Before I went to school, it seems I was always with my mother. Buying groceries, running out for the dry cleaning, playing on the floor while she paid bills. At lunch I’d use the brick hearth that spanned the end of our living room as a little table and eat my lunch of a grilled cheese sandwich and apple juice. I Love Lucy came on at noon and when my mother wasn’t busy she would sit on the couch with her lunch and we would watch an episode together. More often that not she would have pimento cheese.
As I thought about what recipe of my mom’s to post for Mother’s Day I kept coming back to how I connected lunches—and pimento cheese—with my mom. After preschool she would take me to William’s Drug Store to get griddle-toasted pimento cheese sandwiches. On road trips we’d have pimento cheese in the cooler. For my wedding shower I requested my mom’s homemade pimento cheese cut into classic triangle tea sandwiches ( see below). Even now with little Willa Claire on my hip we’ve hashed out motherhood’s greatest issues over pimento cheese and saltines.
My mother has a talent for details. She can make a bed, arrange a table, or keep records like no one else I know (least of all myself). While that makes her sound serious, the thing that is so endearing about my mom is that she also has a gift for making things fun and puts her meticulousness towards it—especially when it comes to food. In the end that will be what I remember most about her: How she brought an element of fun to my life; how she could lighten the heaviness that comes with living and growing up.
A mother-daughter relationship is special and complicated. It has not always been perfect, especially when I was a teenager, but our relationship always gets better. In fact, one of the unforeseen bonuses of becoming a mother is that it’s made me feel so much closer to her. Now I get to know all the agony and ecstasy of loving someone unconditionally and appreciate my mother all the more. I also get to experience the joy of watching my mom be a grandmother and know that before long Willa Claire will be having lunch made by her. There’s a good chance it will be a homemade pimento cheese sandwich. The crusts will be neatly trimmed and it will be cut cross-wise to share.
Recipe at the bottom of the post.
Sara’s Pimento Cheese
12 oz. medium cheddar cheese, finely shredded
7 oz. jar sliced pimentos
Salt and lots of black pepper
1/2 – 3/4 cup mayonnaise (my mom never measures the mayo)
Place the shredded cheese in a bowl. In a small food processor or with an immersion blender, chop the pimento slices into smaller pieces. (You can also mash them up with a fork.) Add the pimentos to the cheese and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir in the mayonnaise. You can eat it right away, but it is best after it has sat in the fridge for a few hours or over night so the flavors can meld. If it looks dry after refrigerating it stir in more mayonnaise before serving. Serve on sandwiches or with crackers, celery, and radishes.