Mexican Grilled Cheese Sandwich – Hoarding, OCD, and Therapy

Mexican Grilled Cheese Sandwich - closeup

The next time you take a shower, will you do me a favor? …

Count how many bottles you have in the shower. It doesn’t matter what they are, as long as they’re in bottles. I guess tubes count, too. And little tubs. But not things like bars of soap.

How many do you have there?

Shampoo, conditioner, shower gel…three? Four?

Start adding your weekly deep conditioner, facial cleanser, exfoliator and shaving cream, maybe seven or even eight?

I’m trying to get a feel for what’s “normal.”

Because I’m pretty sure that the collection of 14 — yes, let me spell it out for you, 4 t-e-e-n — bottles I have lined up in two rows on the window ledge in the shower that no one else uses except for me is not normal.

Ok, so fourteen bottles maybe still teeters on the edge of normal.

But half of them are empty.

And that pretty much pushes “maybe” into the deep-end of the absolutely crazy tub.
Mexican Grilled Cheese Sandwich - melting cheese

I don’t know why I have a half a shower ledge full of empty bottles.

Wait. I know why! Because I can’t throw the empty bottles away.

So, I don’t know why I can’t throw empty bottles away. I don’t know what personality trait, what genetic disorder, what childhood trauma, what irrational fear I have that causes this repeatedly observed behavior of …


My god. I’m a hoarder.

I don’t even have tv (we just got a television set, but we don’t actually get “tv”) and yet I know that hoarding is so much a real “thing” that there is a entire show dedicated to it. And even though you don’t need tv for the because hoarding is, indeed, a diagnosable and treatable medical condition, nothing makes “crazy” more legit than “reality.”

It’s not clear what the underlying cause is, but it seems there are risk factors like genetics and traumatic life events, which sound like “causes” to me but then again I’m the one who’s always quick to point out the difference between causation and association so never mind. Neither of these risk factors applies to me anyway.

“History of alcohol abuse” and “social isolation,” however… well, there you go. This totally explains why I have been hoarding blog posts like this one since 2006.

I think the therapy is working.

I put all the empty bottles in a plastic bag.

Which is safely tucked under the sink.

Mexican Grilled Cheese Sandwich, stacked

Mexican Grilled Cheese Sandwich

inspired by Gourmet magazine

I used fresh red onions for this sandwich, but if you happen to have pickled red onions on hand, or want to make them with lime juice (to match the theme of this recipe), I’d say that’s probably going to make it even better.

serves 2


4 slices bread
2 generous handfuls shredded Jack cheese
¼ red onion, thinly sliced
1 avocado, thin sliced
1 fresh jalapeño, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter


Top 2 bread slices with half of cheese, red onions, avocado, a few slices of jalapeño, remaining cheese and bread.

Heat 1 tablespoon each of oil and butter in a large over medium heat until butter melts. Place whole sandwiches in butter and cook until bread on one side is golden and crisp, about 5 minutes.

Remove sandwich to plate temporarily.

Wipe out pan with a paper towel to remove burnt bread/cheese bits. Add another tablespoon each of oil and butter. Place sandwiches back in pan to cook the other side until bread is golden and crisp, about another 5 minutes.

Cut sandwiches in half along the bias to make triangles and serve.

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