Snack master - devouring the menu at Augusta National Golf Club
April 4th, 2012
08:30 PM ET
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Cue the “Mission: Impossible” music.

“Your mission, Mr. Lendon, should you accept it, is to attend one of the world’s foremost sporting events and eat from the concessions all day for under $15.”

This is crazy, I say to myself. Can’t be done. For the 2014 Super Bowl, a single "premium canned beer" was $14 (making bottled beer seem like a relative bargain at $14), a soda $6.  At a regular season L.A. Dodgers game, all-you-can-eat pavilion seating starts at $30 and goes up from there.

And this is the annual Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club, the best of the best for golf. Nevertheless, I set off on my mission.

Mission log follows.

pimento cheese

0910 hours: In the gates of Augusta National and heading up the first fairway. Map shows concessions back by Hole No. 3.

0920 hours: Stand sighted. No lines. And breakfast served until 1000 hours. I move in.

0921 hours: I’ve secured a chicken biscuit and a coffee. Cost, $1.50 for the biscuit, $1 for the java. But now I have to eat it.

0928 hours: Consumed. Ravenously. The biscuit was good sized, seemed a bit bigger than Chick-fil-A. The biscuit itself is good, not too doughy. The chicken still juicy despite spending time in the foil bag. Coffee is hot, dark and strong. I usually drink it black, but I need two half-and-halfs on this one. Guy next to meet at the condiment bar says he should’ve asked for half coffee, half hot water.

0930-1230 hours: Watching golf’s best knock it around. I’ve had tougher assignments.

1232 hours: Lunch. Down near the end of Hole No. 10. I’ve been told when at the Masters the pimento cheese sandwich is a must. I’ve never had one, but orders are orders. And the $1.50 price tag fits the parameters of the mission. I add on the Masters kettle-cooked potato chips, $1, and a light blue concoction labeled “sport drink,” $1.50. Wanted the Diet Coke, but figured I should avoid any more caffeine in the hot sun. Total hit: $4.

1234 hours: The concession area is crowded, but a nice couple from Houston offers me a spot at their table. They’ve earned my trust so I confide my mission to them – they express amazement that I live in Atlanta and have never had pimento cheese before. But they assure me I’ll like it.

1236 hours: First bite. Hmmm. I chew slowly. The woman senses my trepidation. “You’ll love it by the end,” she says. “It gets better as it goes along.”

1240 hours: The lady is right. Yummy! The couple from Houston has moved on, so I share my excitement with three guys from Omaha who’ve replaced them. They find my assignment amusing, but they doubt my chances for success. “I just spent $8 for two egg salad sandwiches and this beer,” one says. My point exactly. And his math is off. Even if he got the import beer, at $3.75, he’d have only spent $6.75 as the egg salad sandwiches are $1.50 each.

1440 hours: Watching the Par 3 tournament and stomach rumbling. Must make a move. I’m thinking white chocolate, macadamia nut cookie, just like the one I thought about tacking on to lunch.

1443 hours: In line.

1445 hours: Served. And thrown a curveball. (Sorry to mix sports metaphors. I’m time pressed.) No cookies on the Par 3 course. And no beer either. Curious, that. I get the Snickers bar as the commercials say they really satisfy.

1447 hours: Snickers really does satisfy. Especially at $1.

1450-1529 hours: Par 3 action, including watching three of the game’s greats, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. Watching Palmer makes me want one of those half lemonade, half ice tea drinks. Thanks for coming up with that one, Arnie.

1530 hours: Thunderstorms rolling in to Augusta. Play is stopped and the course is cleared.

1620 hours: Play is canceled for the day and the course closes all concessions. I’ll need to tap other resources to complete my three-meal mission.

1621 hours: I check the concession price board. I can get the same things in the press area, which is still open. And they are the same. I go with the ham and cheese on rye, $2.50, the $1 kettle chips again (I really do like those) and a domestic beer., $3. Assessment: Nods to the Houston couple. The ham and cheese was not as good and the pimento cheese, really kind of bland and the bread was mushy. Maybe it was sitting in the cooler too long. Glad I had the beer to wash it down.

1638 hours: Mission complete. Total cost for three meals and a snack: $14. Which should also look good on the expense account.

From the Eatocracy editors:
But a little bit more about that pimento cheese. It's a thing. More precisely it's a Southern thing without which The Masters (and many a front porch and post-church gathering) simply isn't the same. Essentially, it's a blend of grated cheese, mayonnaise and pimentos, with more than a soupçon of regional and familial pride stirred into the mix.

In 2011, heartbreak briefly ensued at the Masters Tournament when a power outage at the golf club's production center temporarily interrupted the availability of pimento cheese sandwiches to hungry fans. reports that severe thunderstorms were the cause of the power loss and that at least one patron was pretty cheesed off at the lack of sandwiches.

Reed Clevenger of Cary, North Carolina, attended the tournament with a friend and told the publication "We were in disbelief when we walked in and heard there were no sandwiches...We told (our sons) even if you don't like it, you have to try the pimento cheese at least once."

Mr. Reed reportedly tracked down the sandwiches at the single concession stand that was selling them, and power was restored throughout the club on Tuesday.

Since many Southerners vehemently disagree as to its platonic makeup (levels of spice, cheese blend, consistency and additions such as onion and pickles are all hotly debated), Eatocracy presents several variations.

pimento cheese

From John Currence, James Beard Award-winning chef of City Grocery Restaurant Group in Oxford, Mississippi

Pimento Cheese

Makes about 3/4 gallon
4 cups shredded cheddar
4 cups shredded Havarti
1 1/2 cup cream cheese
1 1/2 cup bread and butter pickles, minced
3/4 cup pickle juice
2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons Tabasco hot sauce
1 cup pimentos, minced
3/4 cup mayonnaise
salt and black pepper, to taste

Combine cheeses, mayonnaise, pickle juice and Tabasco in food processor and pulse until combined. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

From Eatocracy commenter C.K. Leverett

Pimento Cheese Spread

1 lb. Velveeta or similar cheese product, shredded
1 lb. finely shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 jar (14-16 oz.) pimentos or roasted red peppers, drained and diced
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. Texas Pete (or your favorite hot sauce)"

Put all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and start blending on the lowest mixer setting until combined, scraping frequently. Very gradually increase mixer speed, scraping as needed, until the mixer is at its highest setting. Beat at highest speed for at least five minutes until creamy. Cover bowl (or transfer to a tightly covered container) and chill overnight, allowing flavors to meld. Allow to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before spreading.

Traditionally, in North Carolina at least, this would be spread evenly on white bread, crusts trimmed and cut into small triangles, often joining chicken salad sandwiches prepared in the same fashion. I do use a good thin white bread – Arnold Brick Oven White Big Slice or similar – but unless it’s going to be part of a platter for serving to guests I don’t bother trimming the crusts, or for that matter cutting it more than in half.

Our managing editor prefers this recipe from NPR's Wright Bryan, spiked with an extra splash of pickle juice. Share your favorite formulations and pimento cheese musings in the comments below. The post originally ran in 2012, and we've updated it with all the freshest pimento cheese news and a few recipes.

soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. Soakee

    Even better than pimento cheese...grilled pimento cheese with pickled jalapenos.

    April 9, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
  2. Carol 4444

    Substitute minced pickled jalepenos and juice for bread and butter pickles.

    April 9, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
  3. palintwit

    Pinatas that resemble Sarah Palin would probably sell very well north of the Mason-Dixon line. I mean, who wouldn't want to hit that thing with a stick ?

    April 9, 2014 at 11:50 am |
    • frank

      Still talking about the Palin chick in 2014 even though she is irrelevant. Wow that's obsessive for you all out there reading. This man needs help.

      April 9, 2014 at 6:46 pm |
      • Paulii

        And a guy named after a wiener IS relevant?

        April 9, 2014 at 8:32 pm |
  4. BillyBob Johnson

    Everything old is new again. Pimiento cheese was all the rage 25-30 years ago. Then it disappeared in the early 90s. Now it's back because people are bored with the current choices. Makes an excellent dip, BTW. Use Philadelphia brand.

    April 8, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
  5. Yakobi

    Pimento cheese? One word: Ewwww!
    Why ruin perfectly good cheddar cheese with pimentos?

    April 8, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
    • Soakee

      Because they make plain cheese better?

      April 9, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
  6. Fiona

    I guess life on the left coast is another world. These prices the writer is grousing about are dead cheap. I don't think I have seen anything sold for a dollar anywhere out here...for years.

    BTW, you have a few errors in that piece. Poor editing.

    April 8, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
  7. Lindsey

    It's actually spelled "pimiento"

    April 8, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
  8. bob

    Holy smokeballs - do you recycle this same article every year? This isn't "It's a Wonderful Life," guys, do some new reporting.

    April 8, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
    • Uppan Down

      Read the article's post date doofus.

      April 8, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
    • JB

      If I'm not mistaken, Augusta froze its concession prices some time in the early 80s, so there really is no reason to update this article; it should always be the same. I was there 10 years ago, and pretty sure that's what I paid then.

      April 8, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
    • frank

      I think it's cool that they sell food at cost. If you don't like reading about it, guess what? Don't read it, nimrod!

      April 9, 2014 at 6:49 pm |
  9. odubhain

    Forget everything but the pimentos, mayonnaise and shredded cheddar cheese if you want pimento cheese. Anything else is Yankeefied weirdness.

    April 8, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
    • CatSh

      And the brand of mayo matters. It has to be REAL mayo – not that sweet salad dressing stuff. Duke's is a favorite in my part of NC.

      April 8, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
    • randoid1234

      Yankeefied? Does that mean it beats the Confederate version?

      April 8, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
      • danielatlanta

        No, it means that anything else gives Atlanta heartburn.

        April 8, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
      • Grog

        It means the yankeefied version will go through you like Sherman through Georgia.

        April 8, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
        • frank

          Or Putin through Ukraine.

          April 9, 2014 at 6:51 pm |
  10. ghost2012

    Being from Augusta with a curb side seat to the Augusta National. I can reassure that Pimento Cheese when made right can consume anyone's hunger.

    April 8, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
  11. Mason Dixon

    Bread and butter pickles in pimento cheese?! Say it ain't so! Now, it is acceptable to put bread and butter pickles ON the pimento cheese sandwich, but only if you're a Philistine or a Yankee (I know, not much difference, but I'm trying to be all inclusive and stuff). The Eatocracy recipe is close, but substitute jack or havarti for the Velveeta and throw in an 8 ounce package of cream cheese. Velveeta goes in macaroni and cheese or queso, but NOT pimento cheese. The very idea...

    April 8, 2014 at 11:53 am |
    • randoid1234

      Bread and butter pickles on your pimento cheese sandwich? Sounds like a good cause for secession.

      April 8, 2014 at 5:10 pm |
  12. cacique

    The way you describe it, it sure makes great sandwiches.
    I guess the wealthy have a good taste too, even if they have a rancid wallet.

    April 8, 2014 at 11:26 am |
    • cacique

      The tabasco sauce may be the key ingredient.

      April 8, 2014 at 11:28 am |
    • VladT

      Is the wallet rancid because your post stinks of jealousy, or what?

      Or, did they leave the aforementioned pimento cheese in the cash slot?

      April 10, 2014 at 5:06 am |
  13. Pat

    Yeah, recycle a two-year-old article...

    April 8, 2014 at 10:52 am |
  14. CAK

    First of all, the chicken bisquit is $3. Also, you really missed out, if you didn't try the icecream sandwich made with Georgia peach ice cream between two surgar cookies for $3. I love Snickers, but I can get one of those any time.

    April 11, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • CAK


      April 11, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
  15. Ticket Prices

    Ticket prices for what's left as of this post:
    Saturday, April 7th – $825 ea
    Sunday, April 8th – $795 ea
    4 Day Tournament Badge (Thurs-Sun) – $3,195 ($798/day)

    At these prices, if I flash my entry ticket at any concession stand I should get a filet dinner, a chilled bottle of Dom, an act *that's unmentionable here* performed on my person and a house payment. Screw your $1.50 egg salad sandwiches.

    April 6, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • moron

      you realize those are scalper prices, right?? the only place to buy masters tix is through the masters. anything else is way above face value.

      April 6, 2012 at 9:37 am |
      • Merriam Webster

        So you label yourself a moron because TP was ignorant of scalper's sites? Sounds fair to me.

        usually offensive 1: a person affected with mild mental retardation
        2: a very stupid person

        1a: destitute of knowledge or education; also: lacking knowledge or comprehension of the thing specified
        1b: resulting from or showing lack of knowledge or intelligence
        2: unaware, uninformed

        Yep. Sounds very fair to me.

        April 6, 2012 at 10:04 am |
      • Merriam Webster

        So you label yourself a moron because TP was ignorant of scalper's sites? Sounds fair to me.

        usually offensive 1: a person affected with mild mental retardation
        2: a very stupid person

        1a: dest itute of knowledge or education; also: lacking knowledge or comprehension of the thing specified
        1b: resulting from or showing lack of knowledge or intelligence
        2: unaware, uninformed

        Yep. Sounds very fair to me.

        April 6, 2012 at 10:22 am |
      • beavis

        So you label yourself a moron because TP was ignorant of scalper's sites? Sounds fair to me.

        usually offensive 1: a person affected with mild mental retardation
        2: a very stupid person

        1a: dest itute of knowledge or education; also: lacking knowledge or comprehension of the thing specified
        1b: resulting from or showing lack of knowledge or intelligence
        2: unaware, uninformed

        Yep. Sounds very fair to me.

        April 8, 2014 at 11:07 am |
        • Yakobi

          moron: anyone who posts the same thing 3 times.
          ignorant: anyone who needs a dictionary for commonly used words.

          April 8, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
        • Yakobi

          moron: anyone who posts the same thing 4 times.
          ignorant: anyone who needs a dictionary for commonly used words.

          April 8, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
        • Yakobi

          moron: anyone who posts the same thing 5 times.
          ignorant: anyone who needs a dictionary for commonly used words.

          April 8, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
  16. Poetry

    A person essentially lend a hand to make significantly posts I'd state. That is the first time I frequented your web page and so far? I amazed with the research you made to make this particular publish incredible. Wonderful task!

    April 5, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • Terry

      English, please.

      April 10, 2014 at 9:06 am |
  17. BBCue

    Why is everyone in an uproar about the Masters not allowing women just this year? Women received the right to vote in the 20's and ever since, the Masters haven't allowed women into their "gentlemen's game." Its been the same for 90 years, but just this year THE MEDIA feels sorry for a rich CEO of IBM who happens to be a woman. Annika and countless other qualified LPGA professionals have never made as much of a deal of this as now.

    Obviously THE MEDIA looks out for the 1% more than the rest of us. Why should anyone care if one 1% CEO gets a "sponsor's membership" at The Masters. Not like she can compete in the LPGA or do the course justice.

    I consider membership at The Masters as people who have singlehandedly won the tournament or improved the tournament. The IBM CEO has done nothing but write a check that the Masters could easily request Nike, GM, or Intel to replace IBM. Grow up!

    P.S. prices are low for food at the Masters because the ticket prices are obscene.

    April 5, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • moron

      you're right! face value for a ticket is 50 bucks a day. that's just obscene!!!!!

      April 6, 2012 at 9:40 am |
  18. michelle

    The gentleman with the two egg salad sandwhiches most likely had the correct math....It's called tipping moron!!! Something that looks foreign to you by the way the article reads.

    April 5, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • Jim

      If YOU weren't such a moron, you would know that Augusta National has a no-tipping policy.

      April 5, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
      • Elsie

        I thought that only applied to cows.

        April 6, 2012 at 8:03 am |
      • michelle

        I guess I wouldn't know because women are not allowed.....and to the guy below. If someone brings me prepared food...I tip.

        April 6, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
        • shoofly

          michelle, women ARE allowed at the tournament. Secondly, no one brings you food at the Masters. You go through a very well organized line and pick the food you want and go to the cashiers at the end of the line and pay. There is no tipping. You might try knowing what you are talking about before you run your mouth. Sounds like that would be a new concept for you.

          April 6, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Dave

      you DO NOT TIP when you stand in line at a concession, pick up a pizza yourself or any other situation where they do not bring your food (unwrapped) to a table where you are sitting to eat it.

      Interesting how tip jars are showing up EVERYWHERE- even saw one at Subway. Ridiculous. Tipping is done for jobs that are paid BELOW minimum wage.

      April 6, 2012 at 9:28 am |
      • Yakobi

        That's my fault–if someone does a good job, I tip. If the guy at Subway follows my directions and makes me a good sammich, I ask, "Where's your tip jar?" If they don't have one, I say, "Keep the change."

        April 8, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
  19. Stu

    and goldsmith, we arent all disappointed, I am proud of them. They are a private club and can do whatever they want. If they want to exclude anybody under the age of 50, they can do that too. If they require members to be at least 6 feet tall, guess what they can do that too. IT IS A PRIVATE CLUB FOR GODS SAKE. Why is that so hard for some people to understand? Oh, nevermind, im sure you are a liberal and voted for Obama.

    April 5, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  20. David

    I've heard about the low food prices at the Masters. It's a refreshing change of pace from most major league sports food prices. Plus, allows you to further enjoy the greatest show in golf without worrying about carrying too much cash for inflated food costs.

    April 5, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
  21. michelej

    Shame on you for featuring this event. I am disappointed. And yes, I'm a woman.

    April 5, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • mlblogscbgoldsmith

      It being 2012 MicheleJ we all are disappointed. Billy Payne and his fellow ancient Caucasians are enabled by ESPN and CBS to live in the past where folks of color carried bags and women were hushed. The Masters illustrates why private clubs exist. Old white men ache to hide then from the real world then so be it but CBS and ESPN should pay the price as co-conspirators.

      April 5, 2012 at 11:44 am |
      • Man 12345

        Can I join Belizean Grove, what about the 1000's of all women clubs at many institutions of higher learning that won't let men join. You want in Augusta, we get to be tri delts if we want. There are several all female colleges; do you want to open those to men too! How about the women only gyms?

        Now get back in the kitchen and finish dinner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        April 5, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
      • Frank

        Actually we are not all disappointed. Go start your own club and world class gold tournament. You can make the criteria be for whiners.

        April 5, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
      • Man 12345

        Can I join one of the 1000's of all women clubs at many institutions of higher learning that won't let men join. You want in Augusta, we get to be tri delts if we want. There are several all female colleges; do you want to open those to men too! How about the women only gyms?

        Now get back in the kitchen and finish dinner!!

        April 5, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
      • BBCue

        Disappointed that you can't have access to a private, members only club? The club can do what its members want to do. Years ago, they allowed blacks to join, which for the region is quite step forward. Its a membership based on merit and if you believe a female CEO that's worse than a 20 handicap should be allowed to join because she's a CEO of a publicly traded company, you're mistaken.

        That's like allowing women to play NFL or NHL. I don't see you ladies lining up to get knocked on your butts and concussions. Hell, I don't even see many AMERICAN women on the LPGA tour trying to be the next Annika.

        Think you DESERVE membership at The Masters? PICK UP A CLUB!!!

        April 5, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Tigersgotawoodie

      Please kiss my putter and refrain from speaking.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
      • Angrymeatball


        April 5, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Angrymeatball

      Oh for God's sake, enough with the complaining about "men only" private clubs. There is nothing wrong with private clubs. Are you this insecure and hot-headed that you MUST make everything equal? Who cares if they don't admit women! Go form your own private club! You would be pissed if my husband demanded he get into the Junior League. No, everything and everyone are not equal on this planet and why must it be? Go find a ladies club and stop whining.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • DUSE

      Wow, I thought you were joking, till I realized you weren't. I guess you were not a fan of Calvin & Hobbes either, since Calvin ran a "No Girls" club as well. Isn't that the point of a private club, that not everyone can get in? I can't get in either, and I'm a white male. I am sure I can't get in, but that does not matter much to me. Wish I could have attended an all girls college though, and slept in the female dorm. Oh well.

      April 5, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • Stu

      michele, you are a loser.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • SouthernGirl

      Augusta National is an upstanding, beautiful, and most importantly, private golf club. Private clubs exist for the sole purpose of creating a specific environment based on rules and regulations set forth by the governing bodies of said clubs. Augusta National should not be forced to change their rules simply because the media taints them as "unfair." Frankly, I believe you would not be happy if your daughter's sorority was forced to allow a boy in because the media said it was discrimination.

      April 16, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • HM8432

      You're right. We should also ban sexist Women's colleges, fraternities, associations, etc. Businesses and organizations that cater exclusively to women should also be given the same, equal treatment that any Men's organization would be given by Feminazi's and other hypocritical "social justice" groups. Only then will TRUE gender equality be achieved.

      April 8, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
  22. hahahafunnyguy

    eat like a man and to heck with the check!!!

    April 4, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • hahahafunnyguy

      oh...first again

      April 4, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
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