In Memoriam Pimiento Cheese

The ingredients before mixing…….

Last Saturday my family and I gave a gala party to celebrate the life of my mother Jan (a.k.a. Taffy), who died in December. We delighted in good food, good drink, and good company.

Being basically lazy, I asked guests to bring food, which they did in abundance. Pam brought tea sandwiches, Debbie brought potato salad, Trina brought the biggest green salad I have ever seen, Ruth brought shrimp, Peter brought MORE shrimp in a salad with artichokes and cilantro pesto, Mary Stuart brought quinoa, Leslie brought delicate cookies, Mardi and David brought watermelon, and so on.

SOMEBODY brought champagne. (I have no idea who, but it was very nice indeed.)

My family supplied tubs of Bart’s ice cream with homemade sauces and tested a recipe from our friend Lark Fleury for pimiento cheese.

Lark tells me that after fried chicken this cheese is the most popular funeral-related food among her neighbors in coastal Alabama. (I wasn’t about to mess with fried chicken in hot weather!)

Her recipe is quite different from my usual one; the mustard, onion, and relish add complexity to the spread. I gave most of the cheese to our friend Pam to put in some of her tea sandwiches, but my family also tried a bit on crackers. I know my mother would have approved.

If you’d like to read more about the party, visit my non-food blog for a full report.

Lark’s Alabamian Pimiento Cheese


1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated (it won’t surprise regular readers to learn that I grated it rather coarsely, I’m sure)
1/4 cup of grated onion
1 4-ounce jar diced pimentos drained (I may have used a little extra pimiento)
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
1/4 cup mayonnaise (more or less)
a dash of pepper


Combine all the ingredients, beginning with just a dab of mayonnaise and adding more until the cheese is spreadable.

Spread on bread/crackers or make small sandwiches. Store leftovers in the fridge.

Makes about 1 quart.

I THOUGHT I had taken a photo of the cheese in its final state, but it’s not in my camera. So here’s a better picture, of the day’s honoree, taken last year….

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7 Responses to “In Memoriam Pimiento Cheese”

  1. Erin says:

    Pie is also a very very common funeral food down here– I have a friend that brings a “funeral pie” to all of the funerals she attends… It’s usually chess, but sometimes blueberry or other fruit.

  2. tinkyweisblat says:

    I have a feeling I may have to call on you and your friend for a recipe soon! Thanks, Erin…..

  3. Anne says:

    I am sure your Mum was looking down with delight at the party in her honour!

  4. Jim says:

    Not my Mama Ruth’s mix but interesting. I shall try it.

    Your southern admirer,


  5. tinkyweisblat says:

    A lovely thoght, Anne. And Jim, OF COURSE now I have to know how Mama Ruth did it!

  6. Grad says:

    I wish I could have been there. I would have prepared my spicy angel hair pasta in honor of my even spicer girlfriend, Taffy. Although I never met her, through your blogs I feel as though I knew her. Taffy, I’m going heavy on the artichokes and anchovies…I think you would approve! (and sprinkle on the parmesan with abandon! Your life was all about abundance.)

  7. tinkyweisblat says:

    It sounds wonderful, Grad! Our Spice Girl would have loved it.