Last week our mailing company arbitrarily disabled the Wiser Now account, and we were unable to get them to re-enable it until four days later. Because I value my reputation for reliability, I was upset by this, but had no recourse. Now that we're reinstated, this week you are receiving two editions, including this one that you should have received last Wednesday. Eat a bit of comfort food and enjoy.

Welcome to Wiser Now’s weekly email blast which reflects my eclectic interests and, I hope, yours. This week, my focus is on Grilled Cheese Month and any other comfort food you might want to add to your menu. When I decided on this topic I had no idea what a hilarious rabbit hole it would take me down. I’ve tried to include the best goo and not the crumbs.

I hope you are finding these offerings fun, and perhaps even useful, and I welcome your feedback. ( And if you haven’t yet pressed the subscribe button so this newsletter doesn’t go to spam, please do so now.


The Quirky Quote


The Quirky Fact

A cheesy story that isn’t made up:

A 2004 article from BBC news described the sale of a 10-year old toasted cheese sandwich said to bear an image of the Virgin Mary on the eBay auction website for $28,000 after receiving 1.7 million hits. The buyer, Richard Rowe, CEO of an internet casino called, intended to take the sandwich on a world tour before reselling it and donating the money to charity.

The Florida seller, Diane Duyser, said of her 1994 experience, “I went to take a bite out of it, and then I saw this lady looking back at me.” It scared her at first, but she ultimately saved it in a plastic box and said it has never gone moldy since she made it 10 years earlier. In addition to the money from the sale, Mrs. Duyser told reporters the sandwich had brought her luck - including winnings of $70,000 at a casino near her Florida home. (At right is the actual image. Looks more like a 1920s movie star to me.)

The Quirky Observation
People know how to take a weird idea and run with it. There is no apparent end to the images you can now add to your toast, but aside from the LOVE stamper at right, most toasted images will not hold up for making into a grilled cheese sandwich.

It should come as no surprise that now you can even make selfie toast. The Vermont Novelty Toaster Corp., which started out offering toasters that transferred religious images and a peace sign onto browned bread, saw its sales shoot up 1,000 percent since it began offering the Selfie Toaster, according to an article in the Star Tribune. Twenty-five dollars buys the toaster. It costs $45 more for the company to custom-make sheet metal plate stencils out of the photos customers submit, which can be almost anything they choose.

There are other techie versions that – if I understand the process – use images from your phone. Look up Toasteroid, for example.

Bonus: Grilled Cheese Dessert
For added flavor and bulk, people may add tomato, ham, (maple) bacon, avocado, peppers, or onions to their grilled cheese sandwiches, or grill them using garlic butter, but if we’re going to discuss variations, I like the one at right. This is an April Fool’s prank that uses lightly toasted pound cake and food-coloring-tinted white frosting to mimic a grilled cheese sandwich. Not a prank, but also not tempting to me is this real grilled cheese dessert that combines melted brie and dark chocolate chunks on sourdough bread.

The Question
Do you have a favorite grilled cheese combo or other comfort food? Share it with your friends and with me at

The Quiz
  1. The ancient Greeks were the first recorded civilization to make a dish with cooked bread and cheese.
    True ___      False ___
  1. In the U.S. grilled cheese sandwiches (originally called toasted cheese or melted cheese sandwiches) are usually traced back to the 1920s, when Otto Frederick Rohwedder invented a bread slicer that made evenly sliced bread easy and affordable.
    True ___      False ___
  1. The other major contributor to the popularity of grilled cheese sandwiches in the U.S. was the Sargento Company founded by Leonard Gentine and Joseph Sartori. Their revolutionary pasteurizing process patented in 1914 ensured that cheese wouldn't spoil, even when transported long distances.
    True ___      False ___
  1. The French version of a grilled cheese sandwich includes both cheese and ham (Croque Monsieur - pictured) and first became popular a decade earlier. The women’s version (Croque Madame) includes a tomato on top like a hat.
    True ___      False ___
  1. In Switzerland it is customary to toast the bread and melt the cheese separately before combining them.
    True ___      False ___
  1. The most expensive grilled cheese in the world is the $214 “Quintessential Grilled Cheese” from Serendipity 3 in New York City. The sandwich features white truffle butter and rare Caciocavallo Podolico cheese between two pieces of French Pullman bread made with Dom Perignon champagne and 24-karat edible gold flakes.
     True ___      False ___
  1. One study concluded that grilled cheese fans were more likely to be charitable than their cheese-less counterparts.
True ___      False ___

Answers and explanations at the end of this document.

The Shameless Request

  1. I believe these weekly posts could be used by activity leaders in senior centers and residential care settings, as well as home health aides with their patients. If you know one – or know a senior – please pass this post on.
  2. I also believe these weekly posts could be used by families and homeschooled students. If you know one of those, please pass this post on.
  3. If you represent an organization that would like a customized version of Wiser Now Wednesday, please send me a note at

The Kiosk of Resources

Answers to the quiz
  1. False. it was the ancient Romans.
  2. True. In the U.S. grilled cheese sandwiches were at first open-faced with grated cheese on top and sometimes a tomato. Evenly sliced bread made a 2-slice grilled sandwich easy to prepare. Rohwedder is known as “the father of sliced bread.”
  3. False. It was James L. Kraft of Kraft & Bros. who filed the patent and sold the cheese. (Sargento cheeses didn’t arrive until the 1950s) This popular processed cheese was widely disparaged by the English who were dedicated to their cheddars and frequently referred this American product as "rat cheese."
  4. False. The women’s version (Croque Madame) includes a fried or poached egg on top like a hat.
  5. True
  6. True
  7. True, but I couldn’t find the study, so can’t vouch for it; I just like to think it’s valid.
My multiple goals are to amuse and inspire you, to share what I and people whom I admire am doing, to stimulate your curiosity and spur you to action. I hope you enjoyed this offering. You can access previous issues here. We welcome your feedback. (
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Copyright (c) 2019 Kathy Laurenhue | All rights reserved.

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