|Lump crab cake from crabcakesexpress.com, a must have when|
living in/visiting Maryland. And, this has nothing to do with pimento cheese.
[Description: a high domed crab cake]
Well, now that I've moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, part of becoming a native is to have some pimento cheese. And, just as Baltimoreans could argue over whether there should be more or less breading, how much oil should be in the pan when frying, and whether any other lump meat should be used besides Colossal or Jumbo, the die-hard advocates for pimento cheese are everywhere with their strong opinions (more like catechisms!) about what goes into making the "perfect pimento cheese." They are staunch in their beliefs, and are willing to go beyond the thought that pimento cheese is a nice spread. They are ready to tell you what makes it a delicacy bordering on manna from heaven.
|Chicken & Pimento Cheese Tostitos (courtesy of My Three Sons)|
Funny thing, before I tasted it, I kept thinking, "What could be so fantastic about a mound of cheddar cheese spread?" That was my first mistake, but fortunately, I didn't utter this sacrilege out loud. I had no idea that when mixed with a small amount of mayonnaise, roasted red peppers and allowed to chill that cheddar cheese becomes transformed to a type of holy food.
So, I bought a tub of the stuff...from a grocery store. Big mistake, I was told by purists. If you are not going to make it yourself, then at least have the decency to buy from someone who cares! "Alright, alright!" I exclaimed, somewhat embarrassed at my cheesy (pun intended) attempt.
My next foray was into a Harris Teeter, where they had their own brand and several others jockeying for my attention. I picked out two brands and had an epiphany! Definitely, here were people who cared! OMGoodness! Here is the reason this deliciousness has survived throughout the generations and only continues to get better and better.
|My Three Sons Original pimento cheese [Description: Tub of pimento cheese]|
|Three flavors currently on the market from My Three Sons [Description: Emmy's Original, Fire Roasted Jalapeno and Spicy White Cheedar pimento cheese]|
MTS is a chunky version that simply bursts with the tang of high quality cheddar. Nothing much else gets in the way of that taste, and I finished the contents of the generous 10 oz. tub in one short sitting. Based on a family recipe, it retains the feeling of a homemade treasure, something difficult to do once commercial. I decided this brand was a delicacy for me in my stingier moods. I mean, I could try to share it, but more likely, I will point you to the nearest Whole Foods or Fresh Market. No disrespect to any of my BFFs, but it is that good. This tub is mine, get your own. If you are looking for recipes from My Three Sons, please go here.
Next up was Palmetto Pimento Cheese in a slightly larger tub of 12 oz. Manufactured out of Pawley's Island, South Carolina by Sea View Inn owners, Sassy and Brian, this version piles on the flavor as well with just a little heat in both of the flavors I tried. I bought a Jalepeno and a Bacon, and while the Jalepeno was pleasantly mild enough to eat with crackers, tortilla chips and my personal favorite, BBQ potato chips, the Bacon has become a household mainstay.The minute you peel back the cover, the smoky bacon aroma hits you, and the combination of cheese and bacon comes together so smoothly, your mind will automatically begin to think "How many different ways can I use this?"
|Palmetto Cheese. Go to the website to read the story about the woman featured on the lid.||[Description: Three tubs of Palmetto Pimento cheese stacked on top of each other: Jalapenos, Original, Bacon]|
At a Palmetto Cheese demo in Harris Teeter, I picked up recipes for a Sausage Dip and Deviled Eggs. But, please, go to the website and look through all their recipes. We have already made the Cheesy Grits, and I have eaten this stuff on everything from ice-cold celery sticks to whole wheat toasted tortilla triangles.
So, as you have probably guessed by now, I am a convert. There will be a tub of pimento cheese in my fridge at any given time of the year. I am stuck on these two brands, but please feel free to let me know of a favorite brand where you live. Also, if you have a favorite recipe (possibly passed down from a past generation?), and you feel like sharing, please feel free to post a link or the whole recipe!
Pimento Cheese. You don't have to be southern to love it, but realize if you live anywhere near the south, you are going to have someone tell you about "the best pimento cheese in town!" And, I will be in line!