Behold the cheeseboard at the end of the party. Picked over. Sparse. A shadow of its former Instagram-worthy self. But, look closely and you’ll see that there’s actually kinda still a lot of cheese there. Not to mention some zippy pickled cauliflower and some other goodies that might no longer be plated to perfection, but are still perfectly good to eat.
As the party featuring this spread was concluding, the organizers made clear that they wanted people to take home leftover food. Since this cheese had been sitting out and picked over, it couldn’t be donated. And there were more leftovers than any of the hosts or staff wanted to take home. So, I pulled out the container I had stashed in my bag and took as much as I could. I saw the future and the future was grilled cheese.
(Feeling a little funny about taking home buffet food? Check out this article I wrote for The Washington Post about bucking social norms to fight food waste. #Nobuffetwaste)
Grilled cheese is the perfect answer to extra party cheese for so many reasons. First, it’s easy and makes for a tidy next-day lunch. Second, it can incorporate other items on the cheese board too. Dried fruit? Pickled veggies? In they go! Third, you can veg things up at home and use whole grain bread for an indulgent, but still healthy-ish sandwich.
Finally, since grilled cheese involves heat, you have higher odds of zapping anything problematic that might have landed or grown on the food during the party. Not that such contamination was super likely, or that the heat guarantees you’ll nix any and all risk. But on the off chance something problematic is there, it helps. And while we’re on the topic of food safety, we suggest using soft cheeses and fresh cut veggies first as they have the shortest shelf lives. The cheddar will last in your fridge for longer.Print