Mom’s Grilled Cheese and Sweet Onion Sandwiches

Today’s post is powered 100% by nostalgia. My baby brother is getting married this summer and it has totally sent me into a “This is Your Life” tizzy.

My mom was the room mother in my fourth grade year (and my first, second, third, and fifth grades, but I’m talking specifically about year four here…) She was responsible for games for our party days (and I’m fairly certain she volunteered for that duty. My mom is the Queen of Party Games.) The game she had planned for my class on one party day was a game where she wrapped food in pieces of foil and put them in paper bags at the end of a race course. There were two teams of kids. One kid from each team would run to the end of the course, grab a piece of foil wrapped food, unwrap it and eat whatever was in there. Everything was edible and tasty (at least to my mom.) Now here’s where it gets a little complicated. All the little boys in my class (all nine of them*) had a near debilitating crush on my mom. How is that a problem? One of the foil wrapped foods was a slice of Vidalia onion (a delicacy in our home, to be sure!). One of the little boys with a debilitating crush on my mom was evidently mildly allergic to onions. Before I say anything, you all know which packet this little boy picked right?

*Yes. There were only nine boys in my class. That is due in no small part to the fact that there were only eighteen kids in my class all together. As in, in the entire school. I did tell you I grew up rural, didn’t I?

Obviously he picked the onion.

Any sensible person would raise their hand and say, “Excuse me, but I’m allergic to onions. Could I pick another food?” But there’s no such thing as a sensible fourth grade boy with a crush. The kid ate the onion then ran from the room to toss his cookies. Or rather, toss his onions.

That day was memorable for more than one reason. It was the first time I’d seen someone do something stupid for love. It was also the first moment I realized that not every household ate raw onions like apples.

One of my favourite foods from those years (and one that I’m happy to say my kids love now) was a big, gooey grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with thick, crisp slabs of sweet onion, toasted to that perfect rich brown with little rivulets of cheese escaping the sides of the bread. Oh heavens.

Can you even think of something that sounds better or more comforting than that?

Grilled cheeses ruled my world as a kid. And both of my parents make a mean one. My dad always added a ritual to the grilled cheese making. Half of the fun of a grilled cheese with dad has been and remains the “Thwapping of the Cheese”.  We would each unwrap a piece of cheese, hold it by the bottom edge and then swing it up to smack it against our tongues, making a satisfying THWAP sound in the process. Here, my third born demonstrates the manoeuvre.

  1. Here’s the wind-up folks. Note the open mouth and the angle of the cheese slice.
  2. He’s going for it! Looks like he judged the distance just right!
  3. And he’s home. THWAP!

It’s hard to explain why the “Thwapping of the Cheese” is as amusing as it is. Uproarious laughter is the almost inevitable result. When you couple my dad’s cheese thwapping with my mom’s specialty grilled cheese with sweet onion, you’re sure to end lunch with as big a smile as the one you had when you started.

This is, in my book, the perfect grilled cheese. Choose your favourite bread and your preferred onion, but there simply is no substitute for the melty, gooey, drippy cheesy goodness you get from Kraft Singles. Whether you choose the yellow or the white (my family’s favourite) you’re sure to love this grilled cheese as much as I do.

Disclosure: As part of the DailyBuzz Moms Featured Publisher Community, I received a coupon for free Kraft Singles and a stipend to help pay for additonal ingredients, but all opinions expressed in the post are my own. It is my promise to you that I will not write sponsored posts for any product that I do not or would not use myself.


Mom’s Grilled Cheese and Sweet Onion Sandwiches
My mom's version of the classic grilled cheese is my all time favourite way to eat it. Deep, toasty brown bread topped with melty, gooey cheese and crisp, just-heated-through slabs of sweet onion. On any given day at any given moment, I'm hard pressed to think of something I like to eat more than this.
Per Sandwich:
  • 2 slices of sandwich bread (I like potato bread or oatmeal bread best.)
  • 2 slices Kraft Singles, unwrapped
  • 1 (1/8- to ¼-inch thick) slab sweet onion, peeled and separated into smaller rings or half moons
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter
  1. Preheat a griddle to 300°F (or put a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-low to medium heat on the stove top.)
  2. Butter one side of each slice of bread, using half of the butter on each slice. Lay one slice of bread, butter side down on the hot griddle, immediately lay down one slice of the unwrapped Kraft Singles, top with as much of the sliced onion as you can get to stay on the bread, the other slice of unwrapped cheese and the last piece of bread, butter side up.
  3. Let it toast slowly until the under-side of the bottom piece of bread is a deep golden to rich brown, taking care not to let it burn. If necessary, you can reduce the heat to prevent scorching. Carefully flip the sandwich, using your hand to hold it together as the onions tend to make it fall apart a little more easily than the average grilled cheese.
  4. Toast the second side until it is a rich brown and the cheese is completely melted inside the sandwich. Transfer to a cutting board and cut it in half on the diagonal. Yes. It MUST be on a diagonal. Sandwiches just taste better that way.


  1. Christine says

    Isn’t it a shame that in this day and age people just wouldn’t KNOW about the necessity for a diagonal slice? Like unwrapping the cheese slice… Fofl!
    Can’t wait to try. On potato bread def… Unless I find oat bran first…

  2. Heidi19 says

    Mmmm sounds yummy! I will definitely be making this for my kids. Thanks for sharing for your recipe! Love it!

  3. says

    I’ve made these since I worked in a restaurant in 1977. I prefer to dice the onion. It is a wonderful sandwich. Especially on rye!

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