Brendan James and Adrian Logue lock horns over the Masters pimento cheese sandwich …
Adrian Logue, Golf Australia Top-100 Judge and contributing writer
Some things are of their time and place.
A genuinely good sausage sizzle can only be found at Bunnings.
It’s a Wonderful Life is utterly unwatchable outside of Christmas.
The Dagwood dog, deep fried cheese on a stick, fairy floss on a stick, corn on the cob … on a stick, come to think of it – ALL manner of food on a stick might as well not exist outside of the magical realm of the Royal Easter Show.
Greco Roman wrestling only exists in the form of vaguely erotic marble statues that come to life at the Olympics every four years, then go back to being statues after the closing ceremony. They’re not actually humans – that’s a little-known scientific fact.
My point is that some things are of their time and place.
And so it is with Pimento cheese and The Masters.
They go together like Chewie and Han, Astaire and Rogers, salt and pepper, SpongeBob with SquarePants …
To dislike one is to shun the other and what sort of monster doesn’t like Chewie? He could do everything Han did backwards and in heels.
Everything is a deliberate choice at The Masters, from the Pantone shade of green to the choice of piped birdsong. And the nameless, faceless power brokers at Augusta National Golf Club clearly recognise the power of the Pimento cheese.
It doesn’t take a marketing expert to see how they organise their entire menu to put the Pimento cheese on its rightful pedestal.
It’s obvious isn’t it? Every other item is given the most banal name possible… ‘egg salad’, ‘Classic Chicken sandwich’, ‘ham and cheese on rye’ ... boredom on bread.
They’re like the backup dancers in a J-Lo half-time show. The undercard for a Tyson fight. The rough that highlights the Pimento’s diamond.
If The Masters field were made up of sandwiches, Pimento cheese would be the drawcard of the marquee group ... probably paired with the Georgia Peach Ice Cream Sandwich – the only other sandwich in the conversation.
In conclusion! Each year in April – and one time in November – a unique combination of processed cheese, peppers, various powders and exceptionally low concession prices combine to create a little bit of Southern magic. An intersection of space, time, spreadable topping and over-saturated TV colours that I like to call ‘The Masters’.
Brendan James, Golf Australia Editor
I love cheese. Brie, camembert, parmesan, bocconcini, mozzarella … love them, and my sizeable girth is evidence of that.
But Pimento cheese, which some call the ‘caviar of the American south’, will never pass my lips ever again. Here’s why.
I went to The Masters for the first time in 2013 and pencilled in on my long list of ‘must-do’ experiences for the week to try a Masters Pimento cheese sandwich.
A perfect Spring morning on practice day Monday offered the opportunity to scratch some items off the list – photo in front of Founders Circle and Masters scoreboard, check out the players on the range and walk the course. Check, check, check!
My walk of the course led me to the grandstand beside the 16th tee, where I took the opportunity to nail two more Masters bucket list items … watch players skip their shots across the lake towards the 16th green, while snacking on a Pimento cheese sandwich. When in Rome!
I grabbed two of the aforementioned sandwiches and a Coke (all of which cost just $5) from the concessions stand and took my place in the front row of the stand. I ripped into the green plastic covering the cheese delicacies and took a massive bite from the corner … it was the type of bite a shark might take out of a surfboard.
And like a shark munching down on fibreglass, I immediately realised I had a mouthful of something that could not be eaten. The bread and spreadable filling was sticking to the roof and sides of my mouth, the way-too-tangy taste – a mix of spices and strong creamy cheese – was sending my tongue into conniptions. I had to spit the offending bite out, but where?
Just then, Mark O’Meara and Vijay Singh walked onto the tee no more than a few metres below me and just in time to hear me clear my throat having discreetly deposited the mess into a napkin. It was enough noise to earn a look from O’Meara.
Having downed my pint of Coke to wash away the taste, I sat disappointed, wondering how the iconic Pimento cheese sandwich, I had heard so many good things about, could taste so bad.
Pimento cheese, basically starts out as cheddar cheese. What could go wrong? But after mayonnaise, Pimento peppers, black pepper and, who knows what else (the Masters Pimento recipe is a long-held secret), is added it takes on a completely different taste and one I am not willing to experience ever again.
On the pecking order of Masters Concessions sandwiches, the Pimento cheese sandwich comes in a distant last. I’ll take the Masters Club, egg salad, ham and cheese on rye or the delicious pulled pork Bar-B-Que anytime.
One thing I will agree with Adrian on here. The only other sandwich in a Masters conversation is the Georgia Peach Ice Cream sandwich. At $2 a throw, it might just be the best-value, best-tasting ice cream on the planet.