My dad had Masters tickets for decades and loved making the trek to Augusta National every year. When my mom was still alive, he would sometimes take her although her interest was mainly in how pretty the azaleas were. So I grew up hearing about the delicious pimento cheese at the Masters Golf Tournament.
I finally had my own Masters experience a few years back and while I’m not a big golf fan, loved attending this iconic event. I stood about six feet from the (pre-sleazy) Tiger Woods and enjoyed hiking the impossibly green, perfectly manicured course from hole to hole, checking out the vast variety of clothing, which for men ranged from khaki shorts and polo shirts to … khaki pants and polo shirts.
One of the best parts of attending, of course, is enjoying the dirt cheap food and beer. I don’t think the menu has ever changed much and includes barbecue and egg salad, ham and turkey sandwiches. Prices range from $1.50 to $3.00. Beer ranges from $4 for domestic to $5 for imported. That’s right — you can get a sandwich and beer for less than $6.
But my favorite is the pimento cheese sandwich, available for $1.50. While some people consider golf to be a high-brow sport, pimento cheese is definitely not. Let’s start with the bread. No fancy-pants multi-grain, artisan loafs here. It’s white. (I’m resisting the urge to make a comment about the attendees at the tournament.)
As for the recipe, well, there seems to be some mystery around it and no one has the real, true, official Masters recipe. Apparently it has been the source of controversy, leading to Pimento Gate in 2013.
So a man in Aiken, SC made the sandwiches for years. Then the golf club switched vendors, and peeved about losing the business, Mr. Cheese Man wasn’t about to share the recipe. The new vendor tried to recreate it, but had trouble finding the exact right cheese.
They finally found the correct cheese by going to the man’s suppliers for mayo, pimentos and cheese. But there was still a secret ingredient missing. The recipe they have today is as close as they can come.
It’s like the recipe for Coke, reportedly locked in a vault. And Google turned up more several varieties, all claiming to be close to the real thing.
I even saw some versions with blue cheese, which I can’t believe is in there. That’s too fancy and too expensive to be sold for $1.50 alongside egg salad. So I’m going with this version adapted from www.theteesheet.com. Because these folks put a lot of time and thought into it. And because it has processed American cheese in it. That just seems right.
The Masters Pimento Cheese Recipe
- 6 ounces processed shredded yellow american cheese. If you can only get sliced, just chop it up
- 6 ounces shredded swiss cheese
- 2 ounces pimentos chopped up and some of the pimento liquid
- 2 generous tablespoons of mayonnaise
- dash of hot sauce to taste
- 1 tablespoon (or more) of heavy cream (optional)
- salt and pepper (optional)
- white bread
- Put shredded cheeses and chopped pimentos (with juices) in a bowl. Add the mayonnaise and cream. Mix with a spoon or spatula. If it’s not easy to spread, add a bit more calories. I mean mayonnaise and/or cream.
- Add hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste.
- Spread on two pieces of very white bread.
Serving size: 2-3 sandwiches
Calorie Count: You do not want to know. Just look at the ingredients. Forget about that and just enjoy.