Say Cheese

So pimiento cheese — a key element in the play — is definitely a conversation starter. When I mentioned that I made a batch, reactions were varied: “That’s something you can make?” or “What in the world goes in there?”

Recipes can and do vary. Mine was simple: cheddar cheese, monterey jack, mayo, dill pickles, garlic, and, of course, pimientos.

Photo by RastaChango on Flickr

And then, that’s where more questions start: “What’s a pimiento?”

A pimiento, also spelled pimento, is a sweet red pepper. It’s the same thing that’s stuffed inside an olive. Learn more about them at Wikipedia, the world’s tutor.

Many people confuse pimiento cheese with pimiento loaf, which, in my experience, is a processed cold cut (like bologna) studded with olives. Eww.

I’ve also found that many people are afraid of pimiento cheese. Admittedly, it is an unusual color — it comes from the orange cheddar saturated with bits of red pepper. Another reason to be afraid of it, also a valid concern, is the ridiculous amount of fat and calories in the dish. But really, have you ever heard of a Southern comfort food that is NOT dripping with artery-clogging goodness? Just go with it.

Besides, it’s a spread, meant to be schmeared on; I don’t recommend eating it out of the bowl with a spoon. Well, you might want to, because it’s really tasty, but maybe you don’t want to admit to anyone that you do that. Especially not to the blogosphere.

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