Tomorrow we launch the 1st Pimento CHZ Club product in Piggly Wiggly stores in Birmingham. If you are local, please visit HWD or Crestline stores to help us support Marian's brand. A little more of her story below.
- Professional food stylist Marian Cooper Cairns has long believed that the world deserved better pimento cheese. Marian always believed her own pimento cheese was hands-down better than anything she could ever buy in the store. “Growing up in the South, pimento cheese was one of the fundamental foods, especially at gatherings like baby showers or funerals,” she says. “But I was always so disappointed when I tried packaged spreads. You couldn’t even taste the cheese first. I thought, ‘People deserved better pimento cheese.’” She’s lived in Los Angeles for the past 5 years and often served her pimento cheese as an appetizer at cocktail parties and supper clubs. That homemade spread developed a strong following among her friends, and they would request it specifically.
- The 2020 global pandemic lockdown accelerated the launch of Pimento Chz Club. Marian had the original idea for developing her own line of pimento cheese some years ago, but she accelerated that plan and the Pimento Chz Club brand while she was sheltering in place in the Spring of 2020. Since all of Marian’s food styling work had stopped, she had the time and energy to pour into the recipe and the brand.
- Pimento Chz Club started with direct deliveries...and grew from there. Some of Marian’s friends were lamenting the fact that they couldn’t get together in person during the lockdown, and they specifically mentioned missing her pimento cheese. That was all the nudging Marian needed to package her homemade recipe into containers and make safe drop-offs and deliveries to her friends. She welcomed them into the Pimento Chz Club. “In the midst of everything going on in the world, it made them happy, and it made me feel better,” says Marian. As the Pimento Chz Club gained popularity, Marian was able to scale the business by partnering with Nourish Foods Co., a meal delivery and food distribution company based in Birmingham, AL.
- The Pimento Chz Club is open to EVERYONE! “Once you try our pimento cheese, congratulations! You’re in the club AND you’ve now had real pimento cheese!” says Marian. Community is always important, but especially in a time like this. Marian has found that the Pimento Chz Club has been a wonderful catalyst for connecting people over food. They can easily participate using the #PimentoChzClub hashtag and share what they’re making and experiencing. “The #1 reason I decided to become a professional food stylist was that I wanted to make people happy, and I knew I could do that with food,” she says.
- Why pimento cheese? Because it’s as vital and versatile as peanut butter. For Marian, pimento cheese has endless potential. It is as much a kitchen staple as peanut butter. It’s easy and delicious to eat by itself, but it also transforms into the base for countless recipes and perfectly complements so many foods. Turn it into queso, build your mac-n-cheese around it, spread it across your tacos, hot dogs, jalapenos, enchiladas or homemade pizzas. The most creative use for pimento cheese that Marian has seen is pimento cheese-stuffed olives for martinis.
- When it comes to pimento cheese, Marian is “Team Mayo.” But the key to the recipe is that it’s drier than most. Many pimento cheese spreads use cream cheese, but Marian prefers to use mayonnaise in their recipe. In the recipe development process, she gravitated toward a “drier” pimento cheese. “The secret is that we use a whisper of mayo to hold it all together,” says Marian.