company. I’m so good at it that strangers sometimes watch me. I don’t mind, I’ll do it in front of anyone — I like to think I’ve taught a lot of people a thing or two. Nobody masticates like me. Nobody.
3. The one I ate after sampling the entire tasting menu at a place I’ll call “Fancy Restaurant” in Williamsburg. The menu offers an array of microscopic pieces of food. I was served tasty whispers of ideas about food that I think the waiter may have accidentally inhaled when he loudly sighed as he placed our plates on the table. These insinuations of dishes formed a delightful allusion to a meal. Despite this figment of dinner, I was still hungry. Thirty minutes later at the bar called “Post Office” that has never been a post office, I ate one of the most perfectly golden, toasted, white-bread grilled cheeses in the history of cheese that has been grilled.
4. The one I ate at my neighborhood grilled cheesery (technical term for a place that serves grilled cheese), which uses TWO different kinds of cheese. They serve them with a really elegantly green pickle. Sometimes when I’m there and cheesedrunk (official designation for the happiness derived from a buttered and heated sandwich with cheese), I think about how this pickle is emerald-esque. I want my engagement ring cut from this pickle.
5. The grilled cheese I made for my girlfriend that was so beautiful I talked to her about it the entire time she was eating it. As the director of the grilled cheese, I provided a DVD commentary complete with “extras” like describing the proper way to warm butter. I’m pretty sure that is the closest I will ever get to winning Chopped, so I really wanted to enjoy the moment. She took it great, and didn’t roll her eyes nearly as much as Ted Allen would have, which is a ton because Ted Allen is addicted to eye-rolling.
6. Any of the grilled cheeses I’ve eaten after 2 a.m. I don’t remember each and every one of these sandwiches, but, as Liz Lemon would agree, there’s something about night cheese. These starlight sandwiches are the grilled cheeses of hope, suffering, laughter, and tears that can only be experienced after 2 a.m. These are the grilled cheeses that the band Fun. sang about in “Some Nights: The Cheesesta Remix” featuring Ma$e and The Vienna Boys’ Choir. These are the grilled cheeses President Obama’s speechwriters ate right before they made love to a beautiful woman or man who inspired them to write the President’s election night speech. These are the grilled cheeses that have enchanted literally thousands of Guys Fieri. (Like “culs de sac” and “attorneys general,” it’s time someone finally pluralized that term correctly.) These are the grilled cheeses of history that will continue to hold us together as a civilization, one sandwich, indivisible with extra cheese and butter for all.
7. Today’s grilled cheese. here are so many things in life I cannot control: variable groups in scientific experiments, the temperature in my apartment, my reaction to the temperature in my apartment, or escalators. Yet, the one thing I CAN control is how much I enjoy the grilled cheese I eat today. As Lincoln once said, “Om nom nom.” Lincoln is my friend’s golden retriever who eats anything you drop on the floor, even if that thing is a grilled cheese you are enjoying and you assure him that you are extremely litigious. Long story short, Lincoln WILL be facing a nasty lawsuit in small claims court and, if I have to, I’m pursuing this thing all the way to the attorneys general.