Sharp & Spicy Pimento Cheese (& Grandmama!)
If you’re on Pinterest or Facebook, I’d sure love it if you could use one of those buttons above. Thanks so much!
Pimento Cheese (pronounced pub-men-uh) is a staple in the Southeastern United States – and also in the Philippines. Clearly, this speaks to the wonderful taste of those folks (love y’all!). It’s one of those things we had often growing up and sometimes you just get a hankering that nothing else will satisfy except a good old pimento cheese sandwich.
There are a couple of ways to make pimento cheese but the main two involve sharp cheddar (like this recipe) and Velveeta (click here for the velveeta version). both are delicous in my book. However, at a photo shoot for Taste of the South last weekend, we had wheat crackers and a big old tub of spicy pimento cheese. It was so heavenly that I decided to come home and whip some up to show folks how to make it, just in case you didn’t know. Because not having a little spicy pimento cheese from time to time would be a crying shame. As if I needed another excuse, I got to go visit my Grandmama this past weekend and she loves pimento cheese so it was the perfect little treat to take to her.
My Grandmother is the cute smiling lady in that photo above. She is my mother’s mother and she and I have a lot of things in common, number one being that she is the only person I know that I can call at 4:00 AM to have a chat and cup of coffee with over the phone. She’ll answer the phone “Hellloooo! I’m just a sitting here having me a little coffee.” I’m pretty sure I’m the only person who calls her at this hour but we enjoy our little conversations from time to time when we have them – and every now and then I send her a tin of coffee as a thank you.
There is something very comforting knowing someone else who gets up as early as I do, and no matter how early I get up, I know my Grandmama has likely beat me to the punch.
Grandmama is a joy to talk to because she is the kind of person who always looks on the bright side and I’ve never once seen her get frazzled. I think that living through the depression and growing up as poor as she did acts as a common sense buffer to life. While the rest of the world is running around shouting that the sky is falling, Grandmama remains even keeled, dependable, and always encouraging.
I want to be like her when I’m gray and I’m sure a lot of others feel the same way. But you know what? You don’t just magically turn sweet, kind, and wise when the clock flips over to 65 (Remember, I had 13 living grandparents when I was born, so I got to see contrast here!). You have to start working towards it now. You have to practice looking for joy, especially when other folks are looking for something to complain about. You have to learn to value loving people over judging them, and be more concerned with what is right than being right. These are just the beginning stepping stones but when you seek out things like this in life, wisdom follows. Many of my grandparents walked this path to end up the kind and wise people they were in their older years and I do my best to follow in their steps. I want to be wrinkled and gray, with an easy smile and twinkling eyes and arms strong as an ox surrounded by folks who want hugs from them. That’s a destination worth reaching, so for me, it’s a path worth taking.
Come to think of it, my grandparents who ended up sweet, kind, wise, and loving, all ate pimento cheese on a regular basis. Now I’m not saying this had anything to do with it but there’s no sense in taking any chances – so let’s get mixin’!
You’ll need: Mayo, sharp cheddar, cayenne pepper, pimentos, and some hot sauce.
Note: I always like to point out for the folks who don’t love mayo that I don’t either, so don’t fret over it in this recipe. You really won’t taste it because the cheddar cheese, sauces, and pimentos really overshadow it. We mainly have it in there to hold it all together.
I also like to point out to the folks who are horrified at the thought of a Southerner not liking mayo that I’m a ninth generation Alabamian, my people having lived here long before it even became a state, and in addition to not liking mayo, I also don’t like seafood. I’ll just share in your horror and admit that I have no idea why they haven’t kicked me out of the South over such atrocities but I realize I’m living on borrowed time If anyone would like to step up and offer their state as refuge, I’ll gladly consider it and offer numerous baked goods should I ever become your new neighbor
Grate all of your cheese and put it in a large mixing bowl.
Add drained pimentos and mayo.
Stir that up really good.
Add cayenne pepper and hot sauce and stir again until well blended.
Place this in a covered container and refrigerate several hours, or overnight, to allow flavors to marry.
Note: This is an arranged marriage, some might even say forced. I’m okay with that because these ingredients are far too young to know what is best for them so I, as their guardian, have chosen the best possible partners. Of course, this will lead to their eventual demise, but t’will be a noble way to go.
The next day, take all of that pimento cheese along with some zesty dill pickle spears and kettle chips to your Grandmama’s house.
Make a sandwich on some nicely toasted bread and try to take a picture of it without getting any of your nephew’s legos in the shot.
Give up, because your nephew has too many Legos… decide it would look better with Grandmama holding it anyway.
Ahh, that’s better
“You can often change your circumstances by changing your attitude”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Submitted by Jackie. Submit your quote by clicking here.