The Grateful Dead Grilled Cheese Sandwich was the first thing I ever cooked for compensation.

In 1992 I was 16 years old and went to see the Grateful Dead at Soldier Field. After the Thursday concert I scored, (among other things), a miracle ticket for the Friday show in the parking lot!

I hadn’t planned or budgeted for the extra day so I like many others I camped out at the tailgate party. I slept in my ‘86 Camaro and woke up hallucinating and hungry and broke. No money and many hours of pre-concert activities ahead of me was a bummer.

With a severe case of the munchies I struck a deal with the dudes at the unauthorized grilled cheese concession stand. For an hour of manning the grill I could eat as many grilled cheeses as I wanted. At a buck a piece, I earned $12 worth of sandwiches while the “bosses” did whipits and fished out. Even scored some hash and a kiss from a hippie chick!

That was a wicked good summer! Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

By the way, the trick to the ultimate grilled cheese is just a dash of garlic salt on the outside of the bread before grilling.