Some people are very passionate about the names they give their sandwiches. While I called this sandwich a Ham and Cheese Melt, some might call it a Grilled Cheese with Ham and Pickles. But they might find themselves on the business end of an earful about sandwich names. You see, there are Grilled Cheese Purists out there who insist that a grilled cheese must consist of nothing more than bread, butter, and cheese. As soon as you add more ingredients, they say, the sandwich is no longer a grilled cheese—it becomes a melt. On the other hand, others insist that as long as it is a cheesy sandwich fried in a pan, it remains a grilled cheese. It’s simply an enhanced grilled cheese. If I add a spoiler to my station wagon, they argue, does it cease to be a station wagon? If I put clothes on my baby, they say, does it cease to be a baby? What if that baby grows into a teenager, is it still not a baby? It’s best not to get involved in these arguments. Instead, before serving a grilled cheese or melt, ask everyone in the room what they prefer to call it. Anyone who cares what it’s called doesn’t get a sandwich.
- 1 tablespoon salted butter, softened
- 2 slices bread
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 slices smoked ham
- 1 medium dill pickle, thinly sliced lengthwise
- 2 teaspoons honey mustard
- Preheat a medium skillet over medium heat. Butter each slice of bread on one side and place one slice butter side down in the pan, then sprinkle on half the cheddar. Lay the ham on top of that, then sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top of that.
- Add the second piece of bread, butter side up, cover, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the bottom slice is golden brown, then flip the sandwich, replace the cover, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more, until the second side is golden brown.
- Remove the sandwich from the pan, slide a fork between the 2 slices of ham, and lift up the top. Add a layer of dill pickles, spread honey mustard on the top side, then put the sandwich back together.
- Cut the sandwich in half and eat it using the hole that’s in your face. The one above your chin. Not the ones above your mouth.
Did you know that some people spread mayonnaise on the outside of the bread when pan-frying a sandwich instead of butter? Resist the impulse to judge, consider that they might know something you don’t, and then allow the disdainful feelings to wash over you like a haughty baptismal ceremony. The mayonnaise adds a tangy flavor and produces beautiful golden crustitude. That’s on account of the ingredient “tang” that is in all mayonnaises. Using butter adds a buttery flavor. That’s because of the butter. Maybe you should give the mayonnaise a try. Or maybe you’d prefer to never evolve and spend the rest of your life barely living in your small, small world.