By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal
Back in April, co-worker Errol Castens sent me a link to a column Wright Thompson had written about pimento cheese. Thompson is a senior writer for ESPN.com who lives in Oxford.
Thompson was writing from the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, Ga., where he routinely downs several of the sandwiches wrapped in green plastic bags each year.
In the column, Thompson writes: “A note for the Yankee readers: This sandwich is a divine concoction, made with a mayonnaise-based cheese spread and white bread. Wonder Bread, if it’s available. It is a Southern staple, of tailgates and church picnics, made for baby showers and for funerals. When my daddy died, a neighbor brought over a bag of them. I sat at our kitchen table, eating one after another. They are comfort food.”
I must admit, I was not a pimento cheese fan growing up. In fact, no one in our family really was, except for my mother. And even though she was an excellent cook, she didn’t make homemade pimento cheese. Instead, she would buy little plastic tubs of Mrs. Weaver’s at the A&P that was down the street from our house.
So I was probably in my mid-30s when I tasted my first homemade pimento cheese at the Neshoba County Fair. And I couldn’t get enough of it. Forget the Wonder Bread. Forget the crackers. I just took a spoon and dug into the Ball jar it had been stored in and ate until I made myself sick.
In Thompson’s column, he included a recipe for pimento cheese that had belonged to his grandmother, Olga Wright Thompson. This was the recipe he grew up eating, the one he makes today and spreads between two slices of white bread before cutting the crusts off and then cutting each sandwich into three skinny finger sandwiches.
I know what I’ll be making this weekend.
2 (10-ounce) blocks extra sharp Cheddar cheese
2 small jars of pimentos
11⁄2 teaspoons Worcestershire
1 teaspoon grated onion
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Grate cheese coarsely. Add pimentos, Worcestershire, onion and garlic. Add enough mayonnaise to achieve the right consistency (it should be easily spreadable but not runny). Add salt and pepper to taste.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.