So, let’s say you lucked out this year and you’re not hosting Thanksgiving.
That means that you won’t have to spend extra hours this week scrubbing toilets and dusting the toilet paper roll holder. (What? You never know what explorations guests will make when idle upon the commode.)
Anyway, your baseboards are staying delightfully crusty this holiday and for this, I am jealous of you.
Where ever you’re going, you won’t be showing up empty handed, right?
Well, save that 12 pack of Coors Light for President’s Day, because I have something better for you to bring – pimento cheese dip.
A few weeks ago, had I heard that same exact phrase thrown my way, I would have ba-haa-haa’d my way into squirting soda through my nose. Pimento cheese was that weird gelled block on the refrigerator aisle. It made me think of single wide trailers and a smoldering cigarette precariously tipped from cousin Lurleen’s mouth as she stirs pickles into aunt Beaulah’s potato salad.
But I’ve changed my mind. It’s quite the Bildungsroman: A few months ago, Mr. Hausfrau and I traveled to a wedding in North Carolina. Every restaurant menu we encountered had pimento cheese on it. No joke. Pimento cheese and crackers. Pimento cheese on burgers. Pimento cheese on biscuits. When I ordered my burger without the pimento cheese suggested on the menu and subbed american cheese, the waiter looked at me funny. And I looked at Mr Hausfrau funny.
It was a knowing look amongst two yuppie and sadly ignorant northerners that said, “Pshaw! Pimento cheese – how inbred and ga-ross! I suppose they think that stuffing is a vegetable, too!”
But the pimento cheese, or rather, its prevalence haunted me. Was I missing out on something? When we got home, I knew I had to get to the bottom of this. I did some googling and came across lots and lots of recipes for the pimento cheese. I also came across lots and lots of love for the pimento cheese.
Obviously, I had to make some.
When I tasted my concoction, I kinda couldn’t believe my taste buds. I decided to REALLY test this stuff out. I gave some to Mr. Hausfrau. He lit up and did his best Oliver Twist impression, “Mum, can I have some more?”
(Actually, it was a little more like, “That’s it? That’s all you’re going to give me?“)
And after that, I hung my head in shame and promised the heavens that I would never doubt those southern cooks. Mayo and cheese really DOES make everything taste better. I hope they’ll let me back over the border because nothing beats a southern biscuit.
Anyway, the pimento cheese: This stuff is creamy, rich and smoky – an awesome contrast to any fresh, crisp, and juicy stick of veggie. Spread generously on a cracker or toast point, this dip will make you hum with delight and not even realize it. It’ll make a believer out of you like it did out of me.
If you bring this for Thanksgiving, I promise that everyone will think you’re a rockstar and they’ll overlook the fact that you also brought cranberry sauce from a can.
And if your host is lucky, it will also distract guests from the dog hair on the television screen.
(Or the dog hair in the dip.)
Pimento Cheese Dip
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
4-ounce jar of pimentos, drained
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon honey
Dump all the ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth. Refrigerate the mixture at least 30 minutes, allowing it to thicken and the flavors to develop. Serve.