Growing up, Pimento Cheese was a staple. Family and friends requested Mama make it and serve it at various functions. It was something she often made and took to share with coworkers at Moody Air Force Base. There, many shared that they had no idea Pimento Cheese could be made at home; assuming it could only be bought in a grocery store.
Mrs. Grissom's Salads originate in Nashville, Tennessee. As you can see in the above listed picture, their product is not even called Pimento Cheese. It is called "Premium Cheese Spread". (Mrs. Grissom's makes other products according to their website but this is what i purchased at my local Kroger). I wanted to try some just to say I had tasted it. While I did like the creamy consistency, to me it does not taste like pimento cheese. The first listed ingredient, salad dressing, gives it a really sweet taste.
Until last week, the only store-bought pimento cheese I had ever eaten was from a company called Palmetto Cheese. I received it in a gift basket of food products a couple of years ago. It would be what I would buy in a pinch if I didn't have time to make it myself. Also, Harris Teeter has a "good" pimento cheese in their deli.
All of this to say in these last two paragraphs, Pimento Cheese is one of the easiest things to make, even for someone who does not consider themselves a cook.
Mama kept it simple; cheddar cheese (grated by hand), mayonnaise and diced pimentos. When it was easier to find in grocery stores, she used what she called "hoop" cheese, the red-waxed type of cheddar. Her point of difference was to, and I quote her, "beat it to death in a Kitchen Aid mixer". Most every recipe I have ever seen has given directions to mix by hand, which you can do if you do not have a stand mixer. The mixing gives it a very creamy consistency unlike the more textured result mixing by hand.
When giving my cooking demo last week at the Wilson County Fair, some of the ladies in the audience told me they use Velvetta. I will sound like a snob with this comment but I typically do not use, eat or like anything that is not real cheese. Velveeta is a "cheese product". I think this lady likes the Velveeta because of it's texture. I suggested she try using real cheddar cheese that she lets come to room temperature before grating.
I have added cream cheese (½ cup and I decrease the amount of mayonnaise), a dash or two of Louisiana Hot Sauce and/or ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper. Sometimes I drain the pimentos and sometimes I do not. I have not added jalapeño peppers and/or bacon, but I plan to do so in the future. I only use Duke's Mayonnaise; NOT salad dressing a.k.a. Miracle Whip. My second choice for mayonnaise is Blue Plate.
Here is Mama's basic recipe:
Mama's Pimento Cheese
1 lb. sharp yellow cheddar cheese (red waxed "hoop" cheese is preferred), grated
2 - 7 ounce jars diced pimento, drained
1 cup mayonnaise
Set cheese out on counter to soften for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Place grated cheese, pimento and mayonnaise in the mixing bowl of an electric mixer. Set mixer to medium speed and mix until smooth, or as Mama said "beat it to death"; approximately 5 minutes. Pause mixer to scrape sides as necessary. Chill 2 hours or overnight before serving. It will spread easier for sandwiches if allowed to sit on counter for up to 30 minutes. May be stored for up to one week.
Makes approximately 4 cups.