08/05/2014 01:41 pm ET Updated Oct 05, 2014

Croque Monsieurs and Other Ways the World Makes Grilled Cheese

Layers of cheese melted between two slices of bread -- a simple idea with a worldwide reputation. The grilled cheese sandwich is beloved by many cultures around the world, made with different types of bread and cheese and some with additional ingredients.

Click Here to see the Complete List of How the World Makes Grilled Cheese

It was first widely eaten in the United States as a cheap meal during the Great Depression, when money was low and cheese and bread were some of the least expensive food items. During World War II, grilled cheese was a common snack served in the military, and U.S. government cookbooks from the time describe grilled cheese as "American cheese filling sandwiches." Now, we eat grilled cheese as a late-night snack, as a gourmet sandwich in restaurants, and really any time we feel like it.

Around the world, the grilled cheese sandwich goes by other names. The French equivalent, a Croque Monsieur, is made by melting Gruyère cheese over a ham sandwich as well as inside of it. A Croque Madame is the same but with a fried egg on top. In South America, the traditional arepa becomes a cheese arepa when cheese is melted in the middle or baked into the dough. For Australians, there's nothing simpler or tastier than a vegemite grilled cheese sandwich with melted cheese on one side and vegemite on the other.

How the World Makes Grilled Cheese

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-Haley Willard, The Daily Meal

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