Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

THE FARMER'S TABLE ; Roasted Pepper Cheese Spread

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

THE FARMER'S TABLE ; Roasted Pepper Cheese Spread

Article excerpt

Pimento Cheese Spread, considered a quintessential Southern food, is often referred to as "Southern Pt or Caviar of the South, yet it originated in New York. In the 1870s, New York farmers began to experiment making a soft cheese similar to Neufchtel. Once perfected, several companies marketed American Neufchtel. Within a few years, they introduced cream cheese, which was made by mixing Neufchtel curd with cream and molded into rectangular blocks. Cream cheese was produced primarily in New York, but, through branding, became linked to Philadelphia and became known as Philadelphia Cream Cheese. A New York dairyman, William Lawrence, was selling his new cream cheese product modestly well, but cheese distributor Alvah Reynolds was the marketing genius who came up with the Philadelphia Cream Cheese moniker, since that city was already known for its high- quality dairy reputation. Home economists at the time loved the mildly flavored white cream cheese, and they created many ways to use it. They made bite-sized balls of cheese and rolled them in nuts or herbs. They stuffed celery sticks with it. Sweet Spanish red peppers were introduced in the United States in the 1870s, and food manufacturers started canning them under the Spanish name pimiento. Later, the second i was removed and the peppers became known as pimentos. Since canned pimentos were sweet and mild, they were combined with cream cheese to make a pimento sandwich spread. The basic recipe called for few ingredients -- usually sharp cheddar cheese, cream cheese, mayonnaise, pimentos and salt and pepper. The mixture could be smooth or chunky, depending upon ones preference. The most common way to eat pimento cheese spread was to slather it between two pieces of white bread. The sandwiches were often cut into fancy shapes for ladies luncheons and tea parties. By 1910, cheese manufacturers were producing commercially made pimento cheese spread. It soon developed popularity in all regions of the country. …

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