Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Toasted Ham and Cheese Sandwich

When I was in High School in NY State, I worked at a place called Carroll's Hamburgers. It was probably the best job I ever had.  I have friends whom I worked with who will attest to that and they are very accomplished in their current careers.  There was just something about the managers and the crew, the sales goals and inventory, the nightly clean up of a well oil machine where I don't think there was a single ruffle of personalities.  It was a harmonious place that thrived on doing a job well, to the letter of a T.  It closed one year on a Christmas Eve after an incredibly busy day.  That was a sad day for us all but those memories stayed with anyone who worked there.  There was the day shift for the kids who finished school early and the night shift for those who played sports.  We picked each other up and drove each other home when work was done.  We raced in like fools and clocked in, in the nick of time in and we worked diligently to get done on time.

This was in the days when the uniforms were washed and dried for you at work.  Though we had names on them, I would pull Vicki's uniform out of the dryer and wear it because her waist was small and I had to pin all of the others to keep them up.  These were also in the days where you had to go outside to enter the rest room and it was unheated.

This chain came after the original McDonald's but at the time, we didn't have McDonald's, that came later.  The fries were different and they served Club Burgers which you know better as Big Mac, but again different.  The Club Sauce was a different recipe.  We used to make our own inventions during break time.  We took their ingredients and made new products with them.  One of my favorites was a "dreamsicle."  At that time we mixed the milk shakes and if you added orange syrup to a vanilla milk shake you, got a Dreamsicle and it was tasty.  We also had Randy or Dan, who by the was were the fastest guys around on the grill, grill onions or put Club Sauce on Double Hamburgers making a new sandwich.

One unadvertised menu item but was fairly well known was the "Toasted Cheese."  It was where you grilled the bun, cut side out, with cheese in the center.  We charged less than a hamburger so it was economical.  There was a girl in my HS class that couldn't have been more than 5' tall.  She dated a Basketball player who couldn't have been less than 6"6" tall.  They had the Toasted Cheese to a science, in fact I daresay, they had fast food ordering to a science.  When they came in, it was ALWAYS 5 minutes before closing.  They always ordered a bundle of toasted cheese sandwiches and fries cooked hot, no arguing, they wanted to see them go down into the fryer, and milk shakes.

I haven't made one of these, ever.  Last week I cooked hamburgers at home.  I had really good buns that were incredibly fresh.  I had some leftover ham from a previous meal.  I was in a nostalgic mood and decided to make a Toasted Ham and Cheese, with good old fashioned American Cheese, 2 slices in fact.  It tasted as good as it looks. What a great trip down memory lane.

Here is the post I promised you, Dan!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful story! You captured our experience there perfectly. It left such an impression on all of us and I remember it and all the people just like yesterday. Thank you for writing it, and oh man, the toasted cheese pics look sooo good. I will make some this week!