My experiences in the American South are limited but every time I visit, I am surprised and refreshed by the simple, tasty food that Southerners make. It’s unfussy, straightforward cooking that has grown out of the melding of many cuisines and traditions. One of the iconic foods of the region is pimento cheese, a thick spread of cheese, jarred sweet red pepper, and mayonnaise. That may sound blah to you but it’s darn good – like an elevated version of “pub cheese” sold in tubs.
During our recent trip back East, we had pimento cheese twice within the span of 3 days. The first was at Bayou Bakery in Arlington, Virginia, where chef/owner David Guas served it with Triscuit crackers. “That’s the proper way to eat it,” his wife told us. She was right. The crunchy, saltiness of the nutty crackers went perfectly well with the alluring pale orange cheese spread.
Our second sampling of pimento cheese was at The Roosevelt in Richmond, Virginia. Chef and owner Lee Gregory served his spread with some of the best housemade potato chips I’ve ever had.