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Cooking Through Fiction: The Catcher in the Rye Grilled Cheese and Malt

The Catcher in the Rye, written by J. D. Salinger, was published in 1951 and was originally meant for adults, but its popularity rose among teenagers due to its rebellious, angst-driven themes.

Holden Caulfield, the protagonist and narrator, is a sixteen-year-old, six-foot-two-and-a-half-tall cynical, foul-mouthed young man who despises all things phony. And yet, he is still one of the most loved characters of the 20th century. He’s one of my favorites as well. But dang, that boy has the mouth of a sailor on a bad day.

In an attempt to waste time and prolong telling his parents that he’s received the ax again, Holden takes a table at a little sandwich bar.

“I was supposed to be on this diet where you eat a lot of starches and crap, to gain weight and all, but I didn’t ever do it. When I’m out somewhere, I generally just east a Swiss cheese sandwich and a malted milk. It isn’t much, but you get quite a lot of vitamins in the malted milk. H. V. Caulfield. Holden Vitamin Caulfield.” (Salinger, J. D., The Catcher in the Rye. Little Brown and Company. New York: 1951, p. 140)

Grilled Swiss Cheese

Serves 1

Level of Difficulty: zero


3 slices of Swiss cheese


2 slices of white bread

How to Make

  1. Heat a cast iron skillet on medium.

  2. Butter both sides of the bread.

  3. Layer cheese in between bread slices and toast until desired doneness is reached.

Malted Milk

Serves 2

Level of Difficulty: as easy an drinking both servings at once


1 pint premium chocolate ice cream

¼ c whole milk

2 tbsp malt

2 tbsp chocolate syrup

How to Make

  1. Place the ice cream, milk, malt, and syrup in a blender and process on low speed for 30 seconds.

  2. Pour into 2 tall glasses and serve each with a straw and long-handled spoon.

  3. Talk about Holden. Brood. Drink more.

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