4 • April 2018 • UPBEAT TIMES, INC.

Redwing, MN. ~ Bread wheat capable of making large, light loaves, had developed by 8000 B.C. The evolution of cheese probably began around

5,000 year ago in the Middle

East. The earliest evidence

of cheesemaking was found in an ancient Egyptian pot, dating from around 2300 B.C. Food historians generally agree that cooked bread and cheese combinations were an- cient foods known across most cultures and continents. The Romans created

recipes for

cheese melted on top of bread, and similar recipes are men- tioned in their ancient texts. Serving delicate finger foods


between two slices of bread is a culinary practice of ancient origins among the Greeks and other

Mediterranean people.

Grilled pita breads, small cana- pes and sandwiches have been served by the Greeks and Turks at their “me- zes” for centuries. The 4th Earl of Sand- wich, John Montagu, certainly noticed those portable snacks during his excursions eastern

in the Mediterranean.

His chef created a one handed hasty meal for the

Earl during a early morning card game. This soon became the food consumed by the masculine

sex during

late night drinking par- ties in the mid-eighteenth cen- tury.

Literary references to the “sandwich” begin to appear in England during the 1760’s.

from left-overs. By the 1830’s, the typical sandwich served in Great Britain contained roast beef while the preference in America was for ham. Sand-

Eat Well & Prosper by Executive Chef Ron Skaar ~ During the

nineteenth cen-

tury, mid-day meals began to be served later and later in the day. The need for a hot sup- per began to be replaced with lighter

dishes, usually made

wiches became the standard fare sold across the country at railroad depots. In response to the temperance movement, taverns and salons began to of- fer free sandwiches with drinks to attract customers. The grilled cheese sandwich is a more modern


Around 1902 James Kraft was pushed out of a business part- nership in Chicago. With the little cash he had left he bought a mule, a wagon and some cheese to ped- dle to local grocers and restaurants. He realized that his big- gest obstacle was the lack of refrigeration

in most establishments. The cheeses needed to be used with in a day of cutting, or would spoil. In 1915 Kraft invented a way to manufacture a blended, pasteurized product he called “processed cheese”.


cheese could be shipped across the country without spoilage. During World War I, the United States Army purchased six mil- lion pounds of Kraft’s cheese. Early grilled cheese sandwich- es were made by mixing grated cheese with a binder such as salad dressing, mayo, mustard or a white sauce. The “cheese dream” was an grilled

opened faced cheese

sandwich which became popu- lar during the Great Depres- sion. A second piece of bread was added to make the sand- wich more substantial. Dur- ing World War II, navy cooks prepared countless toasted cheese sandwiches for hungry naval seamen. Today, more than half the cheese produced in the United States goes into making processed cheese. Just an ounce (an average slice) of cheese contains more fat than a serving of ice cream! Might as well go for the Gruyere, Muen- ster or white Cheddar cheese to make your

toasted sandwich.

And, April 12th is our national day to celebrate this American classic.

4 • April 2018 • UPBEAT TIMES, INC. “Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.” ~ George Orwell

EW & P Recipe April 2018

Ham Rarebit Toasts with Dill Pickle Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil 3 tablespoons butter, softened

2 tablespoons grainy mustard

1 ciabatta or baguette 8 oz shaved ham

4 oz sharp (tasty) cheese, thinly sliced

Freshly ground pepper to taste

8 small dill pickles, cut into quarters or 32 cornichons


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine oil, butter and mus- tard in a small bowl. Using a serrated knife, cut bread slices 1/2 inch thick-if using ciabatta, cut bread into quar- ters. Brush one side of bread with

butter mixture. Place

on parchment-lined baking sheets, buttered side up. Bake until golden and crisp, 5-8 minutes.

Preheat boiler (grill). Place a little ham on each toast slice, then top with a slice of cheese. Place under broiler until cheese melts. To serve, grind a little pepper on top, and add pickle. ~ Makes 32.

Now, the grilled cheese sand- wich has become gourmand, with myriad savory combi- nations toasted in an assort- ment of breads. The Croque Monsieur, Panini, Quesadilla and Welsh Rarebit are cultural cousins of our grilled cheese. I leave you with a variation of the later.

Chef Ron

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