When I was about five years old, my mother taught me how to make grilled cheese on my own. I'd like to think it's because I've always been a pretty independent loner of a kid, but it's more likely she didn't want to get out of the pool when I got home hungry from school. So, without a doubt I can say, I make the best grilled cheese sandwiches on the planet, and I mean that. I've been cooking them for thirty-something years, and in that time I've learned a few time-tested truths about the hardest working sandwich in America.

First and foremost, a grilled cheese made with standard thin sliced bread should only have a single slice of American cheese on it. Sure, two slices makes a sandwich gooey and cheesy, but it's too much cheese for that non-load-bearing baked good. If you insist on two slices, you have to step up to Texas Toast type bread, otherwise you're walking the earth as the troglodyte you were always destined to be.

Second, you cannot make a proper grilled cheese sandwich with margarine. It doesn't have the same heat and sear characteristics as real butter. Sure, it may taste like butter, but frying margarine makes the bread tough and hard to bite through. You don't want to have to tear a bite from a poorly made sandwich like the lion tears flesh from a gazelle. Using butter means you'll have all the taste and the bites will be easy.

Third, you need a good piece of cast iron to cook in. If you're still with me, this might be where I lose you, but hear me out... Cast iron may seem intimidating or high maintenance, but it doesn't have to be. If you learn how to take care of cast iron, it's easier to work with than non-stick pans and last a lifetime. When have you ever had a non-stick pan that lasted more than a year? Also, you need that bad boy to be smoking hot, to the point you start to see the little wisps of smoke coming off it as if you were cooking steak.

Fourth, you add the butter to the pan first and then lay the sandwich down before it's completely liquefied. If you butter your bread before hitting the skillet, you're in for a soggy mess of a sandwich that probably won't cook evenly. All the same, if you wait until that entire dollop of butter in the pan is liquefied before adding the sandwich, it'll taste like burned butter. Not a bad taste, but not ideal either. When you're ready to flip to the other side, hold that sandwich in your spatula for a few seconds, add another dollop of butter, wait a three count, flip that bad boy in there.

Most people prefer their grilled cheese to be golden brown, some like it dark yellow, but these are both wrong. Those are the "well done steak" options for grilled cheese. You want a hint of nearly black somewhere on that bread. It's not burnt, it's Cajun, and everybody knows the worlds best food comes from Louisiana. Take my word for it, try it, and shed that troglodyte aura.