Pimiento cheese is as popular as it has ever been, and hands down among all the high-end versions out there, Pretty Perfect Pimiento is my favorite. Maggie Lacy and friends are still making magic over there in Loxley and have made the company a powerhouse in the national market. Although the cheddar is aged, the logo is new. But that isn’t all. The new flavors have hit the scene and fans of the tubs should get ready for something different.
If you’re looking for a little tang in your cheese, I would suggest the pancetta and horseradish version. Maggie claimed, “Your taste buds won’t know what hit them.” She was right. It was not what I was expecting. Though the horseradish is subtle, it is definitely present. The pancetta is the secret to the success. This flavor is great on a mild cracker with anything from a high-quality Pilsner to a Hefeweizen.
The Sun-dried Tomato and Lemon Zest flavor is a summer classic. The description concludes with the phrase, “Hope you have a good sommelier.” Imported sun-dried tomatoes from Italy add a bit of color while the zest of lemon opens up the nose. It’s a sturdy cheese that can handle the acidity of a sauvignon blanc or that oaky chardonnay you wouldn’t normally enjoy. It’s magical like that.
So, Lucas and Graham, if you’re reading, you have precious little time to get this for Dad. Have an adult purchase the wine. Fake IDs are only for voting.
Kits for the home brewer
I know more dads who are into beer than not. With home brewing still the rage in our fair city, it isn’t difficult for a father (with a little help this Sunday) to go from brew idiot to brew master. A simple kit found on Amazon can run anywhere from $50 to $180, but all can get the job done. In this information age, it’s easy to find ingredients and have them delivered to your front door. But the best way to get your feet (and your throat) wet is to join up with other amateur brewers.
To meet like-minded individuals and to educate yourself and dear old dad about the joys of beer making, your best resource is Free the Hops. This nonprofit organization promotes beer-friendly legislation, education and all things craft beer in an attempt to bring the world’s best beer to Alabama. At their website you may find beer pairings, different styles and links to the Alabama Brewer’s Guild. Visit www.freethehops.org for more information.
Portable grills are dad’s tailgate dream
Whether it’s football, baseball, camping or visiting lame friends who don’t own one, a portable grill can come in handy. There’s nothing like the smell of searing flesh with the sound of the drum corps in the distance. I’ve had portable grills in the past that really took the party to a new level, oftentimes in the parking lot at a place of employment. It’s only weird if you are the only one eating.
Shopping for a grill for dad is normally something I wouldn’t recommend. The monster in the backyard should be carefully selected by him alone, for there are standards he will require that you may not understand. But a portable grill is something I am totally on board with as a surprise for the patriarch.
Here are the questions: gas, campfire or charcoal? Do you want it to last a season or a decade? What is your budget?
If you don’t mind the small bottles of propane, there are plenty of camping grills that collapse and fold up on wheels. They take up a good bit of space, but the advantage is easy clean-up and minimal start-up time. The disadvantage is they are the most expensive and the bottles of propane are something you must plan ahead for, though most big box stores and sporting goods facilities carry them.
A campfire grill is pretty cool but doesn’t work for tailgating. It’s basically a cooking surface on legs that straddles an open flame. When finished, you just allow it to cool and wipe it down. These go for about $35 to $75.
Charcoal grills are the messiest of all. The compact versions can be as small as 14 inches in diameter and grow until no longer considered portable. Disposable ones are preloaded with charcoal and require a match, but give a surprising amount of cook time. My favorite portable grill was rectangular and had legs that folded up to secure the lid for transportation. It lasted me roughly four years. I loved it. Despite the mess, this is your best bet for maximum flavor and portability.
My advice is to spend somewhere in the $25 to $50 range on a portable grill. You’re probably using money that came from dad anyway, and he may appreciate you being a bit more frugal. Save the big bucks for the less portable grill. Better yet, save it for the meat.
So many great food ideas for pops are on every corner. Fruit-bearing trees, restaurant-supply businesses that have great cookware, gift certificates to restaurants and good, old-fashioned cookbooks are all things I would appreciate this year. Don’t worry, boys. I’ll be happy with a little bit of cheese and a lot of dad time. And to my cancer-free, maniacal, thrill-seeking father, Happy Father’s Day! I’ll see you shortly.
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