Let me tell you, white people have really outdone themselves with pumpkin spice mania. By the time I read an article about pumpkin spice pizza, I was utterly disgusted and wondering if maybe there was no hope for white people and their white peopling. Then I took a bite of my turkey and pimento cheese sandwich.
Wait, does pimento cheese belong to the white people? I have no idea. I just know that I never saw the stuff until I moved to the South and attended a company potluck with a bunch of, you guessed it, white people. I still recall the horror I felt when my co-worker first offered me one of the mini pimento cheese sandwiches on the table. All I heard were the words “cheese” and “sandwich.”
See, I grew up poor in Michigan. I still recall standing in line as a young girl, holding my aunt’s hand tightly, as we picked up a big block of government cheese. Anyone who’s ever seen the stuff knows what I’m talking about. It was a towering, hulking orange mass that never seemed to melt, no matter how long it had contact with fire. Government cheese seemed indestructible. I feel like, if a nuclear holocaust ever happened, there would still be roaches … and somebody’s block of government cheese.
Anyways, I just stared at my co-worker as she smiled and offered me the little sandwich. She finally asked me what was wrong and I told her I didn’t even know what pimento cheese was! Chile, you’d think I told her I’d never breathed air before. Next thing I knew, I was reluctantly shoving the square in my mouth and she was going on about how delicious it was.
I can’t say that piece was delicious, but it wasn’t bad.
Thus began my relationship with pimento cheese. A few Publix visits later, I’d discovered a brand I liked. These days, I’m all for it. Been to South City Kitchen in Buckhead? Order the pimento cheese appetizer. Pure deliciousness. One day, I was walking around Grant Park and discovered a cute little neighborhood market. Never mind that the sidewalk beside the market was as busted up as my unhealed, twisted ankle. I damn near fell trying to get up in there because they offered a pimento cheese and bacon sandwich on the menu.
Carbs, dairy, and swine. White people tryna kill me!
What’s most interesting though, is how eating pimento cheese simultaneously reminds me of my poor upbringing, upward mobility, AND middle-class privilege. I mean, it’s a damn cheese sandwich, but I didn’t discover it until after I graduated college, started my career, and could afford to pay for the expensive shit. A 12 ounce container of the stuff can easily run you four or five bucks! Then you need some fancy bread or crackers to put it on. Didn’t see this scenario coming when I was hacking at that government cheese block!
Every time I pick up a container of Mrs. Grissom’s Select, I feel like I muthafuckin made it!
Pimento cheese. Now that’s something the white people got right!
You know, assuming it’s theirs and not some poor black person who made it for them while they took the credit. *cough* I see you Jack Daniels!