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February 16, 2006

See my cheese sandwich. Love my cheese sandwich.

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For those currently unaware, there's a lot of rage in the food blogging world these days, rage so intense that a certain comment thread had to be shut down because a gentle discussion had devolved into a virtual shouting match.

What has some bloggers so mad?  This article from Food & Wine magazine.  The author, Pete Wells, tries to make the point -- and, as far I'm concerned, it's valid -- that too many food blogs offer precious little in the way of novelty, insight, and originality.  To make his point, however, Wells borrows a derogatory term for such sites, "cheese-sandwich blog," and then proceeds to quote from a few food blogs he deems worthy of the label.

That was a mistake.

Unfortunately, one of the bloggers recognized her own work, and was, understandably, a little upset at being criticized in a high circulation international magazine.  As a protest, she has organized a cheese sandwich day for, that's right, today.

Now, I'm no longer one for protest, and after reading the article several days ago, I must admit I was amused, not offended.  As I was reading the protest post, however, it finally dawned on me that I had actually planned a cheese sandwich post, because Rachel and I took photos of the delicious mozzarella in carrozza we made this past weekend for just that purpose.

Then I laughed really, really hard at the irony of the situation.  And because I know our cheese sandwich is different.  Truly.

The sandwich is an Italian take on the grilled cheese.  We used Mario Batali's recipe from his latest cookbook, Molto Italiano.  (If you'd like the recipe, just follow this link, but replace the milk with heavy cream.)  In order to embiggen our sandwich, we bought a loaf of Ace Bakery white sandwich bread and paired it with some creamy, sweet mozzarella di bufala from Alex Farms in the St. Lawrence Market. We then served the sandwiches with a side salad of baby arugula dressed with a little extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar.

I cannot tell a lie: anything with buffalo mozzarella is divine. I'm still occasionally overcome by the memory of the buffalo mozzarella we shared with an Italian friend of ours in one of the hill towns just outside Rome on our honeymoon.  The cheese was so fresh and so exceptional that our host said he believed it had been made that morning, something that can never be said of the mozzarella in North America.  Now, this cheese was not that good, but it was pan-fried between two pieces of top drawer bread lathered in eggs, cream, and thyme, so it was still delicious.

I guess what I'm trying to say is: this is my kind of protest.

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Comments

kalyn

I think a bit of protesting can be good for the soul, especially when accompanied by a great looking sandwich like this.

Ian

I think we're all embiggened by this post. Ah, to call home where the bufala roam....

Jill

This type of thing happens all of the time between knitting blogs - and it tends to get annoying quickly. People are quick to criticize those with FO blogs (blogs that only show Finished Objects) instead of blogs that demonstrate techniques etc. I've even received negative comments regarding how to turn a heel flap...but in my opinion whoever writes the blog should feel free to discuss whatever they want. People don't have to read it! And I love cheese sandwiches on nice multi-grain bread with honey mustard!

Ruth

I'm with you - I wasn't personally offended - to each his own, but it did bother me that he picked on a really fun event. That said, it was like a brush fire gone out of control.

Oh well, at least we all got to eat some great food. I'm off to Alex's Cheese in St Lawrence Market right now.

Thanks for sharing a great looking sandwich.

rob

Kalyn, protesting is always better on a full stomach.

Ian, please leave the bad puns to me. Though I have to admit, "where the bufala roam" is pretty good.

Jill, I don't know what's more comical: the image of food or knitting bloggers duking it out. I quite like your cheese sandwich, by the way.

Hi, Ruth, thanks for the compliment and, out of curiosity, what kind of cheese did you buy?

Ivonne

Hi Rob,

Bravo! Both for your post and for your cheese sandwich.

I agree that mozzarella di bufalo is one of life's great pleasures ... and to have had the opportunity to taste it only hours after it was made ... lucky man!

Ruth

I bought a lovely crumbly goat cheese and am having it with some grilled pancetta, freshly ground pepper and basil, all served on some challah.

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