Today I’ll share with you my Easter family tradition – a picnic in a cemetery!
Easter is my favorite holiday. Growing up, Easter meant baskets of candy, Easter egg hunts, and picnics. Candy, games, and dining outdoors – that’s my idea of a perfect day!
Our family picnic basket, which was an old peach basket, always held fried chicken, pimento cheese sandwiches, deviled eggs, chips, pickles, and fruit.
Another family tradition was to have picnics in cemeteries. No, my family is not Goth, but my Dad is into genealogical research, so cemeteries were a common weekend destination. Not all Easter picnics were in cemeteries. Azalea filled parks and historical sites were also prime places for picnics, but I did a fair share of looking for Easter eggs behind tombstones.
Perhaps we were a little strange, but old cemeteries are quite beautiful with magnificent trees, old boxwoods, flowers, and manicured lawns – think Bonaventure in Savannah, GA; Woodland in Dayton, Ohio; or Arlington outside of DC.
Not only are old cemeteries beautiful, they are very peaceful. You don't have to contend with crying kids, screaming parents or blaring radios from other picnickers, 'cause, more than likely, you'll be the only one dining in the cemetery. After your picnic you can curl up on your blanket and take an undisturbed nap in the sun.
When I think of picnics, pimento cheese sandwiches instantly pop into my head. Pimento cheese is very Southern and I’ve found a few people who don’t know what it is or who have never tried it. Most people who grew up on pimento cheese have very strong sentiments - mostly adoration - for this orange cheese spread speckled with red peppers.More Pimento cheese recipes and stories – because these sandwiches come with distinct memories.
The secret to good pimento cheese is extra sharp cheddar cheese and good mayonnaise. We always used Cracker Barrel extra sharp Cheddar cheese. And, let me reiterate my love for Duke's mayonnaise. If you are using a national brand like Helman’s or Miracle Whip, do not add sugar – there is already too much sugar in those brands. The mixture should not taste sweet. The teaspoon of sugar in the recipe is just to take the edge off the sharp cheese, so do not add sugar so that you can taste it. In fact, just abandon mission if you're not using Duke's, homemade, or some other natural ingredient mayonnaise.Pimento Cheese
10 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 small jar pimentos
5-6 tablespoons mayonnaise (Duke's or homemade)
1 teaspoon sugar
black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped chives, or grated onion
- Grate the cheese into a bowl.
- Drain the pimentos and dice.
- Add the pimentos, mayonnaise, sugar, pepper, and chives to the cheese and mix until incorporated.
- If there are clumps of cheese not coated with mayonnaise, add more mayonnaise.
- Spread between two pieces of bread and you have a pimento cheese sandwich. Spread on crackers or celery and you have hor d’oeurvres.