Bring me back a pimento cheese
Sunday, April 06, 2014 4:09 PM
Like many of you, I sure wish I could get down to Augusta this week.
As you are likely well aware, Masters week is upon us. For one glorious spring week, the world’s attention will be focused on a manicured stretch of grass and azaleas just off Washington Road in Augusta.
That’s just a little more than an hour away. Do you ever stop and think about that? I’m sure some people do, but I know there are others who likely take it for granted.
One group that likely doesn’t take Greenwood’s proximity to Augusta for granted is our local restaurateurs and hoteliers, who typically enjoy a nice uptick in business each year during Masters week. I’ll have a bit more on that phenomenon in Monday’s Index.
Of course, there are those among us who are blissfully unaware that the world’s most revered professional golf tournament is taking place just 60 miles down the road.
Last week, I was talking about the Masters and how it would be fun to make it down to Augusta this year, if even just for a practice round. Staff writer Kate Hruby looked at me really strange and kind of chuckled. I asked her what was funny.
“The Masters? In Augusta?” she asked, as if I had just said Santa Claus was out on the corner of Phoenix Street and Taggart Avenue selling Sno-Kones.
“Yeah, you know, the Masters golf tournament. They play it in Augusta every year, at Augusta National,” I replied.
Hruby said — unconvincingly, I should add — she was aware the Masters was, in fact, a golf tournament, but she didn’t know it was played in Augusta, an hour from the town in which she lives and works. She said she thought the tournament “travels around” each year.
I admitted I liked the idea of the Masters “traveling around,” and suggested they play the tournament at Cokesbury Hills in 2015. I can just see Jim Nantz set up in a CBS tower out there at Cokesbury.
But, y’all don’t be to hard on Hruby. She’s from New York. I’m trying to teach her the right things, like how to eat boiled peanuts. Meanwhile, she’s trying to teach me things, too, like how to drive a car like a bat out of hell. It’s a working relationship.
WHEN IT COMES TO ATTENDING THE MASTERS, my experience probably falls somewhere in the middle, between the people who have never been and the people who go every spring, and have been for years.
I’ve been blessed to attend on three occasions, once when I was a kid (I totally didn’t appreciate it at the time) and twice as an adult (at which point I really did appreciate it).
There are places and events in this world which are just special, for reasons beyond the easily explainable. The Masters is one such event.
Of course, there are the obvious attractions.
The perfectly manicured, super-private course itself. The green jackets. The gathering of the best golfers in the world in that given year. The lineage of champions inexorably tied to that emerald green course in Georgia: Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson and, of course, Eldrick “Tiger” Woods.
But there’s one other thing that is special about going to the Masters: the food.
Y’all know I’ve got to have something good to eat if I’m going somewhere, and Augusta doesn’t disappoint.
What makes the food at the Masters different from just about every other major sporting event is the low prices. I mean insanely low.
At most professional sporting events, the price of concessions is ridiculous. If you’ve been to a Braves game, you know what I mean. A slice of pizza and a drink in a souvenir cup at Turner Field will run you $10.
Not so at the Masters. As of last year, a soft drink at Augusta (in a plastic take-home cup) was $1.50. A beer was $3. You can get an egg salad sandwich for $1.50, or a chicken sandwich for $3.
And then there is the unquestioned champion of Masters concessions, heck, of concessions anywhere: the pimento cheese sandwich.
I love a good pimento cheese sandwich, if the cheese is made just right. We keep a carton of Pawleys Island Palmetto Cheese with jalapeños in the refrigerator at our house. Abbeville’s Jane Todd also makes a darn fine pimento cheese.
But, no one makes a better pimento cheese sandwich than the Masters. I mean it. It’s the best.
ESPN’s Wright Thompson, the dean of Southern sports writers, devoted a column to the Masters pimento cheese sandwich a couple of years ago. When the recipe was altered slightly last year, he launched what amounted to an investigation into the change.
It doesn’t look like I’ll be able to make it to the Masters this year. Hey, there’s always next spring.
Still, if someone who is going wants to bring me back a pimento cheese sandwich, I wouldn’t hate you.
I’ll keep my $1.50 close by, just in case.
Trainor is the senior staff writer at the Index-Journal. Contact him at 864-943-5650; email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter @IJCHRISTRAINOR. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper's opinion.