Pimento Cheese from The Body in the Wardrobe
If you look up “pimento cheese,” you will find the (probably true) claim that it started in the North, but it is truly the caviar of the South now. As Faith Fairchild explains in the latest installment of the eponymous mystery series by Katherine Hall Page, “If you had grown up in Georgia or South Carolina you’d have had pimento cheese sandwiches in your lunch box instead of peanut butter.” In Page’s newest book The Body in the Wardrobe, caterer and part-time sleuth Faith travels to historic Savannah, Georgia, where she experiences the vivid flavors of Southern cooking – and stumbles across a fresh mystery to solve. A master of setting the culinary scene, Page brings her dreamy food descriptions to life with accompanying recipes at the end of the book, including this one for the South’s favorite savory spread.
Some pimento cheese recipes call for Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay, or roasted garlic powder (available from Penzey Spices) – it’s hard to go wrong with any combination. One of the cheeses has to be orange in order for it to be the real deal.
Makes 3 generous cups
1 cup (8 ounces) grated white cheddar cheese
1 cup (8 ounces) grated sharp yellow cheddar cheese
1 jar sliced pimentos (4 ounces), drained
1 cup mayonnaise (Duke’s** if you live where it’s sold, otherwise Hellman’s)
1 tablespoon chopped chives
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch (or more) cayenne
This is a very easy, highly addictive dish. Simply mix all the ingredients together and it will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. It makes delicious grilled cheese, but is also great for other sandwiches, on crackers—traditionally the Keebler Club type— and stuffed into celery or other veggies.
**Mrs. Eugenia Duke of Greenville, South Carolina created Duke’s Mayonnaise in 1917. It has more egg yolks and less sugar than other brands, which makes it tangier (it’s the South, after all).
The Body in the Wardrobe is available now from all booksellers, and look out for another recipe from the Faith Fairchild Mysteries soon!