I should also mention that you should never, never eat “store-bought” pimento cheese. Ugh. That really is gross. It’s often like some kind of cheese sauce with gloppy big pimento pieces in it. If you can’t see the shreds of cheese, don’t eat it.
That means you have to make it from scratch if you plan to eat pimento cheese. This isn’t as hard as it sounds. It’s fine to use cheese that is already grated. Just remember to mix it up ahead of time to give the flavors time to mingle.
My daughter, Beth, makes the tastiest pimento cheese, and she learned from the best: Daisy King, better known in these parts as “Miss Daisy,” Tennessee’s “First Lady of Southern Cooking.” She has been a maker and promoter of southern food delights for many years. Miss Daisy’s a wonderful cook and a graceful southern lady, and she’s had several eating establishments through the years, beginning with a tearoom in an antebellum home that was hugely successful several years ago. More recently my daughter worked at the “City Market,” part grocery and part restaurant, and Miss Daisy was her mentor there.
Beth has modified Miss Daisy’s recipe a bit, mostly because it calls for Durkee’s sauce and we don’t keep that on hand at our homes. Pimento cheese is a bit like deviled eggs – everyone likes certain things included and has their own take on it. Here is Beth’s recipe – um, um, good!
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated (if you buy the already-grated kind, get it finely grated)
1 – 4 oz. jar pimentos, drained and chopped
½ cup mayonnaise (you do know that Hellman’s and Duke’s are the best – right?)
½ tsp garlic salt (or to taste)
1/3 cup minced parsley (adds that all important color)
Mix the mayo, garlic salt, parsley and pimentos first, then add the grated cheese. Refrigerate. Delicious on a sandwich or served with crackers.