Meditations on a Grilled Cheese Sandwich (with a recipe for Winter White Martinis)

I already ate the grilled cheese.

Sometimes you just need a grilled cheese sandwich.   You have a hunger in the pit of your stomach and you’re stressed out.  A grilled cheese sandwich is comfortably warm and creamy while also offering a most satisfying crunch.  (Crunch is important for releasing stress and anger.)

So you get it into your head that your hunger will only be satisfied by grilled cheese.  Not tuna.  Not peanut butter.  Not roasted veggies on ciabatta bread. Grilled cheese.   And you want it now.  You are so hungry you can feel your blood sugar dropping.

You know you have cheese slices because you just bought a package three days ago.  So you get out two slices of bread, observe that the butter is already soft, and open the fridge to get the cheese.

You pull out the orange square.  (This being a household that does not buy them individually wrapped.)  You attempt to peel off a slice.  You can’t find a “line” defining the slices.  You turn the block of cheese around looking for a place to peel off a slice and realize that there are no lines.  There are no slices.

Who left the cheese slices out to melt into one solid blob?

Oh, wait.  This isn’t the block of cheese slices.  This is just a block of cheddar cheese.  So you return to the fridge to get out the cheese slices.   Except that there aren’t any. No slices.  Nowhere.  Gone.  Disappeared.  Devoured by someone else!

But you must have a grilled cheese sandwich!  Nothing else will do!  Well, there is a block of cheddar.  You’ll just have to use half a muscle and slice it yourself.  So you do.  And, after an unnecessary amount of emotional angst, you enjoy an immensely satisfying creamy, crunchy sandwich.

This grilled cheese sandwich, dear readers, is a metaphor.  Oh, it was a real sandwich, but the experience of making it was paralleling my week with health insurance benefits.  When you are ten days away from a particular surgery at a particular in-network hospital with a particular in-network doctor and your insurance company says that the procedure is not in-network–well, that can get you really upset.  But they are fine with your in-network doctor providing the same procedure at a different hospital.

So you talk yourself into believing that is is just a question of making your sandwich with pre-sliced cheese or slicing it yourself.   Even though you really, really prefer pre-sliced cheese, you try really hard to adjust your attitude to accept that the other way will still result in the same positive outcome.

Ah…but then the surgical coordinator says that Hospital B won’t give your doctor a slot for your surgery.  And then the insurance company says, “Oh, you can have your surgery at Hospital A, but for out-of-network costs.”

This is like saying you can have your pre-sliced cheese but you will pay ten times as much for the experience.  This is where you start slashing your vacation and other planned expenses.  You call the insurance company to find out how expensive this could be and they tell you, “Oh, we decided that you can have it done in-network after all.”  In other words, “you can have your pre-sliced cheese and eat it, too.”

And that, dear readers, is why I needed a grilled cheese sandwich in the first place.  And a chocolate mint truffle to go with it.  To be followed this evening with a Winter White martini.  And then a good long soak in the tub with Lavendar Bath Bubbles.

If there is no Mondays at Maywood posting next week, it will be because I am at Hospital A with my in-network doctor getting my preferred procedure the way I want it.

In the meantime, you might join me in a Winter White Martini.  This drink was introduced to me by my sister-in-law Kathe, who first loved it at Bonefish Restaurant.  She made some tweaks (freezing it) and I made some tweaks (flavor) and here you go.

Winter White Martini

For one:

  • 2 shots of white cranberry juice (white cranberry-peach is ok, too)
  • 1 shot of cranberry or pomegrante vodka
  • a splash of triple sec
  • a couple of fresh whole cranberries or pomegranate pearls for garnish
  • Directions:  shake over ice and pour into martini glass.  Serve over ice.

For a crowd or to have on hand for health insurance claim emergencies:

Make  this in a half-empty cranberry juice bottle

  • fill (or empty, as the case may be!) the bottle to the almost half-way mark with white cranberry juice
  • add the vodka to the 3/4 mark
  • add some triple sec, leaving room at the top of the bottle for freezing
  • Directions:  combine the ingredients in the bottle, shake, and store in the freezer until it is slushy.  When completely frozen, it will have a texture like a granita.  Scoop into martini glasses and garnish with the cranberry or pomegranate pearls.  This is quite delightful sipped in front of a roaring fire.