27 Minutes Off of Your Life Expectancy

WARNING – THERE BE RUDE WORDS BELOW.

 

More from The Single Dad’s Cookbook

 

I think it’s a travesty that we immortalise John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich for coming up with the mind numbingly simple recipe of putting a piece of meat between two pieces of bread and we don’t know the name of the guy that invented the internal combustion engine.

Americans grill sandwiches. An American style grilled cheese is a greasy, delicious, fat filled thing that is scientifically proven to take 27 minutes off of your life expectancy – but it’s worth it.. You put a slice of cheese between two slices of bread and then liberally butter the outside. Heat up a non-stick pan and grill it on both sides. Sometimes I like to cover the heating sandwich with a small pan lid to hold in the heat and ensure the cheese melts properly.

Serve in true American diner-style with crisps. For kids I almost always add a couple of skinned apple quarters. Children who religiously refuse to eat fruits and vegetables will often put an apple slice in their mouths before they know what they’re doing.

The British on the other hand are the masters of the toasted sandwich. Thanks in large part to that amazing invention – the Breville sandwich maker. Imagine a machine that superheats cheese to the temperature of molten lead and seals it inside a packet of bread. We should be canonizing the Earl of Breville.

I first came into contact one of these marvellous inventions during my vagabond days in the wilds of Ireland. Dan Foley was an ex-music hall magician and plate-spinner who had retired from the stage into a pub in the middle of absolutely nowhere on the west coast of Ireland. I showed up there one rainy evening and didn’t leave for a month. I lived in an electricity-free caravan out back, worked behind the bar and did magic tricks for his customers. I was paid in food, booze and stories of magic and juggling on the old showbiz circuit.

Every night was a late night at Dan Foley’s Pub so often the first meal of the day was lunch. Dan introduced me to Breville toasted cheese and onion sandwich (a combination you couldn’t have paid me to eat in America) and I was hooked. One of my fondest memories happened one late morning as we were having our usual Breville brunches.

Dan like many Kerry men used the word “Fuck” like the rest of us use the word “The.” A mini-van of American women pulled up outside and one popped her head in the door of the pub and said in that loud nasal twang that could only come from a New Jersey suburbs,

“CAN I USE YOUR BATHROOM?”

Dan nodded yes.

As she took off her clingfilm rain hat and said, “IT SURE IS RAINING OUT THERE.”

To which Dan casually replied, “If you wanted fucking good weather you should have gone to fucking Spain.”

The lovely thing about it was that Dan had no idea he was being rude – he merely said it as a matter of fact.

The Jersey suburbanite left quickly – never using the “BATHROOM.”

After waxing lyrically about the Breville sandwich maker I have to say I don’t use one anymore. They’re a pain to clean, the melted cheese drips into the innards and they take up counter space. I’ve found a toasted sandwich making alternative that is almost as good. The Toastabags Toaster Bags is an amazing device I bought at Fenwicks for a fiver. It’s an envelope made out of some Star Trek material that is big enough to put a cheese sandwich in. You them put it into the toaster and three minutes later you have the most perfect cheese sandwich. The envelopes are reusable and dishwasher-able.

By the way, the inventor of the internal combustion engine was arguably Nikolaus Otto in 1876.

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2 Responses to “27 Minutes Off of Your Life Expectancy”

  1. osirisoflight Says:

    I have been a huge fan of the electric sandwich makers. My mom had one when I was a kid. Unfortunately in my later teens it went missing. So naturally I was thrilled and giddy when my wife’s mom gave us one as a wedding gift. My wife had never seen nor used one prior to this and uses the contraption nearly every damn day. That girl loves sandwiches. We had found a way to make them a bit healthier. Not by much, it may only lessen life by 25 minutes. We use a canola oil spray on the sandwich maker prior to inserting the sandwich. You still get the flavor and the awesome volcano of cheese.

  2. DJ Kirkby Says:

    Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh….grilled cheese sandwiches! I grew up in Canada and grilled cheese sandwiches were always served with Campbell’s tomato soup. Delish. Mom made ours in the frying pan, the sarnies not the soup!

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