A Memorable Spread

By Angela Denstad Stigeler

The unofficial start of summer has come around again, bringing the promise of cook-outs and picnics and plenty of family fun. To prepare for the season, try out this easy make-ahead spread that packs a lot of picnic punch. Called pimento cheese, it’s a simple stir-together mix of humble ingredients that add up to something much tastier than the sum of its parts.

Known as “the caviar of the South,” it holds its own as a sandwich filling or cracker spread, but can also serve as the base of a tasty plate of nachos. In an edible commemoration of the origins of Memorial Day, you could pay tribute to the fallen Civil War soldiers from both sides of the Mason-Dixon line by topping your all-American burger with this southern specialty spread. It’s a great way to assimilate the flavors of our nation and nourish those who enjoy the freedoms our service members died to preserve.

However you spend your Memorial Day weekend, make sure that you remember our country’s fallen men and women, and make sure to share a memorable spread with those you love.

Pimento Cheese

9 ounces aged Cheddar cheese, preferably mixed yellow and white

1 (4-ounce) jar of pimentos, drained

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 teaspoons mustard

1 teaspoon sweet or hot smoked paprika

freshly ground black pepper

1 sliced scallion

Grate the cheese on the coarse holes of a box grater or run it through a meat grinder. Stir in the peppers, mayonnaise, mustard and paprika, tasting and adjusting the seasoning and consistency as necessary. Generously season with black pepper and stir in the scallion. Chill for at least an hour to let the flavors meld. Serve with crackers or corn chips, spread on toast, or use to top burgers or hot dogs.

Recipe adapted from www.thesplendidtable.org