I sat down at the kitchen table with a glass of Pinot Grigio and Saturday’s paper, even though it was now Monday. My dog assumed his position, underneath the right corner of the table with giant, hopeful eyes. He is waiting for the dreamy day when everything on my plate slides to the floor just in front of him. The pool of saliva around his nose could be a wading pool for any small insect.
The wine is reliably good, it is all the things the label says it should be: crisp, fruit-driven, tropical fruit notes. It’s my “bachelor night” as my partner is at her Punjabi class until 9:30. Once a week, on Monday’s, I generally choose to eat the things she doesn’t like to: calzones (“too bready”), tofu with stir-fry snow peas and bok choy (“no meat”), perogies (“high-carb”), and grilled cheese sandwiches (“cheese is full of fat”).
I’m disappointed in myself though. I look at my grilled cheese sandwich in dismay, this is so not my mother’s grilled cheese. I sprayed the T-fal with Pam to avoid using butter on the bread, and the bread isn’t even bread really, it’s some flour-less loaf we buy at Costco made out of sprouted grains. The cheese is jalapeno havarti, and I’ve sliced it as thin as a piece of paper. I had to throw in some spinach (to create a nutritionally sound meal) and there are a few banana pepper rings on it too. Of course, grilled cheese sandwiches marry well with Campbell’s tomato soup, so I have a steaming Ikea bowl of it on the side. My mom would have added a pad of butter to the soup, and made it with cream, just because it tastes better.
Mom would have put a generous pad of butter in the T-fal and buttered the bread (real, white bread, not made from some sprout family) with thick swipes. Yes, I remember her grilled sandwiches well, each bite caused you to lick your slick, buttery fingers. The cheese was as thick as half a deck of playing cards, sometimes it was Cracker Barrel cheddar, sometimes it was whatever 900 gram block of cheese that was on sale. We weren’t fussy, in fact, earlier years left us chanting for Kraft cheese slices, sometimes two per sandwich.
I want ketchup with my no-flour bread, almost no-cheese grilled cheese sandwich, but it feels wrong. I try some organic pineapple salsa with it, but it seems like I’m trying too hard. The grigio is lovely and all, but I would kill for a tall glass of cherry Kool-aid, with extra sugar, like Mom made. Kool-aid stained your face, teeth and tongue for hours, but none of us cared because we were all bright pink-lipped. Besides, the hummingbirds seemed to like it in their feeders too.
I miss the days where you simply ate. There was no fat to fret about, no cholesterol, no calories. As a teen you could eat Oreo’s and drink Coke for breakfast, without regret. I think my friend Bob and I ate cafeteria fries with gravy and mayonnaise everyday of highschool for five years. Why am I being so rigid now?
The dog sighs with me. Next time I’m having a grilled cheese sandwich like mom would make. If there weren’t so many provinces between us, I would call her up and say I was dropping in for lunch. She’d want to make something fancy, but I would insist on just the bare necessities: white bread, cheddar cheese, butter and ketchup. Wine? Well, okay. But that’s where the fanciness ends.