Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pimento Cheese & Gravy

So, the same day I posted my long bit on the history of pimento cheese, I opened the edition of Gravy, the Southern Foodways Alliance's Newsletter, which had just arrived in the mail.  And there inside was an excellent piece by Emily Wallace on the history of pimento cheese in the North Carolina Piedmont.

She has some great material about her family's growing up with Ruth's and Star's, two regional brands of pimento cheese made in North Carolina.  As it turns out, pimento cheese sandwiches were a staple of the cotton mill commissaries, and Wallace connects the rise of the local brands with their contracts with the textile mills.  It dovetails nicely with the end of my piece, taking the story forward and providing good details about how pimento cheese became a favorite food of the Southern working class.

You can download Gravy from the SFA website here and read the whole piece for yourself.


Doug said...

Robert, as always, I enjoyed your bloggings about pimento cheese. My roots are in the mountains of West Virginia. My grandfather owned a small grocerie store in Marlinton, a small town near Snowshoe Ski Resort. It was a specialty meat market, and he sold two deli specialties. Ham Salad, in which he resourcefully consumed all of the butt ends of his various lunch meats and pimento cheese. His cheese has often been duplicated but never perfected and had the most unique flavor and consistency. I remember back in the 70's Senator Robert Byrd would make special trips to the little mountain hamlet just to visit the store and enjoy a bit of pimento cheese on the large butcher block behind the meat counter. Thanks for your post, I can almost taste it again.

Robert said...

Glad you enjoyed it, Doug. Now I'm curious about that ham salad--sounds like, depending upon what lunch meat happened to go into it, it might be pretty tasty!

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