Say Cheese! I am not from the South, so before this week, I had never tasted the comforting spread native to the region that’s known as pimento cheese. However, I was eager to experience this seemingly exotic food, so I decided to make it. Pimento cheese isn’t a type of cheese, but rather, a seasoned cheese mixture. The main ingredients are sharp cheddar cheese, jarred pimentos (a type of sweet succulent aromatic red pepper), and mayonnaise. The history of pimento cheese is fairly unknown, although it appeared in grocery stores and home kitchens somewhere in the early 1900s. It’s delicious simplicity made it a hit during the Depression, and since then, pimento cheese has remained popular in the South. The tasty spread can be enjoyed on crackers, celery or other veggies, toast, or plain, old crustless white bread.

Pimento Cheese


1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
1 cup grated Monterey Jack
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon House Seasoning, recipe follows
2 to 3 tablespoons pimentos, smashed
1 teaspoon grated onion
Cracked black pepper

1. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth and fluffy.

2. Add all of the remaining ingredients and beat until well blended. It can be used as a dip for crudite or as a sandwich filling.

Makes 3 cups.

House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.