A cheese dream topped with bacon
|Place of origin||United States|
|Main ingredient(s)||Bread, cheddar cheese, butter|
The cheese dream is an open faced version of the American grilled cheese sandwich made with bread, cheddar cheese, and butter, as well as other ingredients. It can be cooked in a pan or skillet on the stove-top, or using a pan in the oven. Variants include the addition of ingredients such as bacon, tomato, pineapple, and eggs.
Made with basic ingredients (bread, butter, and cheese) and heat, cheese dreams are said to have originated as "the cheese dream" during the Great Depression, as "an inexpensive company supper dish" and an inexpensive option for feeding friends and family at Sunday supper. Additions of sliced tomatoes, ham, and bacon could be used, and they were often accompanied by olives and pickles. A 1932 San Jose News story, "Cheese Dream New Favorite Sandwich," suggested sprinkling the cheese "very sparingly" with a bit of mustard, cayenne, "and a little minced red sweet pepper"; the sandwich was browned on both sides and served with "very hot, rich tomato sauce." The sandwiches may predate the Depression, however, as a 1918 Good Housekeeping issue mentions Cheese Dreams as a luncheon dish, "our teahouse friend."
Cheese dreams were advertised in 1957 as a 55 cent luncheonette lenten special in Daytona Beach, Florida's Sunday News Journal. The Milwaukee Journal recommended preparing Cheese Dreams in the oven with scrambled eggs and ham in 1960.
Popular in the 1950s as a comfort food, the grilled cheese sandwich has made a comeback in various incarnations in the 1990s and 2000s. It was estimated in 2001 that Americans consume around 2.2 billion grilled cheese sandwiches yearly, and chefs have experimented with different types of bread and cheese in updates of the classic cheese dream of yore. Pumpernickel, dark brown, and rye breads have been used, topped with swiss cheese, Gouda, and Havarti respectively. Other options include apples with mozzarella, peaches with edam, and pear with gorgonzola or brie; Italian herbs, sundried tomatoes and mozzarella; with turkey and ham "a variation on a Monte Cristo" can also be created. Scott Fletcher of the Grafton Village Cheese Company makes cheese dreams with rustic country bread, sharp cheddar, white pepper, eggs, milk, unsalted butter, and maple syrup. The open faced sandwiches make an appearance in Luanne Rice's novel Stone Heart.
- Cheese on toast the open faced sandwich popular in the UK
- Open sandwich
- Grilled cheese a closed melted cheese sandwich
- Monte Cristo sandwich
- Croque-monsieur the French fried cheese and ham sandwich
- Welsh rarebit cheese sauce served over toasted bread
- Fondue the cheese sauce that food is dipped in, from Switzerland
- Comfort food
- List of sandwiches
- Dream of the Rarebit Fiend
- Jan Uebelherr There's no secret to great grilled cheese March 26, 2004 Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
- Marty Meitus (January 3, 1999). "OLD FAITHFUL GRILLED CHEESE, A DEPRESSION-ERA STANDBY, HAS RETURNED". Rocky Mountain News. "During the Depression, when Sunday Night Suppers became a popular way to entertain, the cheese dream began to appear on dining tables from coast to coast."
- Marty Meitus Dreaming up variations of grilled cheese Oct 10, 2001 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel p. 29 (Scripps News Service)
- Cheese Dream New Favorite Sandwich July 15, 1932 San Jose News
- Florence Taft Eaton (1918). "Meatless Main Dishes". Good Housekeeping 67: 52.
-  March 10, 1957 Sunday News Journal (Daytona Beach) p. 18
- Sep 26, 1960 The Milwaukee Journal p. 21
- Tracey Medeiros (2008). Dishing Up Vermont: 145 Authentic Recipes from the Green Mountain State. p. 112. ISBN 9781603420259.
- Luanne Rice (2005). Stone Heart (repRrint ed.). Random House, Inc. p. 130. ISBN 978-0-553-58782-1. 338 pages