Beaten By a Grilled Cheese


There comes a time in every mother’s life when she has to admit she’s not the best.
Have heart mom. It could be worse.
Because while my daughter has given a piece of her to another, it’s only the stomach that has betrayed me.
And as yet in only one area.
Oh, grilled cheese, what did I ever do to you? I made you buttery and warm. With the requested fromage of the day – even the processed product known as American cheese that is really just white slabs of chemical injected milk. Yes, I made sure it was the white stuff. And the gooier the better. I have standards, dear hot sandwich.
And if cheddar was the order of the day? I positively pranced as I topped it off with generous slices of meaty tomato, lovingly flipped it in the pan.
If you aren’t yet drooling, turn the page. There’s no hope for you.
As for the rest of you, the people with taste, I warn you life may never be the same.
The best grilled cheese comes not from my kitchen.
It comes from Al’s.
Technically CJ’s Deli, owned by Al Feller in Youngsville and known to my 5-year-old affectionately at Al’s.
They may have won her heart with a bucket of golf balls that once sat behind the counter, ripe for her picking.
Or perhaps that’s simply the wishful thinking of a mother who has lost her grilled cheese queen crown to two men in aprons and shorts (even in mid-winter that kitchen is hot) with a giant slab of processed product and an even bigger griddle.
Saturday brought the coup de gras. We were in for breakfast. And she wanted a grilled cheese.
At 7:45 a.m.
What could I do?
I ordered one too.
But I drew the line at the bag of chips on the side.
And I ate.
And it was good.
Good of the type that brought me back to my standard childhood order at every diner, rest stop and restaurant from here to Cape Cod, Mass. – grilled cheese, orange soda and fries.
Except this was my first ever grilled cheese, so I skipped the fries and replaced the orange soda with my morning caffeine injection.
And did I mention it was good?
Good of the type that a mother can love: made lovingly . . . without a hint of effort on my part. No buttering the bread. No slicing the cheese.
Just biting into gooey goodness.
Perhaps she’s on to something after all.

Image via chefdruck/Flickr

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