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Jeff Whitten: Eating cheese
editor's notes

I was going to write some kind of inspired missive directed at this year’s high school graduates, the Class of 2021.

You know the sort of stuff I’m talking about. It’s the sort urging them to seize the day and save the world from us older folks who are merrily on our way to blowing the whole place up or turning it into a giant strip mall parking lot. Then it occurred to me most high school seniors probably wouldn’t read a weekly newspaper if you whopped them upside the head with one. Which you couldn’t of course, given the way the world is going.

You’d be brought up on charges, or, worse, given a wedgie and planted head first in a urinal somewhere by some future frat boy in Bermuda skorts and mouse ears hair or whatever it is the cool kids wear these days when they’re not taking selfies. Anyway, I’m not going there. Others will do it better anyhow.

Instead, I’m writing about my favorite sandwich – the pimento cheese sandwich, which is just as good without the sandwich.

I like pimento cheese because it’s delicious, but I also like it because it’s fun to say. Try saying it at home, go ahead.

Say, “puh-ment-toe cheeese sandwich,” or “sammich.” Let the “cheeeese” stretch out like you’re having fun with it because, let’s face it, cheese is funny as all get out.

For starters, it’s all yellow and cheesy, unless it’s white and cheesy or some other shade –

Kroger has some fancy cheeses that cost like $20 an ounce and looks like a human toe someone left wrapped in a sack to ferment for a couple years.

It was French, I think.

When I was a bachelor I bought some brand name individually wrapped white cheese slices from a grocery store station in Guyton that turned out to be brand name individually wrapped yellow cheese slices about five years behind their sell-by date.

Naturally, I didn’t discover this until after I’d eaten a slice of the white yellow cheese on top of a baloney sandwich and washed it down with about five beers and started experiencing something akin to the Krispy Kreme Donut sweats, only nowhere near as fun.

Anyway, if cheese is fun, pimentos are fun too, and saying cheese after pimento is just like having a party all by yourself.

Which is important if you don’t like people, and we should appreciate the sacrifices made by pimentos, given they spend much of their lives wrapped in a protective olive skin until someone goes around and takes them out and puts them in cheese so we can have sandwiches.

But pimento cheese isn’t just fun to say as I noted earlier. A lot of fun things to say aren’t all that good to eat, like kangaroos, and if enunciation was all pimento cheese had going for it then we might as well let the yankees have it all, since it allegedly was invented up there with a big assist from a Georgia olive/ pimento farmer.

It’s also delicious.

Not all pimento cheese, mind you, because I’ve run across some mass produced soggy wet slick pimento cheeses full of hidden flatulents. These are unhealthy at best and deadly at worst, particularly if they include bacon bits.

I am talking instead about the good South Carolina kind of pimento cheese best exemplified commercially hereabouts by Palmetto Cheese, a Pawleys Island-based purveyor of fine pimento cheese and other such cheese products I’m not interested in writing about.

That’s pimento cheese with texture and big chunks of delicious cheese. The kind my Palmetto state born-and-bred mother has made most of my life because being enlisted we were too poor and proud to buy it already made in plastic tubs.

The kind I grew up and outward on.

The kind that inspired classic country songs, like Larry T. Barry’s famed “Good Old Pimento Cheese Sandwich,” which has lines like, “C-H-E-E-S-E spells cheese wchich rhymes with bees and knees and yes please to some good old pimento cheese.”

Yep, they don’t write ‘em like that anymore for sure.

Happy graduation, graduates. And in the immortal words of Ferris Bueller: “Isms in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, ‘I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me.’ Not bad, but then again he was the walrus.”

Go Gamecocks.

Whitten is editor of the Bryan County News.

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