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posted: 1/23/2014 5:52 AM

Move over Mom: Shredded cheddar key to 'grate' grilled cheese sandwich

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  • Cheddar is the most popular cheese in America and shines on a grilled cheese sandwich.

      Cheddar is the most popular cheese in America and shines on a grilled cheese sandwich.
    Deborah Pankey | Staff Photographer

By Jerome Gabriel

I don't know anyone who does not like cheese. Pretty much everyone in my family likes cheese, and especially grilled cheese sandwiches.

Clifton Fadiman, an American author and editor, once described cheese as "milk's leap into immortality."

One of my favorite cheeses is cheddar cheese. Cheddar cheese was first made in Great Britain and it is called cheddar because of the way in which the curd is slabbed. According to the British Cheese Board, slabs of curd are piled on top of each other in a controlled way to help drain the whey. This process also stretches the curd and helps to create a firmer cheese.

Cheddar is called "sharp" when it has aged just about six months and the flavor has not mellowed. English cheddar cheese is usually aged for a year or two; some American cheddar cheese is aged for 10 years at a time.

To me what makes a grilled cheese sandwich good is the crunch of the bread and squishy texture of the melted cheeses.

I like the sandwich at the point where the cheese is melted enough that it is still somewhat bulky but still somewhat soft. Grilled cheese is one of my favorite foods hands down!

I like Cabot sharp cheddar in my grilled cheese sandwiches but really you can use any kind of cheese. I grate the cheese first because I think it melts better that way.

A word from Mom: Since Jerome has perfected grilled cheese sandwiches I haven't had to worry about him starving if I'm late getting home from work. He's even on occasion whipped one up for his younger brother.

It's not often my boys agree on something, but they both agree grilled cheese sandwiches are pretty much the perfect meal.

• Jerome Gabriel, an eighth-grader, has been helping in the kitchen since he could hold a spoon. His mom is Daily Herald Food Editor Deborah Pankey.

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