Homemade caviar (pimento cheese)

Published 4:48 pm Tuesday, August 25, 2015

I love pimento cheese sandwiches. Let me say that a little differently. I love “homemade” pimento cheese sandwiches.

You might not see pimento cheese sandwiches on the finer and expensive buffets in fancy, city hotels and such, but down home, that unpretentious place that I prefer, there is usually a platter of white bread sandwiches oozing with homemade pimento cheese.

Sometimes the crust has been shaved from the bread and the sandwiches might be triangular quarters, but I can just about guarantee you that the platter of pimento cheese sandwiches will be empty before the butterbeans. Particularly if the platter is near the fried chicken!

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When I say I love “homemade” pimento cheese I mean that I love my momma’s pimento cheese. She makes it in a food blender and adds a little sugar to it. How much?

Don’t ask mommas how much of something they put in a dish.

The answer is always a version of “I don’t know; I never measure.” But, doggone it, how can I duplicate it if I don’t know how much?

I looked up pimento cheese so that I might find a recipe. There are 14, 321 recipes for “Southern” or “Grandma’s” pimento cheese. I was confused, but how difficult can it be to put together three ingredients: cheese, pimentos, mayonnaise? I went to the store to buy the ingredients.

Imagine my surprise when I saw a small plastic container that was exactly what I was looking for. The label could not be clearer: Grandma’s Old Fashioned Southern Pimento Cheese. Gosh, how fortunate I was. Instead of having to invest into cheese, pimentos, and mayonnaise (already had that), then go to all the trouble and mess of putting it all together, why not simply buy the container of Southern Caviar? It was a no-brainer.

I bought Grandma’s Old Fashioned Southern Pimento Cheese, a loaf of white bread, hopefully fresh and soft, and a bag of potato chips. I couldn’t wait to have one of my favorite sandwiches. I would add a glass of sweet tea. Couldn’t wait.

I got home and was admiring the container, which in itself looked old fashioned. For some reason my eyes rested upon the ingredients. I have never been a label-reader. I don’t care how many calories and fat grams are in a portion and, quite frankly, have never been bothered by the “butylated hydroxyanisole.” (Call me if you can pronounce it.)

But, this time I looked at the first ingredient: Substitute American Cheese! What? Grandma’s Old Fashioned Southern Pimento Cheese doesn’t even have real cheese! What next? I find that it’s made in China?

I open up the container. I want to find out what they used to substitute for cheese. I looked closely and it looked like cheese. I was not taught to do this at home, but I stuck my nose pretty close and it smelled like cheese. But the ingredients plainly stated that this company had substituted something in the place of the cheese. What could it be? I finally decided it might be better if I did not know!

Alas, I had lost my appetite for this pimento cheese. I still had the bread so I could fry an egg. We don’t use egg substitute at my house although I have been told there is one. What is the world coming to?

I suppose I will hear soon that the cheese grits my daddy makes with Velveeta doesn’t contain real cheese. As Charlie Brown used to say, “Good grief!”