Crowning touch

The Kingsman makes the case for pimento cheese

The Palmetto burger/ Photos by Michael Stern
The Palmetto burger/ Photos by Michael Stern
Avatar photo
Avatar photo

South Carolina legislators who decree such things have anointed a state dance (the shag), a state dog (the Boykin Spaniel), a state vegetable (collards), even a state snack (boiled peanuts). But the Palmetto State (nicknamed for its state tree) has no official state dish. It’s not as if there aren’t plenty of good candidates to fill the void. Why not shrimp-and-grits or a Lowcountry boil, chicken bog or she-crab soup, barbecue in general or hash on rice in particular? Or how about the pimento cheeseburger?

There’s no gastronomical Herodotus to document its origin, but amateur historians believe the pimento cheeseburger was invented in the early 1960s by J.C. Reynolds, proprietor of Columbia’s Dairy Bar restaurant. Nobody knows what inspired him to flout cheddar and American in favor of a cheese spread sometimes called “the pâté of the South.”

blue-line

This article is included for paying subscribers.

BECOME A SUBSCRIBER

Help us cover food and drink across the American South as though it mattered as much as crime and politics (because it does.)