Do you know of the substance called Pimento Cheese? Do you? No? Then you’ve clearly never been to the Carolinas. I visited North Carolina for the first time last week and on my first, just rolled off the plane, morning I was taken to a café for an iced coffee and a bagel only to see that “pimento cheese” was the featured spread. When I asked what it was my New Yorker friend whom I was visiting looked at me with a wrinkled nose and said something along the lines of “it’s kind of a cheese thing that is toxic orange in color.” She readily admitted she had not been brave enough to try it though.
I figured, “native” foods? I should honor that and give it a whirl. They were sold out! Sold out. Apparently it really is a loved food. Throughout the week of my visit I quizzed a few locals on the food who couldn’t readily explain the product or its appeal yet each time I tried to purchase some… it was SOLD OUT! Until my very last morning on the way to the airport when we stopped at a Whole Foods sort of joint and I was finally successful in procuring a “Pimento Cheese Sandwich.”
I hate to admit this, I do. Truly. I spit it out. Not demurely either. It wasn’t pretty. I’m sure it’s one of those acquired taste things but wow. Not my bag. I'm not condemning all pimento cheese ever, but at least the bit I tried. Otherwise the food in Asheville was fantastic. Absolutely delicious. Great restaurants, abundant farmers markets. It was very Berkeley of The South.
One of the best meals of the week was takeout from 12 Bones Smokehouse, which is apparently Obama’s favorite BBQ joint. With good reason. Brown sugar crusted ribs? Sage cornbread and sweet tea? Sign me up for daily delivery please.
Besides the small um… flaming “incident” of the home kitchen (another post perhaps), I can’t remember when I last ate better and was surrounded by more congenial company. However, all the food and humidity does make you want to slow down a bit, which is just fine by the porch kitties.