Friday, April 23, 2010

Pimento cheese is the glue that holds the South together*


The next few weeks are going to be pretty crazy here.  My classmates, husband and I have already experienced an overwhelming mix of knowledge, class load, and life.  But what has been experienced a few days here and there is now going to be spread out over a few constantly busy weeks.  When there's so much going on in life, it is always good to have some bit of simplicity.  This week, pimento cheese has brought a bit of simplicity in our lives. 

Pimento cheese is one of the main southern staples.  It is found at most deli counters, many refrigerators, and an imposter version is processed and in a jar at every grocery store (I don't recommend this kind).  True pimento cheese is simplicity on a sandwich, composed primarily of cheese, jarred pimentos, and mayonnaise. 

However, it is also quite controversial and often elicits responses of hatred and disgust, usually from those who have only tried the imposter version.  Most of those who love pimento cheese seem to prefer it with some heat, or at least a savory version.  However, there are a few who like a slightly sweet version.  I happen to be one of those.  Please don't run in horror or throw sticks at me. 

This pimento cheese does make a wonderful sandwich, but my favorite way to enjoy it is on a ginger snap or graham cracker.  The juxtaposition of (mostly) savory and sweet is good, just like baked brie and cranberries or cream cheese with sweet pepper jelly on ginger snaps.  If you like those flavor combinations, chances are you'll probably like this, too.  And if you don't, I have plans to try a savory, spicy pimento cheese in the coming months. 


Pimento Cheese

8 oz Muenster cheese
8 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese
8 oz mozzarella cheese
8 oz Monterrey jack cheese
1/4 cup sugar
7-8 oz jarred pimentos
1 cup Hellmann's or Duke's mayonnaise

Grate the cheeses using a food processor or a box grater.  Put the cheese in a large bowl.  Add the sugar, and toss together.  Add the pimentos with their juice and toss together (until the pimentos are well dispersed).  Stir in the mayonnaise. 

The pimento cheese will be very soft when just prepared, but it will become more stiff after refrigerated for a few hours.  Store pimento cheese in a covered container.  Serve on sandwiches, celery sticks, ginger snaps, or graham crackers. 

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*This blog post title comes from Being Dead is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral.
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14 comments :

DessertForTwo said...

Amen! Pimento cheese is the glue that holds the South together--I love it! It's so true!
I've never seen a recipe like yours, with some many different types of cheese. I will have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing! :)

coltpixy said...

I'm going to try this tomorrow. I love pimento cheese but the stuff in the stores just is nowhere near as good as what my grandmother used to make.
Thanks for sharing the recipe!

Julie M. said...

I think that now that I'm living in the south, I'll need to try this. I've been one of those that tried the processed version and honestly didn't know it came any other way! Your recipe sounds delicious though and I love that combo of flavors together. I see some pimento in my future. :)

Justine said...

I think I read about pimento cheese in the lee brother's southern cookbook recently- sounds great!

Mhel said...

I remember my mom used to make this as my "lunchbox meal". Love your pimiento, theres so much cheese in it. Im a true blue quesophiliac. Dropping by from SITS!

grace said...

i'll keep my sticks to myself--your version sounds great! i feel so sad for those folks who've never had authentic pimento cheese. :)

citymouse said...

When I was a girl growing up in NYC my mom would buy Kraft Pimento Spread and I loved it! (Do they even still make this?) I've never had authentic pimento cheese, but I have no doubt that I would love it even more. I want to give it a whirl, but not so sure about the gingersnaps.

Julie said...

When I was growing up my dad took pimento cheese for his lunch almost every day! And I thought it was so gross. But now that I'm older I'm starting to look at it a little different, and I think yours looks great!

♥peachkins♥ said...

I always love good pimiento cheese!

blowing peachkisses
The Peach Kitchen
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dishinanddishes said...

Oh my gosh...YUMMMMM!

Danielle said...

My sister has told me about Pimento Cheese but she keeps forgetting to send me the recipe. WOO HOO!! Now I have it :)

Lula Lola said...

This looks really good. I'll sometimes throw in a handful of toasted and chopped pecans with mine. So good! I've not tried Muenster. It's going on my shopping list!

Becky said...

I actually have this book, so funny. The title is adorable! Love your blog, saw you on Tasty Kitchen. I live in Texas but I am from NC, needless to say, these 2 states are very different! I have yet to embrace the BBQ, it's sad. Thanks for the great recipes. :)

Karen said...

I grew up in New England and moved to California when I was 14. Now I'm in Montana and I've yet to try pimento cheese! Maybe I have to travel to the South :)