Pimento Cheese – It’s a Southern Thing
Pimento Cheese. It’s a Southern thing.
Like so many recipes that have been around forever, there are many versions of this one. And, maybe more importantly, often a heated debate about what the “real” version is and why anything other than that version is a blatant and offensive attempt at forgery. I may even go as far as to say that some will cry “sacrilege!” when it’s made differently than their favored way. All I know is that something as simple as cheese, mayonnaise and white bread can definitely be controversial.
Did you know that pimento cheese is one of the most popular sandwich offerings at golf’s Masters Tournament? I didn’t either until I read it on the AttaGirlSays blog.
All I do know is that I make pimento cheese like my momma did. Not that I actually called her momma, but the nomenclature seemed appropriate here given the Southernerness of this post. I never heard Mom defend her recipe or declare it as the authentic Southern version. It was just lunch to her. And I’m here to tell you, nothing screams “wholesome lunch” quite like cheese and mayonnaise served on white bread. If we were visiting our grandmother in Texas, chances are we’d get our pimento cheese sandwiches served with a side of Dr. Pepper. Move over kale. In our house, this is how we do lunch.
Maybe it’s my upbringing, but I can’t imagine eating pimento cheese on anything but white bread. The last time I was in Texas, I ordered a pimento cheese sandwich at what might be the equivalent of a food truck without wheels, and it was served on thick, white “Texas toast” bread. The bread was perfect but my sisters and I couldn’t help but notice that the pimento cheese spread was not as good as Mom’s. Like I said, everyone has an opinion.
When I was just a young’un, I would help Mom make the pimento cheese sandwiches for lunch. My job was to grate the cheese which, quite frankly, I never enjoyed much. I think, because Mom would always point out that I was to use the fine grater to grate the cheese, I found it to be a chore. And as a kid, I wasn’t all that fond of chores. But Mom was right. The consistency is just off if you don’t grate the cheese finely.
Until recently, it seemed that no one north of the South had ever heard of pimento cheese. Then I started seeing it in upscale restaurants where the sandwiches were fancied up by adding things like bacon. I’ve also seen it offered as a grilled sandwich. I thought the changes were just plain wrong until I actually tried a grilled version and, by gum, it does make a great (albeit gooey and messy) toasted sandwich. I’ve also seen something called “pimento cheese sandwich spread” in the grocery deli. So it seems this little gem has been discovered.
Well, this is not one of those foods that you’ll find under “healthy alternatives.” This is good ol’ comfort food. And dang it is good. But if you’re looking for a way to enjoy pimento cheese spread and pretend it’s a teensie bit healthy, it can be served on celery as an appetizer.
Click here to get recipe