pimento cheese

hey, y’all, the best pimento cheese is right here! ::::

The woman, snugly stuffed next to the window, began to overflow into my seat. Body habitus obviously over-conditioned nutritionally, she sagged into my forearm (my arm not on the arm rest, mind you) and I thought: Euhhhh, this is going to be a tight trip. I began to smell the salty, dank odor or nervous sweating. Whether it was her concern that she would not be able to exit her seat ever again, a dip in blood glucose brought on by a whopping dose of insulin pre-boarding as she noisily and moistly chewed her CinnaBon, or just air travel jitters, I will never know. We never spoke. After a brief discussion with the flight attendant, she also a little thick in her middle and edges, my seat-neighbor got up — pop!— and heaved her rotund bottom and moist midriff into two seats two rows behind me. I mopped up the sweat dribbles on my armrest and settled into a quiet trip.

Large seat mates are not unexpected on air travel these days, especially as the seats seem to get smaller and more tightly packed. However, finding the ultimate pimento cheese recipe is prodigious. In the airline magazine. (Not the damp one on the seat next to me, the dry one.)  They actually publish recipes  in those things, not just Hollywood-themed crossword puzzles and Sudoku.


Back home, away from nervous sweating and larger ladies, I made that wonderful pimento cheese recipe from my complimentary airline magazine. It was excellent on crackers. On toast. On pita chips. Even on tortilla chips. I so carefully filed that recipe away, peeking at it occasionally to make sure I still knew where it was. Even after two big moves, one across the country, I still could locate my special recipe at a moment’s notice. Then when I really wanted the recipe, it was gone.


Blame it on my jest of “organizing” my recipes. In my haste and seemingly ordered fashion of cataloging my life into three-ring binders and Excel files, I think I threw it out. I even remember the title: Puh-leeze pass the cheese  (yes, spelled exactly like that). Little choice did I have but to consult a cookbook instead. The internet. Something other than a silly airline mag. What I found was Emily Wallace’s brief history of pimento cheese at the Indy Week website. Not only is there a brief history in her writing but also an 80 page thesis on pimento cheese for a master’s degree in Folklore. Now that sounds like some good reading on a long flight to the Carolinas.

Her grandmother’s adapted recipe resides on South Carolina’s homepage (“The State“), and is simple, without all the extras (onions and spices, who needs ’em!). Simplicity works here. No need for all the extra layers of flavor. For me the pimento flavor layers nicely with the sharp cheddar. Emily Wallace’s recipe called for less mayo but I doubled it to have a softer spread. The pimento cheese I ate in Georgia years ago was moist and spreadable, as was the recipe I remember from the airline magazine. Off to find that thesis and arrange a flight to Charlotte….without a sweaty seat-mate.


3.5 from 2 reviews
pimento cheese
Recipe type: appetizer
Prep time: 
Total time: 
  • ½ pound sharp cheddar, hand grated*
  • 2 ounces pimentos, diced
  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  1. Stir all ingredients together. To soften cheese, allow to sit in refrigerator for at least 4 hours before using.
  2. Serve with crackers or to be authentically Southern, with white bread, crusts removed. Store in refrigerator; keeps for a few days.
* Don't use the pre-grated cheese. Why? It's often tossed with some flour or anti-caking agents to prevent it sticking together. Flour will make your pimento cheese less spreadable and give an underlying raw flour taste.


  • Mr. Pimento Cheese April 5, 2015 Reply

    The most luscious picture of pimento cheese I’ve ever seen.

  • […] Source: Story Of A Kitchen […]

  • p3orion February 2, 2021 Reply

    Three notes:
    1) Even with your doubling of the mayo, this has about half the amount compared to most recipes, which typically call for about a cup per pound of cheese. Your photo certainly looks good, though, not dry at all.
    2) On the other hand, that’s a helluva lot of sugar. Only about half the recipes call for any at all and yours has 3-4 times of what is on those.
    3) You really ought to rethink the snotty little anecdote about being subjected to the indignity of sharing your row with a fat person, i.e. “over-conditioned nutritionally,” “dank odor,” “sweat dribbles,” “rotund bottom.” Yes, you found yourself next to a large woman, but have a little sympathy: she had to sit next to a self-righteous cunt.

    • story kitchen February 2, 2021 Reply

      I wrote this post in 2011, ten years ago. It’s now 2021. I’ve changed a lot since 2011 and understand my commentary can be hurtful, ableist, fat-shaming, and exclusionary. I was wrong. It’s not something I would write today and would frame it differently now. I’ve spent the last ten years caring for people, all sizes, and found joy in these relationships. I’m not going to edit my words in the post because I want people to see how you’ve reacted to them. I also want to be transparent and allow readers to see how I’ve grown in my later posts.

      Luckily, I didn’t need you to realize my growth. You calling me a “self-righteous cunt” devalues your comment that I should rethink my “little anecdote.” It shows how fear and anger disguise your insecurity and how you think name-calling will make you feel better about yourself. You continue to perpetuate shame instead of breaking the cycle. That’s a huge problem.

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