February 1, 2013
The Common Good.

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For the better part of 2012 I was dating someone who felt strongly that grilled cheese sandwiches represented the outer boundary of her culinary prowess. I always suspected that this was more humility than truth  she has, among other things, been a guest lecturer at the James Beard House (albeit not as a chef)  but I tried not to press the issue. Instead I did most of the cooking when there was cooking to be done, and we tried to find culinary common ground where we could. One of the greatest hits  easily the greatest hit  of that choreography came last February when we conducted a purportedly scientific but plainly just-plain-fun Sunday night grilled cheese taste test extravaganza.

Purportedly scientific meant $85 worth of cheese from Murray’s, four different loaves from Amy’s Bread, some high quality butter, and deft eyeballing (hers, not mine) of the perfect cheese-to-bread-to-butter ratio. 

The staff at Murray’s, aside from being wickedly funny, have the greatest attitude and deepest knowledge of any food-related business I know of in New York. When my number came up at the counter it only took a half sentence of explanation before the cheesemonger’s eyes lit up in shared enthusiasm about the project; after 10 or 15 minutes of tasting and talking, we circled in on a half dozen selections. The six finalists were the following:

Cabot Creamery Clothbound Cheddar  - (Murray’s) (The Strong Buzz)

Consider Bardwell Farm Pawlet (Murray’s) (Wedge in the Round)

Idiazabal - (Murray’s) (Wikipedia)

Scharfe Maxx - (Murray’s) (SFGate)

Spring Book Farm Reading - (Murray’s) (SFGate)

Quadrello di Bufula - (Murray’s) (SFGate)

All were delicious, melted well and produced an excellent result. We had to declare a winner, of course, and the winner was the Quadrello. If you’re a Tallegio fan you’ll be especially satisfied with this cheese. And if you’re not, you’ll have an excuse to conduct an experiment of your own. I’d love to hear how it goes.

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