Monday, March 25, 2013

pimento cheese

Pimento cheese was a food group where I grew up. I'd take pimento cheese sandwiches (along with potted meat sandwiches and fried Spam sandwiches) for lunch when I was in elementary school. I can eat it with a spoon (which I highly recommend!) And since we're good friends with the Ellis' in New Haven (Jack's from Roanoke, Virginia and Sherry is vaguely from North Carolina) I sometimes get the pimento cheese they make. "Very tasty," as Jack would say. "Not bad for food," Sherry would answer.

Then, a few weeks ago, perusing the hummus section of Stop and Shop, I happened up on containers of "Palmetto Cheese", the "pimento cheese with soul". It's from Pawley's Island, for goodness sake. "Real Cheese, Real Southern and Really Good" it says there on the container. The only mildly strange thing is that the label also says, with some pride "Wisconsin Cheese".

I mean, this stuff is great. There is a little heat and a little kick to the pimento cheese. There is another variety of Palmetto Cheese with jalapenos. I haven't tried that yet, but will.

So I brought it home so excited I opened it as I took it from the bag (which took me some time since I've reached a place where I can't seem to 'open' much of anything) and tried it on Saltines. Oh, my goodness! Heaven sent! I've since tried it on most pimento cheese delivery devices and it never ceases to amaze and delight.

He's what I haven't figured out: why didn't I know my wife, Bern, who I've been married to for almost 43 years and known since I was 17 and she was 14, loved pimento cheese almost as much, if not more, than I do?

I mean I'm an Appalachian, white-trash, potted meat and Spam eating guy. Bern is half Italian and half Hungarian--ethnic through and through. Where does pimento cheese enter into those two noble cuisines? I'd never seen her eat it before, not even each fall when we're in North Carolina and Sherry either makes some or we go to the Pimento Cheese section of Food Lion (they have about a dozen choices). Never once, in all these years, this life-time we've shared.

Who knew she liked pimento cheese?

Well, I can't seem to keep us in the stuff. She is a binge eater know to have consumed a whole bag of Twizzlers or Super-sized potato chips in a sitting. And her latest binge is pimento cheese....

So, whenever I'm interested in having a pimento cheese encounter, the container is almost empty.

I even bought 2 containers a week or so ago and put a B on one and a J on the other. Three days later, both were gone.

The problem with pimento cheese (and why I shouldn't have taken it in a sandwich to school) is refrigeration is strictly necessary. So, I can't hide my container in my sock drawer or anywhere.

There it sits, in the refrigerator that Bern opens as if she owned it, ignoring the J on the top of the container and--presto-changeo--pimento cheese is a memory.

She says she's cutting back but I noticed a bag of potato chips in the pantry--which is  her pimento cheese delivery system of choice--so I'm just not sure I can believe her.

Maybe I should bring home potted meat and Spam....Those, I'd bet you a lot, she's leave be....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.