So, sometimes, work gets really hectic. You are sitting there, hanging out at the Cheese Shop, minding your business, maybe fiddling with some raclette, when out of nowhere, SOMEBODY decides that they can’t just have one cheese store. Oh no. There must be two. And, understandably so, the second one has to be bigger and better than the first. Which throws everything into pandemonium and soon you find yourself at brunch meetings and afternoon coffee meetings and meetings over takeout and walking through construction sites, avoiding flying woodchips and large sheets of metal and then waking up in bed with all your clothes on and the lights on blast and your Facebook is open to somebody’s profile that you only made out with that one time but insist on following their every online move and your iTunes has moved into extensive “The Essential Hall & Oates,” which has been giving you 80′s inspired anxiety dreams….
Needless to say. I’ve been very busy. And yes, we are in the process of opening up a second location. And yes, it will sell cheese. And no, I don’t want to talk about it, because my hair might just all fall out at once in an anxious fit. Let’s save that exciting news for some other, less crazy time. But, because of this, I have been seriously neglecting my one pride and joy: the BCS blog. So. Let’s hop back on board, get to sailing the internet seas, and just…relax together. (HAHAHAHA. I haven’t done that in about 2 and a half years. But nice try…)
Regardless, all of this has led me to attempt to try and simplify. Easy-peasy-finger-sandwiches-by-the-pool-see-you-at-brunch-let’s-take-a-nap livin’. I’ve put aside my usual Big Gulp of Piña Colada, and decided to look into comfort food. What would workers from time of yore do in my current work situation? Those who had no time to stop what they were doing and watch the entire Beyoncé music video oeuvre? Those who had to work while they ate, lest their shillings be thrown to the pelicans and dogs? (That last one is a historical fact. That actually happened.)
So clearly, this mysterious road led me to the only place I could go: the world of Pimento cheese. Duhhhhh obviously.
I never grew up with pimento cheese. In fact, I don’t think I had pimento cheese until last fall when my mom presented me with a platter of hors d’oeuvres that she forgot to put out for her book club. After promptly scoffing, rolling my eyes, doing a quick “I win” lap around the kitchen, I ended up back at the plate, shoving as many little toothpick bite-sized mouthfulls as I could. Dates filled with pimento and then wrapped in prosciutto. Sure! Why not! I’ll gladly eat…oh…75 or 90 of those?
So what’s the deal? What is pimento cheese?
Apparently, it’s a big f-ing deal. Who knew. So, for all those people who have been reading my ramble and politely nodding, here you go. Pimento cheese: a spread made from shredded cheese, mayo, pimentos, salt, and pepper. Mixed together. It can be either smooth. Or chunky. Supposedly every MeMaw in the South has her own special recipe with mystical ingredients that can only be found in the deepest swamps. Some people put cream cheese in it. Jalapeños. Worcestshire sauce. Relish. Paprika. Onions. Garlic. The list goes on. Basically. It’s real good, and you spread it on things.
Robert F. Moss, a food writer and historian from Charleston, South Carolina, seems to be the only person who has publicly recorded the origins of this food product. Props to you Robby Moss. It’s a long story (see here if you want to read the whole thing) but I shall try to do justice and paraphrase. Ok. It’s the end of the 19th century. Dude farmers in New York state have just invented cream cheese. Other dude bros are starting to import sweet, red peppers from Spain, which were known as “pimientos.” Bitches went crazy and mixed these two trendy food items together, made them into a brick, wrapped it up in silver foil, and BANG-O. Pimento cheese. Because the junk didn’t last long in foil, peeps started putting it in jars so that it could live on your shelf, unrefrigerated, for most of eternity. Excellent.
So enter stage right the noble South. They took one look at this packaged cheese spread and guffawed and decided that they would just make it themselves. And do it better. And eat it all the time. And make it their own thing. So they started adding shredded cheese and sparkles and white glove bits and whatever else they wanted. They brought it to baseball games, church socials, G.D. Future Women of American Gardens meetings. EVERYWHERE. It became really popular with farmers and day laborers, who would make pimento cheese sandwiches to eat on the go. Every Gangy and Poppop had a jar of their own creation in the frigidaire and it become a part of a collective regional food culture! (See what I did with that?!?! Proof: I went to college and learned more than how to take a midterm after eating a plate of pot brownines…) And then it kind of died out. And then. In the 1980′s, when everyone was all “Hey look! Cocaine! Hey! I have an idea! What did they eat in the 1920′s?” all these big Southern cooks decided to start including the comfort foods of their youthz. Ta-da. Pimento cheese: back and bigger than all y’all.
It has become a definite nostalgia food item. People almost like the idea of eating it more than the actual product. But. All in all. Pimento cheese is rather mind-numbingly delicious. So. Because I have to go and debate tote bag design and colate e-mail listservs, here is my favorite lady…PAULA DEEN…teaching y’all how to make pimento cheese. Because if anyone knows how, Paula definitely knows how to make some mayo cheese spread. So enjoy. I promise you will get more exciting posts soon. Once my brain stops running 10,000 miles a minute. Love y’all!
Pre-diabetes! And now for a little humor….