Written by thegolfchick.com contributor, Mary, a.k.a. Breadchick, a portion of this post was first published in View on Mesquite Magazine. I’m posting it here in its entirety because, well, The Masters. I love The Masters – and Mary! I intend to make the pimento cheese recipe for my own CBS viewing pleasure. Thanks, Mary!
What Egg Salad and Pimento Cheese Taught Me about Golf and Life
When you grow up in a golf family in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan you learn three things very fast about the golf season: you have four maybe five months, May until September, to make pars and birdies; yellow balls show up the best in the snow you will play in the first part of May and the last part of September; and in April, when you heard Pat Summerall welcome you to the Masters, you could go drag your golf clubs out from behind the winter coats and skis where you put them at the beginning of October.
I remember exactly where I was in 1978 when Gary Player came back from seven down to defeat the golfing hero of my youth, Tom Watson, to win the Masters. I was sprawled out on the cowboy themed couch in the den of my parent’s house, watching the black and white TV, munching on an egg salad sandwich. I was hoping against hopes that Watson, who scorched the back nine with torrid run of birdies and eagles, would somehow pull a rabbit out of his hat on the 18th after he put the ball in the only place he couldn’t put it. He didn’t and the rest of that egg salad sandwich went untouched.
Grandmother’s Egg Salad, Memories, and Life Getting in the Way of Golf
Egg salad sandwiches were a staple in our house but particularly on the golf course. My maternal grandmother made the best egg salad. On Monday afternoon she would make a batch to take to the course for Tuesday’s Ladies Day at the club where she and my grandfather were members. If I was visiting, I’d help by peeling the eggs and using the egg slicer to cut the eggs one way then the other to create perfectly diced pieces. She would take the diced eggs and put them in a big white Tupperware container and then using a spatula combine them with a big dollop of mayonnaise, a squeeze of yellow mustard, a dash of salt and pepper. She would slice a loaf of bread paper thin, place each slice between a piece of waxed paper and re-wrap the loaf so it would be easy to make sandwiches in the ladies lounge after the round.
On the weekend, she would make egg salad and pickled bologna sandwiches for my dad and grandfather to share on the golf course during their round. If one of my brothers or I was going with them, she would make a special sandwich for us by using one of her cookie cutters to make shapes and tuck them into a wax paper envelope. It was torture to wait until we could eat those sandwiches.
Some of my fondest memories of playing golf with my dad and grandfather as a child and pre-teen was making the turn at the clubhouse and sitting on the small brick wall eating my sandwich and listening to my grandfather explain why golf was like life. You get out of golf and life what you put into it. Golf is a game of manners and rules. In life, if you have bad manners or break rules you will not have an easy time of it. You treat the staff in the caddie shack and the bag room the same as you treat your best friend. They are working hard for their money and deserve your respect.
Somewhere along the way between fifteen and thirty, I stopped playing golf. I became busy with school, my music and with what would eventually become my career, engineering and professional audio. I would occasionally play when I went home to northern Michigan or at a corporate outing but for the most part golf disappeared from my life. It wasn’t until I married into an even more serious golfing family than my own that my love for the game of golf was rekindled.
Golf is Back! Enter In-Laws, and Pimento Cheese
My father in law was a teaching pro at a country club in eastern Tennessee and my mother in law was a very accomplished golfer in her own right, holding the lady club champion well into her 60s. My husband grew up in the bag room and caddie shack and his brother was my father in law’s assistant pro. The very first time I met my future in laws was at the golf course less than 30 minutes after getting off the airplane from Boston, where my husband and I resided. After what was a less than spectacular round on my part, my future father in law took me to the range and helped me start back towards the game I had loved as girl while my future husband and mother in law retired to the member grille. When we came in from hitting a bucket of balls, we sat and had cocktails and pimento cheese dip on crackers and got to know each other. As a “Yankee”, this was my first exposure to pimento cheese and it was love at first taste.
That visit was the first of many my husband and I made to his childhood home. Those trips always included a round of golf with my in-laws and a trip to the member grille to relive the best shots of the round over pimento cheese dip and gin and tonics. After my father in law and husband both passed away within a year of each other, my mother in law and I would still go out to club to share memories and funny stories over that creamy mixture spread on Ritz crackers, even if we didn’t play golf. She passed away three years ago and every time I eat pimento cheese, I can’t help but think of those afternoons in the member grille at their club and laughing over the stupid shots in our rounds and sharing our love for the game of golf.
Pimento cheese is a staple in the South. And, of course, the Masters wouldn’t be the Masters without pimento cheese and egg salad sandwiches made fresh daily and wrapped in wax paper. There are several different recipes for both but I’m going to share twists on my grandmother’s egg salad and my mother in law’s pimento cheese recipes.
Both of these recipes call for full fat mayonnaise but if you want to lighten it up a bit, using low fat mayonnaise won’t sacrifice taste. However, don’t go for the fat free variety. You will find the taste and consistency to be lacking. For the pimento cheese spread, don’t use anything but regular cheese, no 2% milk or fat free, it just won’t taste right.
Pimento Cheese Dip/Spread
1 ½ cup of mayonnaise
1 jar (4 oz.) of pimentos (drained) look for them where the pickles are or in the Italian food section
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 ¼ cup fine shredded mild cheddar cheese
1 ¼ cup fine shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Dash of cayenne pepper
Dash of cumin
Combine all the ingredients in a large covered bowl. Refrigerate for at least six hours but overnight is best. This lets the taste of the pimentos spread through the mixture. Serve on crackers or thick slices of white bread.
6 large eggs, hard boiled and chopped
1 ½ cup of mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. of yellow mustard
1 ½ Tbsp. of sweet pickle relish
Dash of pepper
Dash of tarragon
Dash of thyme
Combine all the ingredients in a large covered bowl. Refrigerate for at least two hours. Serve on thin sliced bread or crackers.