sorry, ruth.

Today, driving back home a bit after noon, Josh asked what we should have for lunch. It was a marvelous day, and marvelous days make us want to use the grill. We've had several marvelous days this week, which is why Josh had grilled burgers for lunch on Wednesday and grilled chicken wings on Friday. This afternoon, he suggested burgers. The only problem was that we ran out of ground beef on the marvelous day that was Wednesday. I try to stock up on hamburger meat when it's on sale so we don't have to pay the regular price in case of a marvelous day.

"We're out of ground beef."

"Oh yeah."

"How about we make pimento cheese and have that on sandwiches with fries?"


We continued on down the road, with me feeling smug about having talked him into a cheaper option. We pulled into the parking lot of the Harris Teeter to pick up some potatoes for the fries.

"What if we grilled burgers and made pimento cheese? Pimento cheeseburgers!"

Clearly my optimism came too soon, though on the bright side, I would be enjoying pimento cheeseburgers very soon. I sighed and said that we could do whatever he wanted. But it was my lucky day, too - ground beef was on sale! Bring on the pimento cheeseburgers!

Anyway, this humdrum tale of marital compromise is just to tell you about my recipe for pimento cheese. Any readers from parts other than the American South may not even be familiar with this wonderful gloppy spread, but today is your lucky day. Round here, you can buy pimento cheese in a clear plastic container in the deli section of your local grocery store, and I seem to remember the prominent brand was Ruth's. The thing about Ruth's pimento cheese (and any other store-bought brand) is that it is sort of mysterious. Looking at it, you can tell that there are both pimento and cheese involved, but the rest of it is up in the air. There are questionable lumps. Your best bet is to encase it in a sandwich, where you don't really have to look at it and wonder what you're even eating.

The nice thing about making your own version is that you know what the lumps are. Not only is my version is less mysterious-looking, it also tastes fifty million times better. Sorry, Ruth. Aside from eating by itself on a plain sandwich or crackers, it's delicious on burgers or as the center of a grilled cheese sandwich. I have served it to many Southerners and heard nothing but happy eating noises.

A final note: I do not used pimentos in my pimento cheese. I used diced roasted red peppers, which makes a huge improvement in the flavor. And sometimes the peppers sort of smush in with everything else and turn the whole thing a bit pink.

Roasted Red Pepper Cheese

8 oz cheddar, grated
8 oz cream cheese
1/3 c mayonnaise
1/4 t onion powder
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t cayenne pepper
4 oz roasted red peppers, diced

Mix it all up real good. Eat on everything.

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