Ode to Pimento Cheese
For our first guest post, we enlisted the help of our friend and fellow deli aficionado, Matt Slovin. Matt, who is a Managing Editor at The Michigan Daily, knows that there’s nothing like a sandwich from the Deli to keep you full during late nights working at the paper. He, like many of us at Tour de Zing, ranks the TNT Cowboy Reuben as one of his top picks. But Matt is also no stranger to the plethora of side dishes offered behind the counter. His passion for pimento cheese paired with fresh pretzel rolls, well, you’ll have to read for yourself…
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Michigan in the fall is nothing like Georgia in the spring. And yet, Zingerman’s best-kept secret is the link that bonds the two, bringing a taste of The Masters to the mitten. No, not the Georgia Reuben, which my Tour de Zing friends have dissected in an earlier post, but rather the creamy, salty, spicy pimento cheese that can be found in the creamery case at the front of the deli.
It’s easy to pass over the pimento cheese spread, which seems out of place — a southern tradition that has somehow, thankfully, escaped to the north. I first discovered it while dining at the Roadhouse. There, it comes as an appetizer — a generous serving to be spread on accompanying celery sticks. But spread it on pretzel rolls from Zingerman’s bakery for a perfect snack during the seemingly never-ending wait for your sandwiches to emerge from the kitchen.
According to Zingerman’s website, “If you’re from the south, you were probably raised on it. If you’re from anywhere else, you’ve probably never heard of it.”
Southerners may scoff at the idea of a restaurant in Michigan offering its take on their traditional side dish. But Zingerman’s deserves much praise for introducing those north of the Mason-Dixon Line to this versatile spread, which is as good on bread as it is as a veggie dip.