Serious as a heart attack. When my dad was in the army in the mid-1970’s my family spent the weekend on the water chucking Heddon chuggers. Legend has it that my dad even bought his first bass boat with the dimensions of our play pen in mind. Now it probably sounds bizarre in our highly nanny-fied world, but with a whole lot of sunscreen and really big hats we spent countless weekends getting up at the crack of dawn and coming home at dark-thirty to chase the biggest bass around the lakes of Texas.
This required a little planning in the food department. As all hikers and campers and boaters know, packing “on the move” food is an art. At least in a boat you can have a giant cooler. My mom knew how to fill a cooler. Her signature dish…pimento cheese. Some of you made that ”ewwww” noise. I heard it. But I’m here to tell you that well made pimento cheese is just about the best thing in the world. And it is amazing just how badly some people make it.
Now there is no more bass boat. But I still make a lot of pimento cheese. We eat it in sandwiches. My husband likes it on plain white bread. I like it on toast with lettuce and bacon and pickles. It is also great on celery with a ton of fresh cracked black pepper and it is amazing on sliced apples. Pitts and I once drove from Dallas to Arizona eating nothing but pimento cheese on apples and Triscuits.
And when I am in a happy sort of mood, I’ll put sliced fresh jalapenos in it.
I think some people think you should gussy it up with extra spices or they stir it so much that it turns into a mashed up wad. Not me. For me, it is simply the fresh cold ingredients and only a few turns of the wrist. Nothing more is needed. And in my exceptionally humble opinion, any other work messes with a uniquely simple All-American summer dish that is delicious in its very simplicity.
For every pound of shredded cheese you will need a cup of mayonnaise (I strongly recommend Hellman’s). And for every pound of cheddar you will need one and a half jars (4 oz. jars) of pimentos. I recommend draining the pimentos and then chopping them a bit more. Quality matters here. Use good sharp or medium cheddar cheese. The cheese behaves better cold. So, after you shred it, put it back in the fridge for a bit before adding the pimentos and mayonnaise. It is also easier to shred when it is nice and cold. If you are worried because it looks like there is too much mayonnaise, don’t worry. The cheese somehow absorbs it and by the next day all is well. And you really need to let it chill and sit in the refrigerator before serving it.
So if your mom never made you pimento cheese, give this a try. If your mom did make pimento cheese and you turned up your nose at it give it a try. If the only pimento cheese you have ever had was purchased in a tub in the grocery store, try it homemade. It is a totally different ball game.
Now I just need to get my dad to teach me how to deep fry fish.
|Pimento Cheese|| |
- 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 6 ounces pimentos, drained and chopped
- black pepper
- Shred a cold block of cheddar cheese. I do not recommend pre-shredded cheese.
- Fold the mayonnaise into the cold cheese. Try not to mash the cheese as you go.
- Add the pimentos and mix them into the cheese and mayonnaise. Store in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. The cheese will absorb mayonnaise as it chills. Season with black pepper.