From Elite to Everyday: A History of Pimento Cheese

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Pimento cheese is the iconic spread of the South, but have you ever wondered how it came to be so popular? Over at the Independent Weekly, Emily Wallace — who wrote her master’s thesis on this mix of grated cheddar, mayonnaise and pimento peppers — tells a brief but fascinating history of pimento cheese.

In the early 1900s, when cheese and imported pimento peppers were expensive, pimento cheese sandwiches were considered a delicacy served at tea parties. Once Kraft began selling the first processed cheese and Southern farmers began growing pimento peppers, the spread became more affordable and popular, while still retaining its upper class image.

Interestingly, in the Piedmont region of the Carolinas, pimento cheese was considered work food, as the textile mills in the area sold sandwiches to employees, and tasty, affordable pimento cheese sandwiches were a staple.

Read the full article for the complete history of this iconic Southern spread!

Do you have a favorite recipe for pimento cheese?

(Image: Flickr member palmetto cheese licensed under Creative Commons)