Everyone knows about the Marmaduke Phenomenum, but only a few people know the name. When my friend, Terra, was a kid, her mom told her about Marmaduke, the cartoon Great Dane who was always getting into trouble. Terra had never heard of Marmaduke before, but in the days and weeks after their conversation, Marmaduke was everywhere. There were jokes that assumed Marmaduke-familiarity that she was suddenly in on, and pictures that she was surprised to realize were of a specific cartoon Great Dane. She was giddy and excited — it felt like she has learned about Marmaduke at exactly the right moment, just before he was all around her. And, thus, the Marmaduke Phenomenum: you learn about something new and suddenly BAM! it’s everywhere.
I watched my friend, Michael, experience the Marmaduke Phenomenum of pimento cheese a few weeks ago. The BF is an alumni coach of our law school basketball team, and I invited a few friends to go watch their big game against Columbia. So Michael, our friend, Alice, and I met up before the big game for burgers in Greenwich Village. I was eyeing a bison burger with pimento cheese, and Michael agreed that it looked good, but didn’t know what pimento cheese was.
“Ohmigosh, it’s amazing!” I gushed, “One of those old-lady southern foods that you don’t really see in New York. It’s like orange cheese spread with little peppers and you usually have it on crust-less white bread sandwiches, like, with tea, or whatever. And it’s delicious!”
So Michael and I both got the bison burger with pimento cheese and they were, as promised, both amazing and delicious. And then the Marmaduke Phenomenum happened.
Michael and the BF and I all went to Atlanta together for a wedding a few weeks ago, and at brunch we got some pimento cheese dip with crackers for the table. And at the wedding, they had biscuits with a pimento cheese butter (like, come on, I can’t even), and then the shrimp and grits at our farewell breakfast had a pimento-cheesey sauce.
Michael was thrilled: “Pimento cheese is everywhere! And I know what it is!” Just like that, Michael got Marmaduked.
To be fair, it seems like pimento cheese is having a bit of a moment. In the last couple of months, I have had an excellent pimento cheese grilled cheese sandwich (at Bob White Lunch and Supper Counter) and some seriously mind blowing pimento cheese grits (at Root and Bone), both in NYC. And this weekend is the Masters, which everyone knows as the centerpiece of a pimento cheese-related scandal.
So, of course, I decided to make my own pimento cheese. But in addition to being Masters week, this week is passover, and it would be just plum unfair to treat myself to little white bread sandwiches while the BF looks on jealously. Instead, I made these pimento cheese deviled eggs, and they are fantastic. Cheesey and decadent, and we saved the extra filling and are using it as dip. It’s Southern and old lady and just as amazing and delicious as I promised Michael, before this whole Phenomum began.
- 12 eggs
- 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
- ⅓ c. mayonnaise
- 2 roasted red peppers, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- Paprika and dill, for serving
- First, make your hard boiled eggs. Julia Child recommends you put all twelve eggs in a pot and cover with cool water. Bring the water up to a boil over high heat. As soon as the water boils, cover and remove from heat. Let the eggs stand in the hot water for 6 minutes, then rinse under cold water until cool to the touch. Peel the eggs and cut in half lengthwise.
- Meanwhile, you can get started on your filling. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and cheddar with a hand mixer until combined. Add the mayonnaise and chopped peppers, and beat until smooth.
- Add the cooked egg yolks from the halved eggs to the pimento cheese mix, and mix to combine. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
- Once you're satisfied with the filling, spoon it into a ziplock baggie. Snip one corner off the ziplock to make a simple piping bag, and pipe the filling into the egg whites.
- Sprinkle with paprika and garnish with fresh dill.