Likely if you're from north of the Mason-Dixon line, when you hear Pimento Cheese, you're thinking it's just another type of cheese like, Pepper Jack.
If you have never heard of Pimento Cheese spread which can be used on crackers or in sandwiches, consider yourself culturally deprived.
Lots of people consider meat loaf or pot roast as comfort food. To me, Pimento Cheese is the real comfort food.
I've worked on my Pimento Cheese making abilities for many years, and I believe I have discovered the secret to a rich mixture which doesn't require a lot of mayonnaise to be tasty . My mixture has a little more texture than you what you find in southern grocery stores, but those who have tried my Pimento Cheese spread claim that it's pretty good for a recipe from a guy.
After all I think I learned how to make Pimento Cheese when my mom was working long hours. I figured it out so I could have something to balance out all the tomato soup.
The biggest challenge, this far north, just outside of Washington, is finding Velveeta. Vetveeta doesn't seem to be considered a cheese in the Giant grocery stores that are popular in Northern Virginia.
I did finally manage to find some located in the interior aisles close to the macaroni and cheese mixes. Of course that meant that the Velveeta was warm so a little time in refrigerator helped it to perform better on the grater.
I don't claim this is a precise recipe so you'll have to experiment a little to get it to match your tastes.
I end up using eight ounces or so of Sharp Cheddar Cheese (I used 2% this time) with approximately four ounces of Velveeta along with one four ounce jar of diced pimentos.
First I grate a couple of ounces of the Cheddar into the bottom of the bowl. I then grate almost all of the Velveeta except an ounce or so. I then finish grating the Cheddar and then finish grating the Velveeta and do once last swipe at the grater with the Cheddar block to clean out the grater.
Then I dump the the whole jar of diced pimentos, juice included into the bowl.
I sprinkle just a little salt on top of the mixture and add a couple of dollops of mayonnaise and mix. The type of mayonnaise can be a matter for debate. When this was originally written, our absolute favorite Duke's was hard to find up north so that is why Kraft's is pictured.
The amount of mayonnaise depends on your taste, if you get too much, add some more cheese.
I like to start out with all the ingredients well chilled. The different flavors get a chance to meld a little if you stick the finished spread in the fridge for an hour or so to cool. Usually I make our pimento cheese for lunch just after breakfast. A few hours in the refrigerator does help.
Pimento Cheese Sandwiches with the crust cut off were a staple, along with Country Ham Biscuits, and Fried Chicken on those long summer trips to the beach before there were many restaurants along the roads in North Carolina
Not surprisingly the Pimento Cheese spread is even better after the flavors have had a chance to mix and mingle after twenty four hours or so in the refrigerator. Pimento Cheese also keeps very well as long as it is refrigerated. It's not one of those things you take on a picnic without a cooler.
I like my Pimento Cheese on rustic white bread or sourdough white but everyone has their favorite bread, so just enjoy and consider yourself an honorary Southerner if you're from the north. If you're from the south, I've just shared a recipe with you that will never let you down and which you can add to your collection of Southern classics.
(2014 Note: we have included ten of our favorite family recipes, including this one and others for hush puppies, slaw, baked beans, and baked flounder in our $3.99 Kindle book, A Week at the Beach, The Emerald Isle Travel Guide)