(Benny and Joon, MGM films, 1993)
April is National Grilled Cheese Month!
Surely we all remember the movie Benny & Joon - the caring older brother, the mentally challenged little sister, and the slightly eccentric, never-more-endearing, Johnny Depp... er, I mean, Sam.
Joon has her own kitchen quirks (cereal, milk, and peanut butter in the blender, for instance) but Sam really takes the cake with his culinary, um... skills.
Perhaps one of the most memorable scenes in the film is his 'ironing board' grilled cheese.
Joon: "He can really cook, can't he?"
Benny: "Uh, yeah. Although for grilled cheese, I might have used a wool setting."
Joon: "That's what I told him!"
Benny: "Really? What did he use?"
Joon: "Rayon. Silk would have been too soggy, cotton would have..."
Benny: "Would have burned it."
Joon: "Right! Fortunately, he consulted me before giving it steam. I was four-square against it."
(I feel like Martha Stuart "here's a great tip for getting the wrinkles out of your cheese sandwich...")
Interestingly (or not), I wasn't the first to attempt to re-create this moment.
South Philly Blocks did a photo-essay documenting the effect of different ironing settings, the quantity of butter used, etc.
Their findings conclude that the best results came from using the wool setting and very little butter - but even after multiple tests they didn't come close to the perfectly-browned toasts produced by Depp in the film.
Look at that beautifully browned exterior!
In my own experimenting, I discovered that not even wool was hot enough to do the deed, and I cranked my iron to the max. This made decently golden grilled cheese, but still the finished product was a little limp and soggy.
I'm certain, however, that they did not bother going to great lengths to make perfect grilled cheese in the movie. I suspect that the style of iron (the older, and heaver, the better), to what temperature it heats at different settings, and what type of bread you use, will have the biggest effect.
My only advice would be to clean your iron thoroughly before attempting any of this, and lay some alluminum foil or the like beneath your fabric, to protect your board. And of course - I'm four-square against giving it steam!
Stay tuned, for when I take on Sam's 'Tennis Racket Mashed Potatoes'!
In other news... I've been nominated for The Versatile Blogger Award! What is it, you ask? It's a great honor, that's what!
The Versatile Blogger is an award given from bloggers, to bloggers, to share their favorite reads, and introduce others to new and interesting sites they may not have otherwise known about.
Three incredible bloggers each selected me for this award - Jen (jcocina.com), Elizabeth (EatingLocalintheLou.blogspot.com), and Carmen (carmenskitchen.blogspot.com). Thank you all, your nominations mean so much to me!
The rules for accepting the award are as follows:
1. Thank those who nominated you (thank you!)
2. Share 7 things about yourself your readers don't already know
3. Select 5, 10, or 15 bloggers or blogs you recently discovered, or are a long-time follower of, to pass the award to
4. Comment on the chosen blogs to inform them of their nomination
7 (very random) things you might not know:
- I am a Pisces.
- I am highly skeptical of any importance associated with astrological signs.
- I love to sing.
- I can hardly carry a tune.
- As a child, I used to sleep walk/talk, and otherwise function as though I were awake. This often confused those around me, who weren't aware I was sleeping.
- Also (surely to the dismay of my mother) I was a climber. At the age of four or five, I once awoke curled in the bathroom sink. A pedestal sink to which I had to stand on my tip-toes even to turn the faucet on... how I got into the sink, in my sleep, I will never know.
- One of my favorite past-times is putting marshmallow peeps in the microwave and watching them grow - bigger, bigger - until you think they might explode!... and then deflate. I'm sure I have some sort of brain damage from all of the micro-radiation. (Can you tell?)
And the nominees are...
- Heather, of Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes - I don't know when I first started following Heather, but seeing how much we have in common it's no wonder we've become blogging buddies. Not only are her recipes original and delicious, they're all entirely vegan!
- Linda, over at Call Me A Cupcake - I stumbled upon Linda's blog only recently, and her photos captured my heart. She's become such an inspiration to me, and I cannot get enough of her amazing style.
- Beth at Sweet Freedom - another recent find, Beth's beautiful blog offers healthful and tasty all in one.
- The Local Kitchen Blog - specializing in using local ingredients, and why local is better. Definitely something I try to support!
- Kat, from Gooseberry Mooseberry - definitely one of my favorite reads, Kat's writing is delightful and informative. Her recipes are always enticing, and did I mention her photos? Divine!