The Wonders of Cheese Toast
After reading Alex Witchel’s “ode to wonderbread” called “A Soft Spot for the Anti-Artisanal” in this morning’s New York Times, I got to thinking about my own love affair with the soft, white, all-pupose sandwich bread which I have long abandoned.
Growing up in my house, the perfect snack was something my mother creatively named, Cheese Toast. This delicacy was a slice of white Wonder-like sandwich bread, (although I think my mom bought Stroehman’s more often) topped with a single slice of munster cheese, with it’s distinctive orange edges. The cheese topped bread is melted in the broiler or toaster oven until the cheese bubbled all over and the bread was slightly toasted around the edges. Cheese Toast was the perfect quick, simple, inexpensive, tasty breakfast, lunch or even late night snack.
We sometimes jazzed it up topping the cheese with a slice of tomato or grilled bologna and even used different kinds of cheese, although Munster does the best bubbling. The one cheese that really does not work is processed American. Upon melting, the cheese never really bubbles and develops a scary film that sticks to the roof of your mouth.
I have continued to make Cheese Toast throughout my adult life having graduated to using fresh baked sourdough, rye and whole grain breads. Bagels work too, although you have to orchestrate the cheese into a perfect circle on top of the bagel half so the melted cheese does not run down the sides into the pit of the toaster oven and start a fire – a warning my mother constantly gave.
Over breakfast with my eldest brother last week, we talked about our memories of Cheese Toast and how we have both continued the family tradition. Who knows why but even today when we visit my mother, she still bellows up the stairs, Does anyone want a Cheese Toast for breakfast?” The answer is always yes.
Recipe for Cheese Toast
Slice of white, jewish rye, sourdough or whole wheat bread
Thinly sliced cheese – munster, provolone, mozzarella or cheddar
Top bread slice with cheese. Make sure the entire slice is covered.
Broiler or toast until cheese bubbles for 5-10 seconds.