Cook the Book: Pimento Cheese

Cook the Book: Pimento Cheese

Working in a restaurant means that the majority of my meals are solo affairs eaten during nontraditional mealtimes. I usually have a very big late lunch just before my shift starts, and then some sort of late-night snacking comprises my dinner. My "dinner" has a few requirements: It must be fairly easy to put together and not make too much noise. My downstairs neighbor and sleeping fiancé don't take too kindly to clanging pots and pans at 1 a.m. For this reason my late-night dinners tend to lean heavily on the bread-plus-cheese combo.

Pimento cheese is one of my favorite things to come home to after a long night of work. I didn't grow up with pimento cheese, but there is something comforting about it nonetheless. This recipe comes from Patrick McFarlin, the author Deborah Madison's husband and the illustrator of What We Eat When We Eat Alone. McFarlin's mother used to make pimento cheese by putting American cheese, Miracle Whip, and pimentos through a meat grinder. Madison updates this Southern classic with the addition of jarred Spanish peppers and smoked paprika. Pimento cheese tastes good on just about anything: Spread it on bread, crackers, or crudités.

Win 'What We Eat When We Eat Alone'

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of What We Eat When We Eat Alone to give away this week.

  • Yield:about 1 cup


  • 8 ounces aged Cheddar cheese, yellow, or white and yellow mixed
  • 1/3 cup diced Spanish peppers or 1 (4-ounce) jar of pimentos
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, more or less
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sweet or hot smoked paprika
  • Freshly ground pepper-lots
  • 1 sliced scallion


  1. 1.

    Grate the cheese on the coarse holes of a grater or run it through a meat grinder if you still have one. Stir in the peppers, mayonnaise, mustard, and paprika, tasting and adjusting as you go. Finally season with plenty of freshly ground black pepper and add the scallion.

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