I Usually Avoid Controversy, But…

I don’t air my dirty laundry on my blog. I have aired clean laundry a couple of times, but only because Squish was sleeping in it. I don’t usually take on the Daily Post challenges, either, especially the ones that involve any kind of controversy. But I read today’s challenge, which discusses something-something, polls, something-something, divisive issues. And it got me to thinking. I wonder if a poll could save my marriage.

I know. The challenge is to discuss whether we prefer ebooks or paperbacks, but I haven’t the energy to beat a dead horse (Incidentally, polls show that 9 out of 10 people surveyed prefer hardcover books for beating a dead horse). I’ll cover this part kind of quick.

I have an e-reader, so I read both. Paper books have intrinsic resale value while e-books don’t even belong to you if they have a DRM, say something about e-books being freakishly expensive, add a little note about saving shelf space by using an e-reader, and done.

Now on to the real topic that is on my heart: my relationship with my husband.

Every once in awhile, we get blind-sided; totally taken by surprise; knocked for a complete and utter loop. Now is one of those times. We thought we had the parenting thing worked out. We agreed on the general principles, and we’ve been able to talk through almost any conflict that arises. But we missed something along the way. We never talked about grilled cheese sandwiches.

I’m teaching the Padawan to cook. Well, cook may be a bit of a stretch. I’m teaching him to feed himself. Last week he learned how to make a grilled cheese sandwich. He did a great job with minimal supervision. He let the butter melt, dropped the sandwich in and toasted over medium heat until golden brown, then did the same for the other side. Confidence soaring, he asked to make them for the family. Conflict arose.

There he was, prepping his bread and cheese like a little soldier, melting his butter in the pan just as he had been taught. He had no more than tossed the sandwich into the pan when my husband uttered the fateful words; “You’ll want to flip that over and get butter on both sides.” Confused and uncertain, my poor son followed his father’s instructions, which resulted in a sad sandwich that was rather dry and decidedly non-buttery.

Let me back up a moment. My husband is a good man, but he brought baggage into the marriage. He never learned to make grilled cheese properly. Left to his own devices as a college student, he taught himself to butter the bread before sticking it in the pan. It was cute at first, like watching a baby eat a sock, but it has since lost its charm, especially since this behavior has now impacted how we raise our offspring.

Words were said that cannot now be unsaid, mostly to the effect of “You’re doing it wrong,” and “That’s going to burn.” Feelings have been hurt. Mostly my husband’s. No one wants to be told their grilled cheese is dry. And my poor son is caught in the middle.

I need your help. Am I way off base here?

I know that I don’t usually bring controversy into my blog, and this is a heated topic. A delicious, melty, buttery, heated topic. Please keep comments kind and constructive. Make grilled cheese sandwiches for others the way you would have them make them for you. Or something like that.

79 thoughts on “I Usually Avoid Controversy, But…

  1. Your husband should be given a special ironing board and iron and leave the rest of you, who make grilled cheese sandwiches properly, alone. He can eat his soggy ones with the messy hands that result from trying to figure out how to hold a sandwich that is covered with butter.

  2. We prefer the polls from another blogger friend, we get all the obvious answers plus the final ‘you’re a sick man’ – when we can’t choose, that is the easiest option. We put our open cheese sandwiches under the grill – butter then mustard then cheese (you perhaps call a grill a broiler?). So much better for removing the skin off the top of your mouth 😉

  3. When I use butter, I know, I know, I plop it in the pan. I admit sometimes I just spray the pan with cooking spray and put the bread on it. I have high cholesterol so I don’t always use it. Am I still allowed to visit your blog?

  4. You butter one slice of bread and place it in an already hot pan, then add cheese (if you’re feeling fancy ham, too – grill the ham first to remove moisture). Once cheese has begun to melt, place second buttered slice of bread on top and flip. I’ve never had a dry grilled cheese using this method (I am ALWAYS complimented on them) and buttering the pan doesn’t make any sense to me. How do you get any butter on the second slice of bread without removing the sandwich from the pan and halting the cooking process?!

    In short: You’re wrong.

  5. I hesitate to say it, but butter both sides of the bread (how it’s lined up on the counter is critical), and then grill it slowly. The butter in the pan method just leaves someone with less butter on their bread. Buttah, it’s all in the buttah. Well, we do in fact argue over which cheese, in our house, too.

  6. I don’t use butter at all…. I know it seems crazy, but someone taught me a long time ago to use mayonnaise instead. I put mayo on both sides of the bread (both slices) and cook it in a dry frying pan. They come out toasted and moist and cheesy. You should try it, they are amazing!

  7. I *might* butter both slices of bread, but that would require having soft butter so as not to tear the bread, and that requires more forethought than I can handle for a grilled cheese.
    Also: dill pickles with the cheese. Yummmmm.

  8. I have never in my life made a grilled cheese sandwich, so I have no stance whatsoever on it (although Anthony’s grilled cheese sandwiches are fabulous, when I attempt them). Still, I enjoyed reading this, not that I celebrate strife. 🙂

  9. Okay, you’ve all voiced your very specific grilled cheese preference comments…and being a former Home Ec. teacher, I enjoyed them…however, do we all see the important sentences in this blog’s cry for help???

    “Words were said that cannot now be unsaid, mostly to the effect of ‘You’re doing it wrong,’ and ‘That’s going to burn.’ Feelings have been hurt…And my poor son is caught in the middle.”

    It’s the father/son “let-the-battle-begin” syndrome…Men and competition…need I say more! We have it at our house…our wonderful son is 22 years old and in graduate school…and still can’t please Dad’s expectations on how to drive, take care of his car, help with yard work, etc., etc., etc.!!! Soooo, he doesn’t offer anymore!! Teaching moment here, folks…the first time your kid does ANYTHING you want to encourage, there should be celebration fireworks!!! Whether you have to do it over again later, or not, is besides the point! Your kid pleased you…be happy!! And he’ll want to please you again and again!

    I’m done ranting! Ha! This was a great post!

  10. I am a butter both pieces of bread and put butter in the pan kind of guy. Another debate could be what types of bread to use. Not everyone likes to use plain old white bread. Anyone could get in a fight over what type of breads and cheeses to use in a grilled cheese sandwich.

  11. I like to leave the butter out to soften and then butter the bread — the butter gets more evenly distributed that way than it does if you melt the butter in the pan. But if you try that with cold hard butter, you tear up the bread, and it’s just awful. So for spur-of-the-moment grilled cheese sandwiches, I melt the butter in the pan.

  12. Wow. I hate to say this, but it’s not looking good for you two.

    I grew up with room temperature butter so you could easily butter the bread, but since the hubs doesn’t go for that, I’ve gone your route and melt it in the pan (do one slice, set it side, and then the next, add the cheese and put the first slice on – voila!). I’ve learned to be flexible when the result involves cheese, and I suggest the same to your husband. I mean, if he really loves you.

  13. I really never knew there was controversy. My mother taught me to butter both sides of the bread. But Mom was a depression baby and butter had to be used sparingly. People back then had teeny tiny refrigerators so butter was left on the counter. No dealing with a hard as rock square, scraping and scraping so as not to rip the bread.

    On the other hand, I melt the butter in the microwave and brush it on the bread. No scraping and ripped bread. You get even butter distribution and why use one household appliance when you can use two…lol.

    Why am I suddenly craving tomato soup. Why didn’t I read this before dinner?

  14. Even though I butter my bread first, I am not a knuckle dragger! I have a sandwich maker/grill so it cooks on both sides at the same time. This is the only way to make a GREAT grilled cheese sandwich!

  15. I must admit that I am a butter-on-both side kind of gal… sadly I had no idea there was another way. Now that I know there is a much more superior way of grilled-cheese making I cannot wait to try it! Shamed as I am (and feeling even more like I need to get out more) I am grateful for this important information!

  16. I must humbly submit that I have no friggin clue how to make a grilled cheese sandwich properly. My go-to food, to this day, is oil-popped popcorn. I would be honored to be your adviser for a future popcorn popping post.

  17. I read this yesterday and was so curious. I slapped down some butter in a pan and tried it, thinking “this will never work!” the whole time. Finally, the bread was browned to perfection, the cheese was hot and gooey and I took a bite. It was the most delicious grilled cheese I’ve ever had in my life. You’ve made me a believer.

  18. I make fantastic grilled cheese sandwiches. I’ve a friend who added “Have her make you a grilled cheese” as a tip to my house on Foursquare. My husband wouldn’t attempt cooking up a grilled cheese, so that’s not been any cause for marital quibbles. However, we’ve been through “The least you could do is make me a lunch!” and “But your sandwiches taste better!” — THAT was quite a quibble, so I relate to the heartache that comes from your disillusionment over the idea that everyone should know what to do with hot pans, bread, and cheese. Real shame, that.

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