DSCN0502When times are tough, the tough go to the Krystal for breakfast. That’s what Mark and I did Saturday morning. I was intrigued by the new Krystal with crispy onions, the kind you get in the can at the grocery store. And you can get, like, 20 Krystals for $10. Now that’s Recession food.

I just love Krystals. I’ve written about my devotion to them before. And not just the hamburgers. My typical order is: 1 Krystal, no cheese; 1 Krystal Chic, and 1 Corn Pup. But this time I tried the onion ring version. Absolutely delicious. It would have been even better with bacon, but I didn’t realize you could get extra bacon on a Krystal until after I ordered. Don’t you hate it when that happens?

Sitting there, eating my Krystals, I remembered Howard Lewis. Howard Lewis is a barbecue judge who lives in Beverly Hills. He might be the only barbecue judge who lives in Beverly Hills. But Howard is fascinated with all things Southern and every time he comes to a contest in the South, my friend Terrell and I try to introduce him to typical Southern foods. The last time I saw Howard he was fixated on pimento cheese and I took him to a tea room that I thought would have a good version. I was horrified when it turned out they make their pimento cheese with white Cheddar. No! Not allowed.

The other thing Howard tried that trip was a Krystal. I think Terrell forced him into it. Howard Lewis eating a KrystalHoward does not strike me as a hamburger guy, even though he’s pretty willing to try anything once. I think he was confused. There is no such thing as a Krystal in California, or even a White Castle, which is Krystal’s inferior Northern cousin. Howard has eaten in some of the best five-star restaurants in the world, being as how he is a fancy pants travel agent to the stars. I just don’t think a little square steamed burger with a pickle slice, onions and mustard computed in his gastronomic mind.

But look here. He’s smiling. Perhaps that’s a look of bemusement on his face. Yes, I think it is. And if nothing else, Terrell got a good chuckle out of the whole thing. Terrell will do almost anything for a laugh.

Hey, Howard, I felt bad about the pimento cheese gaffe. Here’s a real deal recipe, the one I use that I got off the Southern Foodways Alliance website. Make up a batch and take it to your office. Nobody in California will know what to think about pimento cheese, but you will.

Lella’s Pimento Cheese

Cheddar cheese, grated, about 1/2 a food processor full
1 small jar whole pimentos
Dash onion powder
Dash red pepper
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Pinch sugar (less than 1/4 tsp)
Homemade mayonnaise or Duke’s, if you’re not up to homemade

Blend grated cheese and pimento in food processor until well blended. Add mayonnaise as needed, blend again, add other ingredients, blend.

(The pimento cheese is a solid color and you cannot see the pimentos once blended.)


  1. Howard Lewis
    October 12, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    Sucks, I am honored to be on the website of one of the greatest BBQ people I know.

    I love this website, it keeps me in touch with ‘Southern folk” and To paraphrase Mr. Shakespeare
    “Where is the life I wish I lead?”

    Ditto about Gourmet magazine, you hit it right on the head.
    Too bad!

    ~ Howard

  2. Donna
    October 13, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    My pimiento cheese is the same as your recipe with one addition: a splash of sherry and a splash of tabasco.

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