Something Swedish

Grilled Cheese – Varm Macka

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When I learned that last week was National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day in the U.S. I was a bit jealous and envious. I’m not sure why, as I easily celebrated with my own grilled cheese sandwiches, I guess it was a messed up twinge of homesickness: “But I want grilled cheese sandwiches too!!!” Grilled cheese sandwiches have always been an easy comfort food, they have been around since the 1920’s and some version can be found at any diner. I like to make mine with a slice or two of ham and tomato.

We have National Waffle Day and Cinnamon Bun Day here in Sweden, but when I told my husband about National Grilled Cheese Day, his response was that they don’t seem worthy. When I introduced my husband to an American  grilled cheese sandwich a couple of months ago he loved it. We  ate a lot/too many of them that week. Having said that, I was surprised at his surprise for having a National Grilled Cheese sandwich day. Albeit true that the U.S. probably has too many national food days, all I could think about was how my beloved grilled cheese sandwiches aren’t the same in Sweden.

I’m glad that this day was brought to my intention because I wanted to point out the difference between our Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and the ones found in Sweden, which are simply called “warm sandwiches.” Keep in mind that a sandwich here (Smorgas) is open faced and it is not uncommon to simply have bread and cheese. There is no half inch thick sandwiches filled with ham and everything else like in New York.

So, the simplest form of a sandwich for me is the norm here – except it’s one slice of bread eaten cold, usually with a bit of butter.  A “Varm Macka” on the other hand is heated up- baked in the oven. The first time I saw my husband make one I thought, “He’s doing it all wrong!” “You don’t fry them? What kind of cheese is that?” Gouda or Swiss is the more common to use, with a bit of mustard. When hubby found me some familiar bright yellow “Burger cheese” as its called here, I was excited because I could fry up some of my own familiar Grilled Cheese sandwiches.

Just like at home, I’m sure everyone makes them differently here- I asked hubby to add a slice of ham to ours.

And then some time passed and to my surprise I craved Varm Macka. So much easier to make, less messy, crispy and never mushy – and even if I didn’t think so the first time I ate it, very yummy. Even if they are made a little differently, I can still enjoy some version of this classic comfort food.

How do you make your grilled cheese? What do you call them?

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8 thoughts on “Grilled Cheese – Varm Macka

  1. Ah, yes, Meghan: even the lowly and simple grilled cheese sandwich rates an interesting article! Who ever would have thought??

  2. i made grilled cheeses for me & my wife just the other day! and, yes, they do remind me of home. sometimes it is the littlest things that i miss the most. 🙂

  3. I missed National Grilled Cheese Day! I was really kind of bummed about it. The Varm Macka looks delicious!

  4. I like them exactly liked that, from the oven with ham, cheese and a little mustard. I like to add a slice of tomato too sometimes, but then it must be eaten carefully, tomatoes get hot..!! Perfect comfort food a rainy and grey evening in front of a film on TV!

  5. oooo we call them cheese toasties in Australia – Yum!

  6. I love what you call Varm Macka! It reminds me of Croque Monsieur I used to eat in France! Melted cheese sandwiches are truly universal!! 🙂

  7. I made them once to temper a disgusting butternut squash soup that G made. He had never had them before. I put a bit of butter in the frying pan (I never put butter directly on the bread, as it gets too soggy, IMO), then add some cheese that melts really well (I prefer American, but ended up using Colby when I made it here). G loved them and had about four with his soup, even though I told him they were really fattening and that it was going to go straight to his hips.

  8. This is a really old blogg ‘article’, but why don’t you try a dubble varm macka on the smorgas grill? That’s crispy!

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