Sunday, January 24, 2010

Cloudy Days and Pimento Cheese

I've been thinking a lot about light lately.  Or more accurately the absence of light. It's been nine days now without a sunny day. I thought I'm lucky because I haven't plunged into a desperate gloom even though everything is gray. I thought I've been doing well to avoid the winter ick.  I've been working out nearly everyday.  I've been eating plenty of oranges. But sometimes, the winter ick gets a hold of me no matter what.  Sometimes I just snap.  Sometimes it's been cold and cloudy for days on end, and someone puts an empty bowl back into the fridge.
And sometimes I am enraged.  You see, the empty bowl had contained bright, creamy, spicy pimento cheese.  When it's bleak and rainy, well, a bit of orangey cheese and pimento dabbed on a cracker is quite nice.

Pimento, I know, sounds strange.  It is a sort of retro-throwback. It reminds me of my father's longtime favorite lunchmeat: pickle and pimento loaf--a type of bologna studded with tiny flecks of pickles and pimentos or "p&p" as we affectionately called it.  And, this pimento cheese spread, well it's really no different, something rather humble, but absolutely delisious and known to always hit the spot.  Which is why, I suppose, it did not survive midnight snacking at my house.

I first had pimento cheese at Johnny's Cafe when I was waitress there.  The chef used to make pimento cheese for wine tastings.  It was a perfect compliment to the 70s style iceburg lettuce wedges with bleu cheese and the prime rib Johnny's is famous for.  Of course, the chef would gussy up the pimento cheese by laying it on a bed of Bibb lettuce and serving it with crustinis.  People loved it.  They always wanted to know what was in it, but we were sworn to secrecy.

I had forgotten all about it until this December.  Andrew Knowlton, the BA Foodist, recommended it to a reader as a economical crowd-pleasing canape, and he was spot on.  Luckily, I attended a party this week in which the hostess was savvy enough to make pimento cheese from Knowlton's recipe.

Oh my goodness, I didn't realize how long it's been.  I was so enamored with the delightful spread, my hostess even sent me home with the leftovers.  (And we know how that worked out, so I'll stop now.)  Anyway, I didn't stay angry long because this spread is a cinch to make.  It's a quick mixture of shredded cheddar, mayo, and pimento.  So, click on over to Bon Appetit and grab the recipe.  Whip up a batch, and your day will feel sunnier even if the weather doesn't cooperate. 


Amanda McGuire Rzicznek said...

Yay! I'm glad I could add some sunny to the dreary winter! And I'm totally honored that you loved it so much. I was fond of it too, but I had no idea it would be that big of a crowd pleaser.

hansloas said...

I hate to bring up photography class in this post, but I love that picture.