I think my obsession with food must have started at a very young age. I remember distinctly reading Heidi by Johanna Spyri and being intrigued by the simple lunch of toasted cheese on bread that Heidi and her grandfather would eat each day. I even remember sliding a couple of slices of Kraft American slices on white bread under the broiler of my mother's oven, hoping to taste this magical dish. It was awful. Gooey, bland and just plain disappointing. To my credit, I always assumed that this was not because the idea was a bad one; something had gone wrong in the execution. Melted cheese and bread just sounded like a great idea.
When I first came to France and had a salad of "Chevre chaud" (Goat's cheese melted over bread) I finally had a clue why Heidi and her grandfather were so lucky. It is wonderful.
And then there is the dish in my photo above. This one is true to the Heidi-ideal in that it's something I make when I want a simple, tasty hot dish. It takes about two minutes to make and I am somewhat ashamed to say that the idea came from a commercial. (Help! I am a victim of good marketing!) To wit, Lea and Perrins' Worcestershire sauce commercials. Place thick slices of good sharp cheddar cheese on brown bread (toast it first if you want to take the time). Sprinkle liberally with the Worcestershire sauce. Slide under the grill/broiler and leave until the cheese is bubbly. Remove and eat immediately. It's wonderful. The combination of sharp melted cheese and Worcestershire is a bit reminiscent of cheddar with a good English pickle, for those of you who have tasted pickle. (This is not the same as a pickled cucumber, for the Americans out there: English pickle is a thick disgusting looking goop made of various unidentifiable vegetables, very strong in vinegar flavour and strangely addictive.) In any case, the "wooster-sher" sauce gives a little lift to the sharp cheddar and the bread is a solid base in flavour and in actual fact. Heidi would love it.