Joy of Cooking

The very first step is to spend an entire childhood riding your bike down the sidewalks of a town about the size of an area rug.

Right now, I’m looking in my refrigerator. To the left of the beer, I see so much pimento cheese it’s enough to give a man cardiac arrest. My wife made buckets of this stuff. And I should tell you: this isn’t your average pimento cheese. This is Billy Graham in a Tupperware container.

And, in an unprecedented act of culinary selflessness, my wife has allowed me to share her top-secret Southern recipe.

So, without further delay, here’s how she does it:

1. The very first step is to spend an entire childhood riding your bike down the sidewalks of a town about the size of an area rug. I’m sorry, but you can’t just can’t make good pimento cheese if you grew up riding the public transit in East L.A. So get out there and start pedaling.

2. Buy a camouflage apron.

3. Read the entire Southern Living Cookbook collection. You’ll find volumes 1 through 59,124 on my bottom bookshelf. Skip the holiday editions.

4. Own at least 1 string of pearls. It will take some time to break these puppies in. You must wear them often—this includes football games and showers.

5. Teach Sunday school.

6. Drink beer from a can.

7. Never do steps 5 and 6 at the same time.

8. Learn to plan your entire summer vacation around the nearest ice machine.

9. The most important step: go to your pantry, find 1 can of fear, and a 14 oz. package of worry-yourself-sick. Now toss them into the garbage.

I don’t care who you are. Maybe there’s something that terrifies the bejeezus out of you. Maybe you have a lump on your breast. Maybe you’re going bankrupt. Whatever it is, this world has a way of beating you over the head with a sack of yams, and laughing at you the whole time.

You’d better get used to it.

I believe this life is just one hurt after another. Maybe that sounds bleak to you, but I disagree. Because I think the aim of life is to hurt, while standing shoulder-to-shoulder with someone else. Do this long enough, and you’ll discover that when two of you suffer together, you’ve never felt so damn alive.

And if, by chance, you can find someone who will do this with you; who knows how to watch you cry; who admits when they’re wrong—humiliating as it may be; who cares about you more than they do about being right; who looks into your eyes and sees something more than just your eyes; who believes in you even when you don’t.

Then throw this stupid recipe away.

You have something better than pimento cheese.


  1. Maureen - July 12, 2016 8:29 pm

    Great read – thanks

    • Robin Greep - September 16, 2016 1:49 am

      I needed this more today than you could know. God gave you such a gift, and I for one am grateful He brought me to your page today. I am standing next to the most important person and last night was one of those hurtful times. I gave it to God and He sent me here and I shared with my love and and we wept openly realizing the truth in your words. God is good as are you sweet sir.

  2. Linda - September 15, 2016 4:10 pm

    Thank you for this post. Being a good southern cook and a survivor of stage 4 melanoma, I make some really good pimento cheese!!

  3. Linda - September 16, 2016 12:18 am

    When it said to peddle down the sidewalk, I wondered if you could change that to a dirt road. Would that work too?


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