No matter how sophisticated our palates and food choices become, sometimes the appetite can only be satisfied with something traditional, comforting and from a recipe that has been around for centuries. These recipes might be as simple as a couple of ingredients, like boiled egg and soldiers or as complicated as a game pie. One of the classic British snacks is cheese on toast.
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Cheese on toast fits the bill for so many occasions. It can make for a more substantial breakfast then just toast, it makes for a quick hearty lunch for kids and adults alike, and it’s easy to throw together after a long day at work when you open the fridge and feel either uninspired to cook, or simply are too tired.
It’s not overly healthy because of the high fat content of the cheese (and butter if you spread the toast), but it is nutritious. Cheese provides protein and the bread, the carbohydrates, making it doubly attractive as a meal – quick and filling.
Since most of us have moved to separate hobs and ovens, it is not as easy to make cheese on toast as it was when we had eye level grills. Today, most kitchens have a toaster, and the grill function of our single ovens can be somewhat lacking. The elements seem to be too far away from the grill pan to make good toast. This means making cheese on toast may, for some of us, no longer be a single machine operation. You have to first put the bread in the toaster, taking care not to over brown it, then put the cheese on and transfer it the oven to melt the cheese.
A toaster is a great convenience for making toast but you certainly can’t put any cheese in there. You can buy those clever toasting bags with which you can make a toasted cheese sandwich, but that is exactly what you get, a sandwich, and not cheese on toast.
One of the great debates of making cheese on toast is whether your cheese should be sliced or grated. This is purely a matter of taste. For speed – mainly in the area of cleaning up, slicing is easier. Bits of cheese do not fall off the edge of the bread, nor do you have to wash up a grater.
The other question is Worcestershire sauce or not Worcestershire sauce. Some will swear that cheese on toast is just not the same without a dash of this savoury condiment. Again, it’s all down to taste.