Masters Tournament known for its green jackets and simple sandwiches

McClatchy-Tribune News ServiceApril 8, 2014 

  • ON TV

    'The Masters Tournament'

    April 10-13 on ESPN and CBS. Check listings for times.

The Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga., is one cheesy place. The first time my husband, Roy, and I went to it, we fell in love. Not with each other — we did that a couple of decades ago — but with those oh-so-famous and oh-so-delicious pimiento cheese and egg salad sandwiches on white bread for which the Masters have become so renowned.

Wrapped in a clear green cellophane-type wrapper — a hat tip to the tournament's famous green jackets — the sandwiches are made daily for the world's best known golf tournament. They're fresh and just plain wonderful. Plus, they're dirt cheap. At a place where tickets can cost a mortgage payment or two or three, these white-bread wonders cost a paltry $1.50 each.

But getting the recipe for either sandwich is a Masters mystery. Don't bother calling Augusta National, where the tournament is held, for its super-duper top-secret recipes, because, as we say here in the South, it ain't happenin' — no way, no how. A spokesman for the notoriously private club politely and good-naturedly declined my request for the recipes.

If you're not going to the Masters or Augusta anytime soon to get the real thing, you can make these little Southern iconic gems yourself.

For something so tasty, neither sandwich is complicated to make. Let's just call these simple concoctions comfort food, the kind that's easy to throw together for tailgating parties, church socials, picnics and even for funerals.

At an event in my hometown, one of the menu items was pimiento cheese sandwiches. My husband took a nibble of one, and then happily declared it to be "as close to the real thing as it gets."

The source of the sandwiches for the soiree was Marynelle Presley, friend and southern cook extraordinaire. Presley, mother of two and grandmother of two, is like most women from the South whose great cooking genes have been handed down from generation to generation.

For her quick and easy pimiento cheese sandwiches, she keeps it very simple, and is adamant about using sharp cheddar and freshly cracked black pepper, adding that the "real key" is Duke's Mayonnaise.

"I've tried using medium cheddar cheese," she adds, "but it's just not the same."

Like most country cooks, she never measures most ingredients but uses intuition that flows out of those southern genes. "After I've grated the cheese, I just start with a couple of spoonfuls of mayonnaise and then keep adding it until it's just the right consistency."

And yes, Presley's husband, Royce, is related to another more famous Presley, the one who loved his sandwiches fried up with peanut butter and bananas, but she adds, "It's a long way off."

Presley — Marynelle, not Elvis — also offers freshness tips if you find that you must make them up a day ahead of time.

After cutting the sandwiches, she suggests placing them in a flat plastic container that seals with a lid. Next, soak a paper towel with water and then squeeze it out really well. Place the paper towel over the sandwiches and seal.

"The paper towels don't dry out," she explains, "so the sandwiches will be just as fresh the next day."

Plenty of other variations of the pimiento cheese sandwich use flavorful ingredients like crumbled bacon, cream cheese, and yes, even sardines — a sort of strange recipe I found in a 1940s-era cookbook.

Making egg salad sandwiches is just as easy as making ones with pimiento cheese. I'm happy to say that my husband fell in love with me all over again when I learned to make the faux-Masters egg salad sandwich. The as-far-from-fancy-as-it-gets recipe also uses Duke's Mayonnaise and fresh, soft white bread, and it's a close kissin' cousin to the one served at the golf tournament.

Using the basic Kissin' cousin egg salad recipe, you can make the egg salad more extravagant by adding other ingredients. Olives, onion, celery, cucumber, shallots, capers, avocado, cayenne and curry come to mind, and you can always add extras like lettuce, tomato and bacon.

But for real taste of the Masters, leave off all those extras and eat it naked — but the sandwich should be naked, not you.

Kissin' cousin to the Masters egg salad sandwich

6 hard-boiled eggs, shells removed

1/3 cup or slightly more, to taste, of Duke's Mayonnaise

¾ teaspoon yellow mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

Chop the eggs in a large bowl until just slightly chunky. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Serve on white bread.

Avocado egg salad sandwich

4 hardboiled eggs, shells removed

½ avocado, seeded and peeled

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice

Dash of hot sauce

½ teaspoon yellow mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

Place eggs and avocado in a medium-sized bowl. Chop until just slightly chunky. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Serve on toasted or untoasted white or wheat bread.

Miss Marynelle's masterful pimento cheese sandwich

16-ounce block sharp cheddar cheese

1 4-ounce jar of chopped pimientos

Salt and cracked pepper to taste

Duke's Mayonnaise

White bread

Grate cheddar cheese into a large bowl. Add chopped pimientos (for more pimiento flavor, use 8-ounce jar instead of 4-ounce jar). Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of mayonnaise to mix and stir well. Continue adding mayonnaise one teaspoon at a time until the mixture is of the consistency you like. Serve on white bread.

This recipe works well with rye bread.

Pimento sandwiches with crumbled bacon

1 pound sharp cheddar cheese

4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

1 cup finely chopped pecans

1 to 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 2-ounce jar pimiento-stuffed olives, chopped

Finely chopped onion to taste

Mayonnaise

Mix all ingredients together with enough mayonnaise to spread; start with 1 to 2 teaspoons and work from there. Spread on rye bread and broil for a minute or two.

— Adapted from Land of Cotton: A Collection of Southern Recipes (Wimmer Cookbooks, Inc., $21.95)

This recipe is from my mother's cookbook that dates to the 1940s. The publisher can't be determined because its cover, first few pages, and index are missing. Mama made a million recipes from the book, which has 966 pages without the index. Even with its torn, yellowed, and stained pages, I can never make myself throw it away.

Pimento and walnut sandwiches

½ cup chopped English walnut meats

½ cup chopped pimientos

3 ounces cream cheese

½ cup mayonnaise

⅛ teaspoon salt

Butter

Brown or nut bread

Mix walnut meats with pimientos, cream cheese, mayonnaise, and salt. Spread between buttered slices of brown or nut bread.

The Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga., is one cheesy place. The first time my husband, Roy, and I went to it, we fell in love. Not with each other — we did that a couple of decades ago — but with those oh-so-famous and oh-so-delicious pimiento cheese and egg salad sandwiches on white bread for which the Masters has become renowned.

Wrapped in a clear green cellophane-type wrapper — a hat tip to the tournament's famous green jackets — the sandwiches are made daily for the world's best known golf tournament. They're fresh and just plain wonderful. Plus, they're dirt cheap. At a place where tickets can cost a mortgage payment or two or three, these white-bread wonders cost $1.50 each.

But getting the recipe for either sandwich is a Masters mystery. Don't bother calling Augusta National, where the tournament is held, for its super-duper top-secret recipes because, as we say here in the South, it ain't happenin' — no way, no how. A spokesman for the notoriously private club politely and good-naturedly declined my request for the recipes.

If you're not going to the Masters or Augusta any time soon to get the real thing, you can make these little Southern iconic gems yourself.

For something so tasty, neither sandwich is complicated to make. Let's just call these simple concoctions comfort food, the kind that's easy to throw together for tailgating parties, church socials, picnics and even funerals.

At an event in my hometown, one of the menu items was pimiento cheese sandwiches. My husband took a nibble of one, then happily declared it to be "as close to the real thing as it gets."

The source of the sandwiches for the soiree was Marynelle Presley, friend and Southern cook extraordinaire. Presley, mother of two and grandmother of two, is like most women from the South whose great cooking genes have been handed down from generation to generation.

For her quick and easy pimiento cheese sandwiches, she keeps it very simple, and is adamant about using sharp cheddar and freshly cracked black pepper, adding that the "real key" is Duke's Mayonnaise.

"I've tried using medium cheddar cheese," she adds, "but it's just not the same."

Like most country cooks, she never measures most ingredients but uses intuition that flows out of those Southern genes. "After I've grated the cheese, I just start with a couple of spoonfuls of mayonnaise and then keep adding it until it's just the right consistency."

And yes, Presley's husband, Royce, is related to another more famous Presley, the one who loved his sandwiches fried with peanut butter and bananas, but she adds, "It's a long way off."

Presley — Marynelle, not Elvis — also offers freshness tips if you find that you must make the sandwiches a day ahead of time.

After cutting them, she suggests placing them in a flat plastic container that seals with a lid. Next, soak a paper towel with water and then squeeze it out really well. Place the paper towel over the sandwiches and seal.

"The paper towels don't dry out," she says, "so the sandwiches will be just as fresh the next day."

Plenty of other variations of the pimiento cheese sandwich use flavorful ingredients like crumbled bacon, cream cheese and even sardines — a sort of strange recipe I found in a 1940s-era cookbook.

Egg salad sandwiches is just as easy as ones with pimiento cheese. I'm happy to say that my husband fell in love with me all over again when I learned to make a faux-Masters egg salad sandwich. The as-far-from-fancy-as-it-gets recipe also uses Duke's Mayonnaise and fresh, soft white bread.

Using the basic Kissin' cousin egg salad recipe, you can make the egg salad more extravagant by adding other ingredients. Olives, onion, celery, cucumber, shallots, capers, avocado, cayenne and curry come to mind, and you can always add extras like lettuce, tomato and bacon.

But for real taste of the Masters, leave off all those extras and eat it naked — that is, the sandwich should be naked, not you.

Recipes

Kissin' cousin to the Masters egg salad sandwich

6 hard-boiled eggs, shells removed

1⁄3 cup or slightly more, to taste, Duke's Mayonnaise

¾ teaspoon yellow mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

Chop eggs in a large bowl until just slightly chunky. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Serve on white bread.

Avocado egg salad sandwich

4 hardboiled eggs, shells removed

½ avocado, seeded and peeled

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice

Dash of hot sauce

½ teaspoon yellow mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

Place eggs and avocado in a medium bowl. Chop until just slightly chunky. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Serve on toasted or untoasted white or wheat bread.

Miss Marynelle's masterful pimento cheese sandwich

16-ounce block sharp cheddar cheese

1 jar (4 ounces) chopped pimientos

Salt and cracked pepper to taste

Duke's Mayonnaise

White bread

Grate cheese into a large bowl. Add pimientos (for more pimiento flavor, use 8-ounce jar). Add 1 to 2 teaspoons mayonnaise to mix and stir well. Continue adding mayonnaise 1 teaspoon at a time until mixture is the consistency you like. Serve on white bread.

This recipe is from my mother's cookbook that dates to the 1940s. The publisher can't be determined because its cover, first few pages and index are missing. Mama made a million recipes from the book, which has 966 pages without the index. Even with its torn, yellowed, and stained pages, I can never make myself throw it away.

Pimento and walnut sandwiches

½ cup chopped English walnut meats

½ cup chopped pimientos

3 ounces cream cheese

½ cup mayonnaise

1⁄8 teaspoon salt

Butter

Brown or nut bread

Mix walnut meats with pimientos, cream cheese, mayonnaise and salt. Spread between buttered slices of brown or nut bread.This recipe works well with rye bread.

Pimento sandwiches with crumbled bacon

1 pound sharp cheddar cheese

4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

1 cup finely chopped pecans

1 to 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 jar (2 ounces) pimiento-stuffed olives, chopped

Finely chopped onion to taste

Mayonnaise

Mix all ingredients together with enough mayonnaise to spread; start with 1 to 2 teaspoons and work from there. Spread on rye bread and broil for a minute or two.

Adapted from Land of Cotton: A Collection of Southern Recipes

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service