After several years of experimentation and giving the matter quite a bit of thought, I’ve reached a conclusion: The best snow day meal is the humble grilled cheese sandwich, accompanied by an absolutely essential bowl of tomato soup.
You don’t need any fancy tricks—the boyfriend in A Devil Wears Prada was not only pouty and unsupportive, but also entirely wrongheaded in making grilled cheese with Jarlsberg. A simple cheddar will do; a nice wide bread is my preference. I do recommend going to the trouble of the New York Times recipe, which is less complicated than it sounds, as well as totally error-proof, and the mayo really does add something special. (A trick: rather than grating the cheese yourself, you can use the finely pre-shredded stuff, which I keep in my fridge.) Go as low or high-end as you want on the soup; personally, I’m fond of those soups they sell in cartons in the organic food aisle at any supermarket.
It’s a simple meal—the wintertime equivalent of the tomato sandwich, a warm-weather classic. You can easily keep all the makings in your home all winter. It’s filling, but not heavy. It’s warm, literally and also psychically. It is profoundly cozy. It will banish the last of the wet, awful cold from the bones of your feet. It is a quiet food, matching the quiet of a community on pause. Do I care that I likely feel this way due to decades worth of Campbell’s Soup propaganda? Sure don’t!
I don’t want to come across as hyperbolic, but if there’s a feeling more serene than that of settling down to a bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich, having just successfully gotten your toddler (home due to snow) down for a nap, as the snow gently wraps the world in cotton batting, I’ve yet to experience it!
“But Kelly,” you say, “isn’t the best snow day meal a slow-cooker beef stew?” I’m so glad you asked. Slow-cooker beef stew is the best snow-day dinner, a specific subcategory of snow-day meal. That way your house smells absolutely wonderful for several hours, but you don’t have to wait, salivating, for something cozy and delicious. The best snow-day breakfast is, of course, lightly toasted English muffins with munster cheese melted on top; the second-best is cinnamon toast.
This is my unsolicited culinary advice to you; take it or leave it!