Books -- reading and writing.
Home, cooking, the weather.
And whatever connections I can make between these chapters of my life.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Book Food: Pimento Cheese in particular...

Thinking this morning about Food. Especially food in books.
Specifically, my book: GLORY BE.

Since Glory's caretaker, Emma, is a fabulous cook and the two spend a lot of time talking over the kitchen table, food appears frequently in my book. Maybe not as often as it did pre-edits, but it's there. Red Velvet Cake, bacon frying, ditto chicken. So when I think Wine and Cheese for Glory Be's launch party, I'm thinking Wine and (Pimento!) Cheese.

Then I have to worry if I'm spelling it right. A few years ago, a good portion of one of my New Jersey critique group meetings focused on pimento v. pimiento. Two Southerners and one writing about college in the South fought it out. With no satisfactory conclusion.

Now I have it on Good Authority that either is correct.

I'm going with PIMENTO.
My favorite professional foodie told me so. Well, actually he gave me a GREAT book called The New Food Lover's Companion. And did you know that much of the pimento crop is used for Paprika? Or that Pimento is the name of the tree from which ALLSPICE comes.

Chris, my foodie kissing cousin, knew I'd love this book, and I do. His mother, my sister's mother-in-law (are you still with me? I just did that thing we Southerners do: mention three relatives in one sentence) was an all-time great cook. I have longed a jar of Mrs. Carlson's Jerusalem Artichokes for all the years since she stopped making them (picking them from her garden, scrubbing and pickling those little things).

Back to Pimento Cheese. I think I'll make it the way I've always done it. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal calls it Classic Pimento Cheese. They suggest crudite. Not sure about this. White bread was always on my menu. And I doubt I'll roast and seed my own peppers. They do still sell them in the little jars, you know.

(From the Wall Street Journal:)

The Classic
For 25 years, chef Frank Stitt's Highlands Bar and Grill in Birmingham, Ala., has served a platter of pimento cheese and crudité to regulars who know to ask for it (it's not the menu).

The recipe: Shred 1 pound sharp yellow cheddar, then blend it with ¼ pound cream cheese, 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, 3 large red bell peppers (roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped), ½ cup mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon sugar, a splash of hot sauce (such as Tabasco or Cholula), several splashes of Worcestershire and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional). Serve chilled.


Barbara O'Connor said...

I use pimiento, but who aunt makes THE BEST pimiento cheese known to man. Last time I was in NC, I ate THREE sandwiches on white bread. OMG

Mary Ann said...

For years, when I was growing up in Louisiana, my mom made pimiento cheese, and I hated every bite of it. Every time I complained, she said, "You just don't know what's good." I guess I still don't know what's good, because I still hate pimiento cheese, no matter how you spell it.

Eileen Harrell said...

Mmmmmmm, it's almost lunch time...I wish I had some pimento cheese AND your book! January needs to get here so my pre-orders will arrive!

Carol Baldwin said...

SOunds like a recipe for a great party! Enjoy every minute of it!

Lee Stokes Hilton said...

I remember that discussion. Seems to me I was on the side of the pimiento spelling, but -- really -- who cares? My grandmother, Minnie Lee, ALWAYS had some in the frig.

Joyce Moyer Hostetter said...

I'm still hankerin' after the pimento cheese of my childhood which my friend brought to school on white bread. I'm pretty sure it was bought and not homemade but it is the taste that lingers in my memory.

I would love to be at your launch party. Wishing you a marvelous time. I am so happy for you and all the success you are experiencing and are about to.

Augusta Scattergood said...

Joyce, I think you can still buy decent pimento cheese in N.C.
NJ and FLA? Not so much!

Funny how food like this takes you back. I bet I could write about banana bread (which I just made) or even chicken soup, both quite delicious, and get absolutely no strong memories. From any of us!

Augusta Scattergood said...

So. I made pimiento/ pimento cheese for the party. I used my mama's tried and true recipe with a tip from a fabulous cook, my friend Ivy.
Basically, it's sharp cheese, Hellman's mayo (though my mother used homemade), bottled pimentos (I prefer the chopped variety), a dash of Worcestershire (?) sauce and a squeeze of lemon juice.
I did it all in the Cuisenart. Grate cheese first, add mayo. Blend. Then pour a small jar of DRAINED pimentos in, squeeze of lemon juice and the dash of L&P. Easy Peasy.