Grilled Cheese Conspiracy
Updated: Nov 21, 2019
In July of 2004, I entered DuPont’s “Greatest Grilled Cheese Sandwich in America” contest. As an extreme cheese lover and self-proclaimed connoisseur of grilled cheese sandwiches- I was destined to win this contest! After all, and in light of my ultra-picky eating habits, grilled cheese sandwiches have been a staple in my diet for as long as I can remember… With great thought and panache, I compiled and submitted my “Ooey Gooey Cream Cheese ‘n’ Chivey Grilled Cheese Sammich Goodness!” recipe for their consideration.
Recently, the results of the contest were announced and the $10,000 Grand Prize winning entry was a “Caribbean Grill” featuring a combination of mangos, red onions, bell peppers, lime juice, curry powder, sugar, mustard and Swiss cheese. My first reaction was “yuck”. My second reaction was “double yuck”. What kind of freak puts mangos and onions on their grilled cheese?
After feeling somewhat robbed of my grilled cheese victory, I scoured the contest website looking at the other winning recipes, runner-ups, and the various other grilled cheese recipes posted. My recipe was nowhere to be found and a lot of the other recipes I found were just as repulsive to me as the winning entry. Am I a sore loser? In this case- totally. Did I deserve to win? Ab-so-lutely!
A few days after the contest, I was still seething with cheesy animosity when I ran across a link to an article in the Marin Independent Journal entitled “Grilled Cheese Grows Up”. As I read quotes from the contest judge, my heart sank… It was at that very moment- I decided I was going to let this woman have it!
I did a search on the web, found her website, and located her email address.
My email read in part:
I’m writing you in reference to the most recent “Dupont Teflon Greatest Grilled Cheese Sandwich Contest”….. It disturbed me to find out that not only were you grilled cheese sandwich judges LATE in your award announcements, but you also chose not to give me an award for my “Ooey Gooey Cream Cheese ‘n’ Chivey Grilled Cheese Sammich Goodness!” recipe… I don’t know HOW you could’ve passed up on my recipe…. I gave you the best damn grilled cheese sandwich recipe on the planet and you just cast it aside like some sleazey grilled cheese knock-off! I even wrote you a little story about my childhood to go with it! Well, let me tell YOU something about grilled cheese sandwiches! Once you start adding all of those extra ingredients other than cheese, you move beyond the scope of a grilled cheese!
No, I’m not crazy…. Yes, you really DID blow it…… Don’t be expecting any dinner invitations from me……
From one very enthusiastic grilled cheese lover to another- take it with a grain of salt… Just don’t blow it next time!!! If all the cheese ain’t there to please- it ain’t no grilled cheese!!!!!
It wasn’t long before I received a response and apparently I had made an ooey gooey mistake of colossal proportions! It read:
Hi Grilled-Cheese-Lover Extra-Ordinaire Brigham,
Your cream cheese and chivey grilled cheese sammich sounds divine, and I can assure you that I WOULDN’T HAVE PASSED ON IT, not the way it sounds from your description.
I WAS NOT THE JUDGE IN THE CONTEST! You have the wrong person- it was the other woman who wrote the other grilled cheese book.
I haven’t cast aside anything of yours, nor have I had anything to do with that DuPont Teflon contest.
You owe me a big apology, mate. And you owe someone else a letter expressing your anger.
What can I say? It was an honest mistake. I went back and re-read the news article only to find that both Marlena Spieler and the actual judge of the contest were mentioned and somehow I had transposed the two women in my brain. So what’s a boy to do? Pedal backwards as fast I can!!! I returned a note that read:
WOW…. Looks like you caught me with egg on my face….
I am so very sorry for my accusations- it is now very clear to me that this other grilled cheese lovin’ woman is running a grilled cheese CONSPIRACY!!!! You have my sincerest of sincerest apologies! As for the decimation of the American GC- I think I can forgive you for that… After all, I just realized you’re not even in AMERICA!
OK- here’s the deal- next time I’m in the UK (which who knows when that’ll be, but it’s the gesture that counts), dinner is on ME!!!!!
I’m sorry for subjecting you to my GC hate mail, but I hope you at least found it entertaining….
Lucky for me- Marlena was a really great sport about things… We have exchanged several emails since then and she has convinced me that she is the diva of all grilled cheese sandwich recipes! Her book, “Grilled Cheese: 50 Recipes to Make You Melt” is so scrumptious looking, you’ll be flyin’ for that frying pan in no time at all…
I revamped my original letter and sent it to the PR contact for the contest, as well as the actual judge. So far, I have yet to receive a response.
As for my recipe? I’m just going to have to keep it all to myself!