April Showers Bring: Pimento Cheese Sandwiches (and the Masters)

 

The American South was my home for 42 of my nearly 54 years (so far) on this earth. In those aforementioned years, I don’t remember ever not knowing about (and understanding the importance of) the Masters and the sacred institution that is the Augusta National Golf Club. For a true Southerner, attending the Masters is, if not a rite of passage, definitely a bucket list item. That’s probably also a true statement for any avid golf fan.

Since I’m not a true Southerner — now, that’s not to say I don’t have a lot of Southern qualities — 42 years is a long time, am I right?! It was inevitable that I adopt at least some Southern traits. But I digress… As a Damn Yankee™ northerner by birth, I always assumed a forgiveness of sorts for never (ever) caring about golf. Yes, golf courses are (usually) pretty beautiful, and Augusta’s course is second to none. See the photographic evidence below:

Nov 10, 2020; Augusta, Georgia, USA; Xander Schauffele, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson walk along the no. 13 fairway during Tuesday’s practice round for the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Davis Tucker/The Augusta Chronicle

Confession: I do miss the trees with all that beautiful, haunting Spanish moss. Sigh, again, I digress…

Yes, I’ve played golf, and several of those times were on very nice courses. It was pleasant to spend time with friends out in the sunshine and sure, it was slightly entertaining to swing the club and see how well I could do. But really, it was a great big “meh” for me.

All of that backstory to get to this gem of an article that was published earlier this month on Atlas Obscura:

The Sandwich Scandal at the Heart of the World’s Greatest Golfing Event

Now, that’s a great headline. Almost as good is the URL slug: /masters-pimento-cheese-sandwich/

Of course, I had to read it, and I was not disappointed. This story has everything:

— Great writing

Sports Golf (sorry, couldn’t resist)

— Drama and secrets (more than a few)

— A reference to the Keebler elves (what?!)

— “Embittered pimento czars” caught up in “PimentoGate” (I have to know more!)

— Sandwiches (not just sandwiches, but pimento cheese sandwiches)

— and, what is allegedly the recipe for the pimento cheese sandwiches served at the Masters in Augusta

Pimento cheese sandwiches were a staple in my childhood and, for the love of all that is holy, I wanted that coveted recipe. Not ashamed to admit that its connection to the epitome-of-all-that-is-Southern Masters tourney was a large part of the allure. Also not ashamed to admit that I searched for other pimento cheese-related content on the web — and felt really, really Southern doing so. That is, until I found this interesting article that said this:

The first time I really looked into the history of pimento cheese, I wrote a long article that opened, “Pimento cheese has a dirty little secret. The ‘pâté of the South’ isn’t really very Southern at all.”

After devouring that article, this Damn Yankee™ northerner by birth had a good laugh and said, “Well, bless their hearts.”

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  1. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Midwest Southerner: Pimento cheese sandwiches were a staple in my childhood

    I hadn’t thought about that in decades. Now I’m hungerated for it.

    • #1
  2. Midwest Southerner Member
    Midwest Southerner
    @MidwestSoutherner

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Midwest Southerner: Pimento cheese sandwiches were a staple in my childhood

    I hadn’t thought about that in decades. Now I’m hungerated for it.

    You’re welcome! ;)

    • #2
  3. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    A guy at work swears by the pimento cheese sandwiches at Augusta National.

    • #3
  4. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    Post the recipe for the Pimento Cheese Sandwiches.  Please.

    • #4
  5. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    My husband’s family is Southern and they have always been gaga for pimento cheese sandwiches.  I enjoy them but being from Pittsburgh, it wasn’t a thing in our house.  Now chipped ham with sweet pickles was a thing. But wow! That beautiful park / course in the picture is stunning – and well – ok I had a nice dinner, but that sandwich picture ……hmmmm – yum

    • #5
  6. Blondie Thatcher
    Blondie
    @Blondie

    I use that same recipe except I don’t use onion. Might have to try that. Also, all good southern cooks use Duke’s mayonnaise. There is no other kind. You have to keep adding mayo cause the cheese “eats” it. I love a good toasted pimento cheese sandwich, but I don’t want pimento cheese on everything. We have a local restaurant that puts it on hamburgers and steaks. Not a fan. And I’m born and raised a good southern girl. 

    • #6
  7. Midwest Southerner Member
    Midwest Southerner
    @MidwestSoutherner

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    My husband’s family is Southern and they have always been gaga for pimento cheese sandwiches. I enjoy them but being from Pittsburgh, it wasn’t a thing in our house. Now chipped ham with sweet pickles was a thing. But wow! That beautiful park / course in the picture is stunning – and well – ok I had a nice dinner, but that sandwich picture ……hmmmm – yum

     It’s still cracking me up that pimento cheese sandwiches really started in New York! 

    Pittsburgh — YES! That’s where both of my parents were born and raised. Still have family (and some friends) there. There’s nothing like Pittsburgh chipped ham. I’ve tried to teach many a deli counter how to do it right, but no luck yet.

    • #7
  8. Midwest Southerner Member
    Midwest Southerner
    @MidwestSoutherner

    Blondie (View Comment):

    I use that same recipe except I don’t use onion. Might have to try that. Also, all good southern cooks use Duke’s mayonnaise. There is no other kind. You have to keep adding mayo cause the cheese “eats” it. I love a good toasted pimento cheese sandwich, but I don’t want pimento cheese on everything. We have a local restaurant that puts it on hamburgers and steaks. Not a fan. And I’m born and raised a good southern girl.

    Our house was a Hellman’s house. I discovered Duke’s after I moved to Atlanta in 1991 — it’s really close to Hellman’s, but (dare I say it?) better. :)

    • #8
  9. Midwest Southerner Member
    Midwest Southerner
    @MidwestSoutherner

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):

    Post the recipe for the Pimento Cheese Sandwiches. Please.

    Ask and you shall receive:

    Masters Pimento Cheese Sandwich Recipe

    From Intentional Hospitality

    2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
    1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
    4 ounces cream cheese
    ½ cup mayonnaise (“just don’t use Miracle Whip—that’s a Northern thing”)
    4-ounce jar pimento peppers, drained and diced
    1 tablespoon onion, very finely minced
    ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
    ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    ¼ teaspoon black pepper

    1. Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and mix until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate the mixture for at least an hour to allow it to become firm.
    2. Serve on white bread.

    • #9
  10. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    If golf wants to be a sport, it needs goalies. Then it will be a sport.

    • #10
  11. EB Thatcher
    EB
    @EB

    I’ve never played golf or been particularly interested in golf, but the first and only golf tournament I ever went to was The Masters.  I went with a guy whose family had had season tickets for 40 years.  It is a gorgeous setting.  But I never got a pimento cheese sandwich.

    • #11
  12. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    This triggered a memory of pimento cheese and fried ham (Spam?) sandwich in a little house-turned-cafe in San Antonio. So, I did a quick search (DuckDuckGo) on “pimento cheese and spam.” The first substantive link was to the Atlas Obscura article.

    Down home, cheesy, or country-fried, make your own post this month!

    There are two major monthly Group Writing projects. One is the Quote of the Day project, now managed by @she. This is the other project, in which Ricochet members claim a day of the month to write on a proposed theme. This is an easy way to expose your writing to a general audience, with a bit of accountability and topical guidance to encourage writing for its own sake.

    Stop by and sign up now for “April Showers Bring . . . .”

    Interested in Group Writing topics that came before? See the handy compendium of monthly themes. Check out links in the Group Writing Group. You can also join the group to get a notification when a new monthly theme is posted.

    • #12
  13. Midwest Southerner Member
    Midwest Southerner
    @MidwestSoutherner

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    Down home, cheesy, or country-fried, make your own post this month!

    Very clever, @cliffordbrown!

    • #13
  14. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    The Wall Street Journal on Monday had a story of t-shirts sold at Augusta during the Masters, with the pimento cheese sandwich on the front.  They sold out before the tournament even started, and can be found selling for big bucks on Ebay.

    • #14
  15. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    My husband’s family is Southern and they have always been gaga for pimento cheese sandwiches. I enjoy them but being from Pittsburgh, it wasn’t a thing in our house. Now chipped ham with sweet pickles was a thing.

    I have only two words: Fried Jumbo.


     

    • #15
  16. Midwest Southerner Member
    Midwest Southerner
    @MidwestSoutherner

    She (View Comment):

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    My husband’s family is Southern and they have always been gaga for pimento cheese sandwiches. I enjoy them but being from Pittsburgh, it wasn’t a thing in our house. Now chipped ham with sweet pickles was a thing.

    I have only two words: Fried Jumbo.

    Yes! I wonder how many will know what that means?

    • #16
  17. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Midwest Southerner: Since I’m not a true Southerner — now, that’s not to say I don’t have a lot of Southern qualities — 42 years is a long time, am I right?! It was inevitable that I adopt at least some Southern traits.

    We don’t care where people come from, as long as they respect our traditions (which includes statues and memorials to the Confederacy and its heros), our generally lower taxes, our pro-gun, pro right-to-work, and right-to-worship mentality, and our desire to get along with one another – of all races and faiths.

    You can become a Southerner without being born here.

    I’ve been to the Masters twice – one practice round, and one real round.  Each time, I was dumbstruck by the beauty of the course.  Yeah, this year, the greens had a slight discoloration – don’t know why.  But one feels as if walking on hallowed ground, particularly if one is an avid golfer . . .

    • #17
  18. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    She (View Comment):

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    My husband’s family is Southern and they have always been gaga for pimento cheese sandwiches. I enjoy them but being from Pittsburgh, it wasn’t a thing in our house. Now chipped ham with sweet pickles was a thing.

    I have only two words: Fried Jumbo.


    I hadn’t heard those terms since I was a kid! haha! My husband is Southern and has no interest in pimento cheese sandwiches and he grew up with them – but fried jumbo sandwich – yes!

    • #18
  19. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Midwest Southerner (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    My husband’s family is Southern and they have always been gaga for pimento cheese sandwiches. I enjoy them but being from Pittsburgh, it wasn’t a thing in our house. Now chipped ham with sweet pickles was a thing.

    I have only two words: Fried Jumbo.

    Yes! I wonder how many will know what that means?

    It was a weekly staple, and one of the three most popular items on the lunch menu at the hospital where I worked for 20 years.  When they “wokified” their menu to be a little more healthy, the peasants revolted.  And from that point on, the hospital would occasionally have “throwback” days when they’d offer fried jumbo, mile-high hot dogs, and oyster stew, just to placate the masses.

    • #19
  20. Midwest Southerner Member
    Midwest Southerner
    @MidwestSoutherner

    Stad (View Comment):
    You can become a Southerner without being born here.

    Then I definitely achieved that status, even though some of my born-and-bred Southern friends might disagree. ;)

    Sidenote: I grew up in Montgomery can’t help but turn it up when this plays:

    https://youtu.be/6GxWmSVv-cY

    Or this:

    https://dai.ly/x3qw7x9

    • #20
  21. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    She (View Comment):

    Midwest Southerner (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    My husband’s family is Southern and they have always been gaga for pimento cheese sandwiches. I enjoy them but being from Pittsburgh, it wasn’t a thing in our house. Now chipped ham with sweet pickles was a thing.

    I have only two words: Fried Jumbo.

    Yes! I wonder how many will know what that means?

    It was a weekly staple, and one of the three most popular items on the lunch menu at the hospital where I worked for 20 years. When they “wokified” their menu to be a little more healthy, the peasants revolted. And from that point on, the hospital would occasionally have “throwback” days when they’d offer fried jumbo, mile-high hot dogs, and oyster stew, just to placate the masses.

    Which hospital?  Don’t forget city chicken……

    • #21
  22. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    Pimento cheese, the caviar of the South. – Breaking Bad

    I use as much mustard as mayo in mine. And pimento cheese is one of the few things I will tolerate mayo in 

    • #22
  23. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    She (View Comment):
    I have only two words: Fried Jumbo.

    How do you bread an elephant?

    • #23
  24. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    Arahant (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    I have only two words: Fried Jumbo.

    How do you bread an elephant?

    With a crane.

    • #24
  25. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Hang On (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    I have only two words: Fried Jumbo.

    How do you bread an elephant?

    With a crane.

    And a mighty large dredging plate.

    • #25
  26. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Midwest Southerner (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    My husband’s family is Southern and they have always been gaga for pimento cheese sandwiches. I enjoy them but being from Pittsburgh, it wasn’t a thing in our house. Now chipped ham with sweet pickles was a thing.

    I have only two words: Fried Jumbo.

    Yes! I wonder how many will know what that means?

    It was a weekly staple, and one of the three most popular items on the lunch menu at the hospital where I worked for 20 years. When they “wokified” their menu to be a little more healthy, the peasants revolted. And from that point on, the hospital would occasionally have “throwback” days when they’d offer fried jumbo, mile-high hot dogs, and oyster stew, just to placate the masses.

    Which hospital? Don’t forget city chicken……

    Worshington.  In Little Worshington.

    • #26
  27. Blondie Thatcher
    Blondie
    @Blondie

    Ok, so I “googled” fried jumbo. Tell me it’s more than just a fried bologna sandwich. Heck, I had that every Saturday growing up. Got thick slices of bologna from my grandma’s store. Nothing better than a fried bologna burger. 

    • #27
  28. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    Blondie (View Comment):

    Ok, so I “googled” fried jumbo. Tell me it’s more than just a fried bologna sandwich. Heck, I had that every Saturday growing up. Got thick slices of bologna from my grandma’s store. Nothing better than a fried bologna burger.

    Pittsburgh has the weirdest combo ever: french fries and salad. So nothing about Pittsburgh culinary delights surprises me.

    • #28
  29. EB Thatcher
    EB
    @EB

    She (View Comment):

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    My husband’s family is Southern and they have always been gaga for pimento cheese sandwiches. I enjoy them but being from Pittsburgh, it wasn’t a thing in our house. Now chipped ham with sweet pickles was a thing.

    I have only two words: Fried Jumbo.


     

    I don’t particularly care for it, but “fried jumbo” sandwiches are very popular in many parts of the South.  But they call it fried baloney.

    • #29
  30. Midwest Southerner Member
    Midwest Southerner
    @MidwestSoutherner

    Blondie (View Comment):
    Tell me it’s more than just a fried bologna sandwich.

    That’s it. Well, sometimes, it’s just the fried bologna, sans bread.

    • #30