In defense of the cheese sandwich

10 May

I have mentioned several times that I am not a big sandwich person. I’d much rather eat soup or a salad than a sandwich. There are, however, some exceptions. I will eat an ALT (avocado, lettuce and tomato), a Bobbie, and a cheese sandwich.

I absolutely adore cheese sandwiches. I’m fairly certain it stems from my childhood. As a kid, when I couldn’t sleep, my dad would take me into the kitchen and feed me a cheese sandwich while I sat on the counter (as a side note, I still sit on counters whenever possible). So for me, cheese sandwiches are the ultimate comfort food. But there’s so much more to my love affair with the cheese sandwich.

To me, the cheese sandwich is the best kind of sandwich. It’s versatile and delicious. I love all kinds of cheese so I will combine them together on a bread or a roll for a super-sandwich. I love that cheese easily pairs with hummus or mayo and lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, avocados and a variety of other vegetables. It’s a sandwich that is equally good hot or cold. I love it so much that if you ask my husband what the first food I ordered when we went to eat for the first time, he’ll tell you it was grilled cheese (he would be right).

I’m aware that not everyone feels this way. My husband hates cheese sandwiches. He feels that having to eat one is akin to cruel and unusual punishment. He hates them so much, in fact, that he refuses to make them for our daughter (fortunately, this works out well for him as the only sandwich she will eat is pb & j). Sadly, he’s not alone in his thinking.

I recently read an article on Yahoo! Shine where a 2-year-old British boy’s cheese sandwich was taken away from him for not being “healthy” enough; it did not have lettuce or tomato. In early 2009, some school districts were using cheese sandwiches as “punishment” for kids whose parents were delinquent in paying their school lunch bill. These types of actions are giving the cheese sandwich a bad rap. Just as it’s wrong to use food to punish a kid, it’s just as wrong to blame the food.

Believe me, I’m aware that there are much healthier choices than a cheese sandwich. But cheese sandwiches are not in bed with the obesity gods; it takes a lot more than the occasional cheese sandwich to make someone fat. Even if someone, especially a kid, eats a cheese sandwich every day, he’s not destined for a life of cellulite and high cholesterol. While some cheese sandwiches might lead to that, a standard cheese sandwich, paired with a fruit, some carrot sticks or celery sticks and either a cookie or some pretzels is a pretty complete and healthy meal.

So, please, let’s stop using cheese sandwiches as a pawn in the “healthy or not” debate. It’s just a sandwich. A delicious, comforting, inexpensive, wonderful sandwich. Can’t we go after something else? Like Lunchables

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4 Responses to “In defense of the cheese sandwich”

  1. Alyssa May 11, 2010 at 9:24 am #

    To me, a grilled cheese is like chocolate milk and mac and cheese with hot dogs. Sure they’re not exactly “healthy” but these are the foods of childhood. Everything in moderation. We don’t all have to be 100% healthy eaters all the time. I’d much rather have a kid eat a grilled cheese than another chicken nugget/french fry combo.

  2. Sarah May 11, 2010 at 1:28 pm #

    This post came in perfect timing. My friend recently told me that he feels he can never eat grilled cheese sandwiches again, because he would eat them for an entire week straight while living on a tight budget in college. He also told me that he was using store-brand overly processed cheese. This reminded me of when I studied in France, and how my friends and I used to spend our lunches buying bread and cheese from a farmer’s market near a park, sit outside and enjoy REAL cheese on freshly baked bread for the same amount of money my friend was spending on mass-produced white bread and “cheese.”

    I find it ironic that the more preservatives pumped into our food, the cheaper it is in America.

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