I never ate pimento cheese when I was growing up. Oh sure, my mom probably brought home a tub of that hideous Mrs. Kinser’s stuff from the A&P a time or two, but I wouldn’t have touched it with a ten-foot pole. But sometime in the past ten years or so, I began to have a weird craving for pimento cheese. Somewhere, somebody served me a box lunch with a pimento cheese sandwich wrapped up in waxed paper. (What is it about wax paper that makes even the most mundane food seem so delicously retro?) I was hooked. It seemed so quintessentially southern. I tasted several different kinds, and searched for a recipe that would deliver the goods. I finally found one that clicked in a cookbook by James Villas, the former food editor at Town and Country Magazine. Called “MY MOTHER’S SOUTHERN KITCHEN: Reminiscences and Recipes, the book, in which he trades comments and recipes with his mama, the formidable Martha Pearl, is a true gem, although I gather it’s now out of print. He’s written a couple new cookbooks since then, so you could buy one of his new ones, or just buy a used copy. I bought a copy for my mom, and she loved it too. James’ recipe, or maybe it was his mama’s, was simplicity itself. I don’t have the book in front of me, but it basically just called for grated sharp Cheddar cheese, homemade mayonnaise, a jar of drained pimentos, lemon juice, Worchestershire sauce, hot sauce and fresh ground pepper. Usually, store-bought pimento cheese is vile. I know of two exceptions. One is the Harris Teeter pimento cheese I used to buy when we lived in Raleigh. The other is the pimento cheese made at the Tybee Market IGA. Excellent stuff! I always use Duke’s mayonnaise when I make my ‘menter cheese, and Texas Pete hot sauce. My late friend Nancy Roquemore, (Miss Nancy) who was the mainstay of the Atlanta Journal-Consitution’s food section for many years, was a huge pimento cheese aficionado. I took her some on one of my last visits to see her before she died of cancer a couple years ago. My 87-year-old friend Martha, who used to look after my family when the kids were young and I was off on a book tour, adores my ‘menter cheese. I’d fix a bowl of it, slice some fresh tomatoes, and make us sandwiches on Wonder Bread. On the side, we like devilled eggs and potato chips. And to drink, iced tea, or Cokes–Martha likes hers with crushed ice. P.S. I always make my iced tea with Luzianne teabags. Lawd! Martha is living in an apartment in assisted living these days, and she recently demanded, er, requested, some of my ‘menter cheese. So tonight I made her a big tub of the stuff. Tomorrow I’ll devil some eggs and pick up a loaf of Wonder Bread. And we’ll have us a high old time.