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Dunk WHAT in chocolate milk?

16 Nov

Yesterday, I blogged about the veganized Shepherd’s pie I made for my husband so that he could enjoy a childhood favorite — even if he was one of the only kids in his school that actually liked it.  Most of his friends hated it!

In thinking of what gross food combinations I enjoyed as a child, one in particular stood out:  ham and cheese sandwich dipped in chocolate milk.  If you are like most people with whom I’ve confessed this oddity, you are probably thinking, “Gross!” and not just for the obvious fact that there was pig’s ham and cow’s cheese in it.

I’m not sure how it started, but I do remember I was six years old and in first grade in Florida.  The school bus would drop me off at the intersection down the road from my house, and I’d walk what seemed to me to be a mile long trek.  Now, with the advent of Google Maps, I was able to confirm that my home at the time was in fact only four houses down from the bus stop — not such a big deal — but after a long day at school, walking the length of four houses in the Florida sun could be a lot for a six-year-old.

So when I arrived, there was always my ham and cheese sandwich to look forward to, complete with chocolate milk.  I do remember my mom making these sandwiches for me most of the time, but I actually have a faint scar on my hand from when I attempted to do it myself.  It was simple enough to prepare, but when I reached in to the toaster oven, the sandwich was very hot.  My reflexes pulled my hand away by snapping up and right into the toaster oven’s upper element, leaving a 2 inch burn that still exists on the back of my hand as a soft mark slightly darker than the rest of my skin — but it wasn’t pretty when it happened!

What was so good about this after school snack that would have me coming back for more even after burning myself?  It was simple:  white bread, a slice of ham, and a slice of individually wrapped cheese.  Once toasted, my mom would cut off the crusts, resulting in a perfect rectangle of toasty bread, warm ham, and melting cheese.  I was a huge fan of Nestle Quik, and managed to prepare my own chocolate milk with no injury.  Sometimes I would drink it cold, and sometimes warm in the microwave.

Of course, I would be horrified to eat a ham sandwich now, and I probably would have been at age six if I really understood where that ham came from.  Nevertheless, the comfort of happy memories can make one long for a similar experience.  And so today I attempted to make a vegan version of my ham and cheese in chocolate milk creation.

Although I would have preferred wheat today for the bread, all I had was some of Food For Life’s gluten-free rice flour-based sliced bread on hand that actually resembles white bread (which I haven’t bought in my last 12 years of adulthood).  I also have Galaxy Nutritional Foods Rice Vegan American Cheese and Lightlife’s Smart Deli Baked Ham veggie protein slices.  And although I don’t make a habit of buying it, I couldn’t resist a coupon last week for Silk’s Light Chocolate soy milk.  Everything was there… how could I not take this opportunity to recreate that childhood experience?

There really is not a lot of cooking to be done here.  I simply put a slice of the “ham” on one side of the bread, and a slice of the “cheese” on the other.  Given the fact that vegan cheese doesn’t melt the same way (if at all) as cow’s cheese would, I first put the breads in the toaster oven separately so that more of the cheese’s surface area would be exposed to heat.  I set the toaster oven’s timer for 5 minutes, then flopped the “ham” bread onto the “cheese” bread and left it in the toaster oven for 1 more minute.

Using my wooden tongs to safely remove my sandwich (yes, I am still traumatized!), I was ready to enjoy it with my glass of chocolate soy milk.

Cutting the sandwich into two triangles, I happily dunked each bite into the chocolate soy milk.  Yummy (to me)!!!!!!!

I’m fairly convinced that there is nothing that can’t be veganized — even the weird, quirky, and sometimes gross stuff we do as kids.