PIMENTO CHEESE

PIMENTO CHEESE

I am not usually a picky eater, I try to be open to new and different foods. There are even a few odd things that I do eat like the occasional grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich. As they say, “Don’t knock it until you try it.” (This is not peanut butter and jelly on toast – when I say grilled, I mean  “grilled” peanut and butter sandwich where you make the sandwich, butter the bread and grill it in a pan on the stove.) I do have a word of caution –  If you give it a try, do be careful the contents may be hot and a bit messy as well, but it is worth a little mess.

Yet, there is at least one food that I do not like – I do not like it here or there, I do not like it anywhere and that is a pimento cheese sandwich. It has taken me the better part of fifty years to communicate this little piece of information to my Mother, but I think I finally have it firmly established. I am not really certain why I do not like pimento cheese; in fact I am not really certain what a pimento is. So, I conducted an exhaustive and lengthy two-minute search on the Internet and I discovered that a pimento is actually a pepper!

The pimento is a large, red, heart-shaped chili pepper that grows to be 3-4 inches long and 2-3 inches wide. They say that the flesh of the pimento is “sweet, succulent and more aromatic” than that of the red bell pepper. Now tell me, have you ever seen a whole pimento pepper? Do you know anyone who ate a whole pimento pepper? If these peppers are so succulent why are there only two know uses for them in the civilized world: 1) sticking them in the middle of a green olive and 2) adding them to a ton of sharp cheddar cheese, a half ton of mayonnaise, a little salt and a little pepper to make pimento cheese spread which, obviously is a lot more cheese and mayonnaise than pimento. It is a little known fact that because they cut these peppers up so small, the entire world-wide crop of pimento peppers is grown on less than a ½ acre in the backyard of a guy in Mississippi.

I hear that Pimento cheese is very popular in the South and, oddly enough, in the Philippines as well. I usually like Southern comfort foods and I have deep southern roots, I have lived in the south and the “deep south”, but I have never acquired a taste for pimento cheese. I acquired a taste for black-eyed peas, grits, even okra, but not pimento cheese.

I am told that you can’t find pimento cheese in Boston, maybe I will take a trip up there and introduce them to grilled peanut butter and jelly.

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