#FRIDAYFOOD — A Southern Favorite: Pimento Cheese


You will find them at just about every Southern gathering and everyone has a different way to make it, but make no mistake, people LOVE pimento cheese sandwiches.

There are people like me who prefer it as a dip with Scoops chips, and there are those who are very particular about their ingredients. I interviewed a lady one time who put Ranch dressing mix in her pimento cheese recipe.

Jessie Frye said she liked her pimento cheese sandwiches on thick sliced bread and toasted!

“Ms. Addie Gary used to make the best pimento cheese,” Frye said. “Wish I had got her recipe! Have tried different recipes, but none like hers!!” (If anyone has Addie Gary’s recipe for pimento cheese, please send to gwenwoodssisson@yahoo.com. THANKS!)

My friend Jo Faulkenbery insists that it must have homemade sweet pickles in the mix. Patricia Nettles said, “you must add some hot sauce. Not enough to be hot but just to add a layer of flavor.”

Kate Dickson said, “my mother could really make this, but I don’t have a real recipe.” While Michelle Griffin Cresap said she loves the pimento cheese sandwich at Newk’s restaurants.

Kelli Langlois Bozeman said pimento cheese is the best! My favorite pimento cheese tale is about how popular the sandwiches are at the Masters golf tournament, where they still sell them for just $1.50. Wrapped in green sandwich bags, the pimento cheese at the Masters is hard to beat. Some say it is just part of the Masters tradition and it wouldn’t taste right in any other location — there may be some truth to that! The Masters Golf Tournament is not giving away their secret recipe. Fans are just left wondering.

I asked Facebook and Twitter friends to share how they make pimento cheese sandwiches, since everyone has a different take on the recipe, and I was not disappointed.

·         One of my FAVORITE chefs chimed in with his special take on pimento cheese. Jay Yates of The Veranda said he uses sharp cheddar, cream cheese, pimentos, Hellman’s (mayonnaise), minced jalapeño (optional), little salt and white pepper.
Mix until you can’t see cream cheese!

·         Erika Christ Fason uses shredded cheddar cheese, small jar of pimentos, and mayo. “No real recipe, just mix until it looks right.”

·         Mary Love Mortimer Tagert said she uses her aunt Virginia Brock‘s recipe, which (in addition to cheese and pimentos) has green onions, garlic powder, and a little Mrs. Dash. “I use as little mayo as possible.”

·         Margie Pepper uses 1 lb. American Deluxe cheese, 4 ounces pimento, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Mix this well. Hellman’s or Blue Plate mayonnaise to taste. “I like enough to spread easy.”

·         Jan Bennett said you have got to put Worcestershire sauce! One teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce and cream cheese and it’s great!! Let cream cheese sit and get real soft! Then add Cheddar cheese, garlic power and mayo. “You talking about good. Good!!”

·         Bryan Carrubba uses equal parts colby-jack and Swiss, twice the pimento you think you need, a dash of Texas Pete’s, and some really good mayo, homemade if you want. Mix well. Refrigerate overnight. “Good stuff, Maynard!”

·         Tammy Carroll said her favorite is 1/2 white cheddar and 1/2 extra sharp cheese, freshly grated. Add a little garlic powder and a smidge of cayenne, pimento, and your favorite mayo. YUMMY!

·         Paula Allen Rumore likes sharp white cheddar, mayo, pimento, creole seasoning, cayenne pepper, dash of Worcestershire and hot sauce. “Yum! I never measure. Just throw everything in a bowl and mix until I get it like I like it.”

·         Tracy Hood Palmer uses cheddar, cheddar-jack mix, and shredded pepper jack. Mix with pimentos, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, paprika, and Tony’s. Add mayo and sweet relish (just a little). Her friend, Randee Jernigan, said  “Annnnnnnd….it is the BEST!!! I love Tracy Hood Palmer’s pimento.”

·         Christie Bailey Colvin uses four cups of smoked gouda, 1 jar undrained minced pimento, enough mayo (Blue Plate) to make it creamy, dash of hot sauce. Best if mixed and allowed to sit overnight in the fridge.

·         Shirley Wiltshire finely grates red rind cheese only. She uses chopped pimento and black pepper with Blue Plate or Hellman’s mayonnaise in her recipe.

·         Wendy Stoker Rushing also uses red rind cheese grated in her pimento cheese recipe. She grates an onion, fine (mostly get juice and pulp), chopped pimento, Blue Plate mayonnaise, salt and pepper. “This recipe always gets loads of compliments,” Rushing said. “(We like the bread) toasted and on top of hamburgers!”

·         Beth Sykes Collum uses 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, 8 oz. cream cheese, ½ cup mayonnaise, ½ teaspoon onion powder, four oz. diced pimentos, drained and ½ dried mustard. With an electric mixer, mix the cheddar cheese and cream cheese together. Mix for 2-3 minutes. Add in the mayo and mix. Add in the garlic powder, paprika, onion powder and dry mustard. Stir everything together. Mix in the pimentos. Refrigerate for at least 10-15 minutes before serving.

·         Angie Yeager Crenshaw loves smoked Gouda, cayenne pepper, mayonnaise, cream cheese, jalapeños, pimento, salt and pepper in her pimento cheese.

·         Sherry Bell Johnson uses extra sharp white cheddar, sharp yellow cheddar finely grated (I use a very fine grater), pimento, dash of Tony’s, lots of black pepper and dash of Worcestershire and mayo and it’s got to be Blue Plate! “It is good!!!”

·         Pat Jefcoat uses shredded sharp cheddar, pimento, mayonnaise, and hot sauce.

I agree with Connie Medders: “Yummy!” I can’t wait to experiment with some of these variations of pimento cheese this summer.

Do you have a favorite way to make pimento cheese that’s not listed here? Email me at gwenwoodssisson@yahoo.com

 

This column was featured in the June 15, 2017 edition of The Winona Times.

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