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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Pimento Perfection

Posted August 14, 2006

I remember the cool October day when I was barely five years old. Lunchtime at the Morganton Grill. Mama, Daddy, Miriam and me. “What will you have young man,” the waitress asked. “I’ll have “minima cheese!” I couldn’t say “pimento cheese” but I sure could eat it. I will never forget the sizzle of the grill, the smell of that slightly melted sharp cheddar and the golden brown of the bread flattened ever so beautifully. I have been in love with pimento cheese ever since. And I am still searching for the recipe that rivals my first taste of this Southern soul food. I have come awfully close in recent years. I would like your opinion. Where can I find the perfect pimento cheese? What is the "to die for recipe?" I have two favorite store-bought brands. Stan’s Pimento Cheese in Burlington is outstanding. Bob Inskeep introduced me to Stan’s and I thank him for that. Fresh Market in Cary has some wonderful pimento cheese with a nice sharp bite. Perhaps the best homemade pimento cheese I have had in 25 years was at the Flora McDonald Highland Games in Red Springs. They know how to do it right in Robeson County. There is also a scrumptious recipe in Salisbury. My daughter’s friend Leigh Ann Gibbons has graced our table with several cartons of this highly-prized product. I would love to get some more of that. Let me hear from you. I would also like to know what type of bread you use. Pimento cheese. I like it zesty!
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