How to Make the Perfect Grilled Cheese

I originally published this on my Medium account on August 25, 2013
A grilled cheese sitting on a plate.

Grilled cheese sandwich, courtesy cohdra/Morguefile

Mention grilled cheese and most Americans would conjure up some memory of a warm, comforting creation made from layering the simple ingredients of bread and cheese. Perhaps something fancier, folding in caramelized onions, a variety of cheeses, sun-dried tomatoes for a dash of umami, or that flavor enhancer of the seemingly-endless moment — bacon. All these paths converge in a similar place, where glistening, laden crumbs on the edge of the bread, toasted golden for some, and on the edge of charred for others, with a gooey meld of cheese inside, occasionally threatening a slow escape into the buttery gates.

Last week, I took the remains of some two-year aged cheddar and cut the piece in half. My appetite demanded something tinged with nostalgia, and I had eaten most of the cheese by then, since I cannot easily avoid the words “aged cheddar”. I chopped the rather crumbly cheese up into bits and put it between bread, buttered my hot pan, and let it brown. Aged cheddar is on the drier side, so it does not melt as easily. The languid browning is worth the anticipation.

I placed the finished sandwich on my plate, picked it up, and took a bite.

Yet, something felt off. One thing in my otherwise careful setup that I did not do was cut the sandwich. I always cut my grilled cheese sandwiches into triangular quarters, because that’s what my grandmother always did. My maternal grandmother, who passed away just shy of three weeks before my 16th birthday, has been gone some time now, but every time I make a grilled cheese sandwich, her influence is always there.

When I sat there eating my grilled cheese, it felt wrong, but I ate it anyway. The sandwich itself tasted delicious, with the cheddar indeed worth the wait for it to melt. Yet breaking with tradition soured it on another level.

The next day, I made another grilled cheese sandwich with the last of the cheddar. This time I made it better, slightly less brown on one side, and of course, cut it into quarters. This time it tasted right.

Do you have any food traditions you’ve kept? Something passed down as habit from your family?










The result of Windows Speech Recognition listening to a recording of me brainstorming an article

This amused me, so I’ve decided to share. It’s only about a minute or two of the speech recognition failing to understand what it was hearing, but I assure anyone reading that my brainstorming sessions do not sound this jumbled!

In little bit of a turret that when the terminology out who control are a very intimate with that literally grew a little ahead a little cute little or jelly that looked like it and the even though you are a lot of Oregon and you’re paying attention. Your Dr. and you’ll hear a lock the players either you’re a little that whole page order you kill it will hire no linkage and 5:00 or your hard or on-hit you and your go either in a hotly hurt you have a little bit like to call in your watch that you will get you the required you to call road and there are for the little M little terminology are the

Welcome 2010!

Happy New Year, and welcome to the overhauled and relaunched blog. There’s still some dust that needs to be settled, but that will come together soon. I had to delay for about a month since December was a productive month, and I planted some seeds that I anticipate will bring a nice harvest in 2010 to work with for me. fingers crossed, of course.

Just a couple of quick items of note:

I recently made my debut as a contributor to with a look at recent developments in Final Fantasy XI.


Happy New Year!

There’s still some dust that needs to be settled, but that will come together soon. I had to delay for about a month since December was a productive month, and I planted some seeds that I anticipate will bring a nice harvest this year to work with for me. Fingers crossed, of course.

A quick item of note:

I recently made my debut as a contributor to with a look at recent developments in Final Fantasy XI.


My latest piece for The Escapist is up. I was happy to see
that it got the lead spot on the homepage for the week. I don’t know how that
decision is made, but it was certainly nice to see. This piece was a bit
personal, sprung out of a little reflection last summer about Silent Hill 4. I
decided to do some further reading on Hispanic female video game characters
only to discover that no one had written it yet.


I read an editorial over the summer by author Steven Saylor,
whose Roma Sub Rosa series I read in its entirety last year, where he
said something along the lines of: writers are always advised to write what
they know, but a writer should write the story he or she would like to read.
This was in reference to fiction, but it’s definitely equally applicable to
nonfiction. So I saw an opportunity and ran with it.


In other news, I joined Twitter a while back and I’m finally
starting to use it a little bit. At first, all I had was Greg Grunberg on my
follow list, but now I’ve added some other interesting people. What an
amazingly trivial concept, yet such an addictive site. I must say that LeVar
Burton has one of the coolest tattoos I’ve ever seen. It’s an ambigram of his
first name and “Kunta”, a tribute, of course, to his Roots role. Dan Brown may
have brought ambigrams into the popular conscious, but LeVar’s tattoo made them


Finally, the Times Square Virgin Megastore is set to close
in April
. I haven’t bought a CD there in a while, but that store holds so many
memories for me. I went there very frequently as a teen, attended signings,
in-store concerts, and sometimes just considered it a throbbing, lively, oasis
where I could drop in to listen to some of my favorite new songs and wander
around what seemed to me quite the cool location.


The prices were sometimes a tad high, but sale time was the
best. Lots of gems to be had. Apparently, a six-million dollar annual profit
isn’t enough for the chain’s new owners. The location is set to house a Century
21 discount designer clothing shop. I recall Century 21 liked to advertise
itself as “NY’s best kept secret”. Hard to live up to that when you’re taking a
prime Times Square area location. No matter. If it hadn’t been C21, it would’ve
been another client willing to fork over the cash.


Even for this native kid, this store was a destination. Say
what you will about big box type places, but this one going is a loss. I loved
how the jazz and vocal section was so quiet, even though the rest of the store
had loud, pumping music throughout. The last time I was there was for Christmas
shopping last year, and it was still the same chaotic, bright place. And I’m
sure it will remain so until April.

The Cupcake Loophole

I haven't blogged in a while because I've been busy with a few things, but I always come back to writing.

Made these for my boyfriend's birthday last month:

Yes, they're cupcakes made to look like 1up
mushrooms from Mario games. I borrowed the idea from a shirt over at ThinkGeek. I figured 1up suited a birthday. My boyfriend told me he wanted to keep it low key, and didn't want a big cake (which I've made for him before), so I considered cupcakes a loophole. Luckily, he found the whole thing cute and liked them.

Truth is, I'd planned them a couple of weeks earlier, and I was very happy with the way they came out. I didn't do a practice run, and nor had I ever made this recipe before, but everything was amazingly good. They all disappeared in less than a day!

The recipe for these cupcakes is here. I have a standing request from my boyfriend's mother to make her some now. She asked him to ask me for them after she tried mine. It's cute. I plan to make some, probably this week, and decorate them with little yellow flowers. Something springlike awaits.

Otherwise, not much notable has happened. Been reading and writing a lot lately. Both for fun and professional reasons. Looked into the possibility of going to J-School. Trying to get more of my writing out there as well as nurse a business idea I've been hatching lately.

Game Bits

I was at Toys 'R' Us today and got to see Guitar Hero III played for the first time. A little girl was testing it out as I was making my way through the aisles. Whoever narrates the tutorial for that game sounds a lot like the Ghost Host from The Haunted Mansion at Disney World.

My piece on accessibility in gaming came out last week and my new piece on virtual item sales at Neopets went up this week over at The Escapist.

As a result of deciding to do some last-minute shopping today, I missed the latest Xfire Debate Club chat. I caught the very last minute of it, and it seemed like I missed out on something fun. Guess I'll see everyone at TTHS in the new year.

This article by Mike Sylvester, "10 Things I Hate About Wii", over at Wii Fanboy makes some really spot-on points. Highlights include complaints about how Nintendo holds back its own franchises and often delays anticipated first-party titles, as well as touching on the system's clunky online multiplayer system.

A few thoughts before bed

Real life has intervened again. My boyfriend has been pretty sick and my paternal grandparents have been up to visit along with other family I haven't seen in several years. I've been very stressed out lately.

I'm also suffering from writer's block right before a deadline. I know I have it in me to finish writing this article, but for some reason, the ability isn't translating to type on the page. I still have a few days, but I really wanted to have a workable draft by this past Wednesday. It's not procrastination; it's a sense of emptiness, as if I didn't have something substantial when I know that I do. I think it's just the combination of anxiety over this project and general life stress of late.

I did manage to read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows between Tuesday and Wednesday. I tried to read it a bit more slowly, but I couldn't help myself. A very satisfying conclusion, with a couple of loose ends, but overall, nicely done. It's simply over, and that feels a bit funny. I had the same experience with another seven-book series: The Dark Tower by Stephen King. I read the first four books in both series very quickly and pretty much all at once, then read each of the final three pretty much immediately after release.

Now, I just need a book recommendation.

To anyone that's left me a comment or a message in the last 6 weeks: I haven't forgotten you. It's been sort of oddly stressful and one of those moments when the things one intends to do far outnumber actual things accomplished within a decent timeframe.


I haven't written anything here in a while, and that's basically due to life happening. At the time of my last entry, I was amidst the graduate school application process and saw the opportunity to wax nostalgic about my favorite movie as a method of release. I'm disappointed that the application process did not go as planned, due to one of the professors whose recommendation I required being on sabbatical this year. I tried to contact professors back at the end of November, hoping to get their letters by the February 1st deadline. One of them was out of the country and didn't get to my email until the third week in January. By that time, I'd sent an email, written and delivered a note, and set up an appointment immediately at the start of the spring semester.

However, the other professor never responded. In spite of her autoresponse claiming that she will check in and respond eventually, months (and a second email later), she hasn't. I sent the second email due to one program having a due date for application of April 1st and the hope that if two months wasn't enough time to respond, perhaps four months would be. Unfortunately, she hasn't written back, and I won't be able to get anything submitted. I'm trying to take it positively, though the graduate school process took up a big chunk of time starting last fall, and drove me absolutely nuts with stress. I'm disappointed, but all I can do is just take the next year to strengthen my candidacy and hopefully I will have more success.

Last month, my grandfather passed away after almost five years fighting lung cancer. It's still really weird not having him downstairs, not joking with my mom about the television he left blaring so loudly we could hear it up here because his hearing aid had slipped behind his bed, not seeing him smile and crack a joke. It was pretty obvious that my grandfather felt that he wouldn't make it long, and he was in a lot of pain. He gathered everyone in his room one by one last Christmas. Over the last year, he told all sorts of stories, especially when I'd come see him. And we got to have dinner together one night, just the two of us – something that I can't even remember if ever happened before. We've eaten lunch together before, but this was dinner and a good conversation. There is a project I may be taking on soon that involves electronics
and soldering –and he would have been able to advise me,
having done electrician work for a time, and later around the house.

I miss him.

Yesterday, I colored my hair. I only used a temporary color, so my hair isn't dramatic or lighter, it's just slightly redder, which softens the darkness of my deep brown hair and makes my natural red highlights stand out more. I don't like using anything too harsh on my hair, but experimenting is fun sometimes.

I've also been doing a lot of work on my website. It's nowhere near done, and the template restrictions are a bit annoying, but I'm going to work with OfficeLive for now, until I can host and design it myself. I'll post more about my site when it's more than a mere framework. I'm just hoping that building this online profile and homebase for myself will help me in my career pursuits. Getting a publishing job in NY is so competitive. Many internships are unpaid and I need money. The other internships are generally only for students. As if someone can't decide to change career goals at some point after school! I keep applying to various positions and attempting freelance in the meantime.

I just hope someone will bite soon. I don't have any contacts in publishing, and was never a big networker in school, so it's really difficult. Still, I'll persevere. The website is merely one link in how I'm attempting to establish myself.