Fresh out of the oven, my mom would place the hot sheet of sandwiches on the table. All six of us kids had placed our orders earlier. Some wanted parsley and cheese, some wanted tomatoes and cheese, but for me, just butter and cheese.
During the chaotic half-heard conversations around the table, I would watch my mom quietly use her fork and knife to cut her hot sandwich, one little square at a time.
My mom ate different than my friends’ moms. She had her fork in her left hand, her knife in the right, and she would eat with her left hand. It did look very proper and posh but at my young age, I just didn’t understand. Why didn’t she just cut the whole sandwich into squares so she could just eat with her right hand? Why use cutlery? Us kids just ate with our hands.
At a friend’s house one day, her mom made us grilled cheese sandwiches. The sandwich in front of me looked nothing like my mom’s. It had two pieces of bread with the cheese melted in the middle. The cheese was soft and gooey. The bread was buttery. It was very good. And they ate with their hands.
Growing up in America with a Swedish mom, I noticed these small differences. The normal for my family vs the normal for my friends. As I’ve grown older, I appreciate and understand her better.
I love my mom’s grilled cheese sandwiches. If I am the one cooking, I will make them her way. And just like her, I now eat them with tomatoes and parsley, baked in the oven. If my husband is cooking, he makes them the American way. Buttered bread in the pan with gooey cheese in the middle. And just like her, I eat with a fork in my left hand and a knife in my right.
I miss my mom. We moved across the world a few months ago and the distance is sharpening my memory with details. How she does things. Normal everyday things. Mom things. I don’t want to just remember these things, I want to share them. Here is the recipe:
Grilled Cheese Sandwich aka Bruschetta
Butter mixture: 1/2 stick butter or 100grams butter, sprinkle in some basil and oregano, splash in some malt/light malt or balsamic vinegar, pour in some olive oil, and 1-2 cloves of fresh minced garlic.
1. Butter your sliced bread (white bread, baguette, bagels) with above mixture.
2. Top with sliced tomatoes. Salad, plum, or grape tomatoes are all great.
3. Sprinkle dried parsley next.
4. Top with sharp cheddar sliced or shredded cheese.
Bake 200C/400F for about ten minutes or until cheese is melted and slightly browned.