The Truth About The $28,000 Grilled Cheese Sandwich

What constitutes a good grilled cheese sandwich recipe? At its most basic, it's white bread, American cheese, and butter — the quintessential childhood lunch, next to chicken strips and macaroni and cheese. If you want to get really fancy, you could use a blend of cheeses such as swiss, mozzarella, or smoked gouda instead of American cheese or experiment with different types of bread (or even mashed potatoes, should you follow Food52's advice). No matter how it's made, you can't really imagine a simple sandwich of bread and cheese can be that expensive, right?

While your day-to-day grilled cheese may be a cheap and fast lunch, there are some grilled cheeses that rise above white bread and Kraft Singles. In New York's Serendipity 3 restaurant, you can pay $214 for a grilled cheese made with French bread baked with 23-karat gold, rare Italian cheeses, and a tomato bisque made with lobster, according to CNBC. But, there's a grilled cheese that outranks even the gold-topped sandwich, selling for an amazing $28,000.

What makes this sandwich so expensive isn't being made with gold or imported cheese, or prepared by some of the world's finest chefs. The value of the sandwich comes from who seems to appear on the blackened exterior of the bread.

A grilled cheese with the face of the Virgin Mary

It's 2004 and, since Facebook and Twitter are still some years away, you're spending your time scrolling through eBay to see what sort of stuff folks are selling. In between old magazines and collections of toys, you may notice an unusual offer up for bid: a grilled cheese sandwich, notable only in the fact that it has a bite taken out of it. That, and that it looks like the face of the Virgin Mary is baked into the bread.

As NBC News reported at the time, the "Virgin Mary grilled cheese" was the 10-year-old treasure of one Diana Duyser of south Florida. Duyser told the publication that a decade before, she was eating her sandwich when, after taking a bite out of it, she noticed that she could see a woman's face on the side. Believing it to be the face of the Virgin Mary, Duyser quickly locked the sandwich in a clear box surrounded by cotton balls. After several unsuccessful attempts to sell the blessed sandwich, Duyser found a buyer in the form of Golden Palace, an online casino, which paid her $28,000 in exchange for the Madonna-emblazoned grilled cheese.

This isn't the first time some have seen religious figures in the food. In 2017, a man in Maine attempted to sell a piece of toast that had the face of Jesus Christ burnt into it for $25,000 (via News Center Maine).