Pimento Cheese

Somebody get me a big ol’ glass of sweet tea, a front porch, and a sunny summer day. That’s what I want to accompany my latest snack: pimento cheese.

In preparing food for a friend’s baby shower, I realized I needed a better recipe for pimento cheese. Because, you know, you can’t have a baby shower in the south without pimento cheese, right?

I turned to my friend Josh, who recently had a conversation with me about a pimento cheese made with Velveeta instead of cheddar. I really shouldn’t knock it until I try it – Frankie’s mom apparently makes her killer pimento cheese with the gooey, melty “cheese product” also. But, I am a firm believer that there is a time and a place for Velveeta, namely whenever one wishes to make Rotel dip. I would forgive – nay, encourage – the inclusion of Velveeta under the following additional circumstances: in a grilled cheese sandwich, homemade macaroni and cheese, or melted and slathered atop steamed broccoli (don’t hate; used to be the only way I’d eat anything green). But, when it comes to pimento cheese, I’m more of a traditionalist. I want the sharp, tangy bite of cheddar that contrasts with the creaminess of some sort of mayonnaisey-cream cheesy base. The recipe I’d been using just wasn’t cutting it.

So, Josh supplied me with two pimento cheese recipes from his mom, who used to be a caterer and is an amazing cook. One was his grandmother’s recipe and incredibly simple – cheddar, mayo & pimentos with juice – but the second one, from (and I quote) “some restaurant in Athens, Georgia” stood out as what I’d been looking for. I had in mind to create a pimento cheese like the heavenly spread I had recently at Sun In My Belly (if you go? get the pimento/bacon/lettuce/fried green tomato sandwich. you’re welcome.). This recipe totally delivered. In fact, I’m having to exercise a good deal of restraint in not eating it all before tomorrow’s shower.

Pimento Cheese

1 8 -oz block of cream cheese

1 lb sharp cheddar, shredded (I bought a block of “good” cheddar and shredded it myself)

1 7-oz jar of pimentos (I drained them)

2 Tablespoons mayo

1 Tablespoon worcestershire sauce

1 generous pinch salt (my addition)

Using a hand mixer, combine all the ingredients together. Works best if you first whip the cream cheese, then whip in the mayo & worcestershire, then the cheese, then pimentos.

Spread on saltines, white bread, or eat with pita chips.

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