Hockey players are notoriously creatures of habit, and for Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux, that extends to his grilled cheese sandwiches.
The crispy, golden-brown, warm, melty sandwiches are as synonymous with Giroux as his offensive skill. But in a world of artisan breads and gourmet cheeses, he keeps it simple and does it the way his mom used to when he was growing up in Hearst, Ontario.
"It's just white bread, sliced cheese and a little bit of ketchup on the side," he said, also noting the all-important step of buttering both sides of the sandwich before putting it in the hot pan.
Giroux's variations on the comfort staple are minor; sometimes he adds a little extra butter on the bread, or a few strips of bacon inside. Other than that, there's no messing with the classic combination of white sandwich bread and American cheese.
He doesn't make them as often as he used to, especially since wife Ryanne has taken over most of the cooking. Giroux does, however, still get them on the road because they're on most hotel room service menus.
"I don't eat them as much anymore," he said, "but any time I have the chance to get into one, I do."
Giroux's fondness for grilled cheese sandwiches has been known for years, and in fact much of his Twitter presence revolves around them. In 2016, a 6-year-old fan wrote a letter in crayon inviting the Flyers captain to play hockey at his backyard rink and eat some grilled cheese sandwiches. Giroux invited him to Flyers' practice and shared a sandwich with him.
"It's always been my favorite thing to eat," he said, "and as I grew up, I just kept loving them."
Claude Giroux's Grilled Cheese Sandwich
2 slices white sandwich bread
2 slices American cheese
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Spread a generous amount of butter on one slice of bread and place it butter side down in the pan. Top with slices of American cheese. Spread the second slice of bread with butter and place it on top of the cheese, butter side up. Grill until golden brown, then flip over and grill until the other side is golden brown and the cheese is melted. Slice diagonally and serve hot. To enjoy the sandwich like Giroux, serve with ketchup for dipping.