There are as many ways to make a batch of pimento cheese as there are crackers to spread it on….but there are some rules that should be obeyed….using sharp cheddar cheese, using a good mayonnaise like Hellman’s, add a touch of Tabasco….but there are also some rules that can be broken….such as, never buying pimento cheese at the grocery store. As I’ve stated before, grocery store pimento cheese is just awful. So let me qualify that. If you’re a store that carries Callie’s Biscuits pimento cheese, then by all means, grab hold and don’t let go.
Pimento cheese is a new product for Callie’s…a Southern Staple, as they call it. And I guess that’s true…growing up in Alabama there was often a pie plate of pimento cheese in the frig that would make its way into lunchtime sandwiches. A Pyrex pie dish because my Father, who often made it, found it easier to mash the pimentos that way…now you can buy pimentos already chopped. He always let my Mother add the mayo though…he was afraid she’d complain he put in too much.
Anyway, there probably lots of people now, who simply don’t want to take the time to grate the cheese, and add pimentos, Worcestershire, Tobasco, and Helman’s mayo…so maybe many of you have never tasted real pimento cheese….and Callie’s is like homemade…ok, better. When I was in Charleston last week, I called and asked if I could stop by where the magic happens, on famous Meeting Street….the dodgy end says Callie’s daughter Carrie, and they said sure..come on by.
It’s a lovely little bakery, with hardwood floors and a big freezer to stock all the different flavors of biscuits. Carrie was up to her neck in alligators as they say, because Piggly Wiggly(love the Pig) had called and said,”It’s Friday and we need more biscuits pronto!” So Carrie was loading packs of Callie’s cinnamon biscuits, ham biscuits, cheese-chive biscuits and buttermilk of course, into bags as fast as she could while we talked. Carrie’s Mother Callie was the originator of the biscuit, and Callie is pretty much retired, though still doing a little catering here and there. And this is her biscuit recipe, that her business minded daughter made into a product…she told her Mom that people all over would want to buy them, and Callie never thought it would amount to much. “Oh, who would want to buy my biscuits?” But lots of people do, because they are so luscious….as far away as Dean and DeLuca in St. Helena, California. These women know their biscuits.
And the rest is history…Carrie is still growing the business and getting them into more stores…the only place I can find them in Maryland right now, is Graul’s Market in St. Michaels and Annapolis. But I’m hoping that Graul’s here in Baltimore, or maybe Eddie’s in Roland Park would stock them. And the pimento cheese, of course. No shipping fees! And while I carted down a couple of blocks of cheddar to Charleston with big plans to make pimento cheese….did I? Not once I spotted Callie’s in the Piggly-Wiggly. I’m gonna go spread some on a cracker right now.