In the words of Mr. Jim Nantz, The Masters, which begins today, is "a tradition unlike any other." And the man is right: no other major sporting event, other than perhaps the Kentucky Derby, relies so heavily on a sense of place and pomp.
Conceived by revered amateur Bobby Jones and first played in 1934, it’s the only major championship in golf that takes place at the same course every year, Augusta National. Over time, the tournament has accumulated its own iconography: pink azaleas; Amen Corner; white jumpsuited caddies; the Green Jacket; a sleepy-smooth theme song composed, in an on-the-nose twist, by a third cousin of Kenny Loggins; and strangely hypnotic opening monologues delivered by a blazer-wearing Nantz.
Most of this stuff you can enjoy just fine from the comfort of your own home. One you cannot: Augusta National's legendary pimento cheese sandwiches, sold for a downright folksy buck-fifty on the grounds throughout the weekend. That is, until now. Goldbelly, the devoted curators responsible for delivering Katz's Deli, Papaya King, Dinosaur BBQ and other local delicacies to your doorstep, has partnered with the man responsible for crafting golf's most iconic sandwich to bring a (truly delicious) piece of The Masters to you. Place your order now.
First, a bit of bad news: given the limits of time, space and cheese-preparation, orders placed today will not arrive in time for the final round of The Masters. Which is fine, really. You were going to be too nervous watching Rory try to capture the career Grand Slam to enjoy these sandwiches anyway.
And what special sandwiches they are, impeccable in their utter simplicity. All they are is a healthy mixture of pimentos (a sweet red pepper), cheese and mayonnaise, mashed between two slices of white bread. Yet the actual recipe has been the subject of embittered controversy for the last 20 years or so. For decades, a caterer named Nick Rangos from Aiken, South Carolina, made the tournament's legendary spread. But in 1998, the club switched contracts, and tasked Ted Godfrey, whose company, Wife Saver, was responsible for making Augusta National's almost equally famous fried chicken sandwiches, with recreating it. Rangos, perhaps bitter over the change, wouldn't reveal his recipe's secret ingredient. As ESPN reported, it took Godfrey months to hit on the exact recipe, sampling over 30 cheeses and taste-testing his recipes against a treasured frozen batch of the original until he got it right.
In 2013, Augusta National switched vendors, again—and Godfrey, principled guy he is, refused to give the club his missing ingredient. Journalists and pimento cheese enthusiasts the world over suggest the sandwiches haven't tasted quite the same since.
Fortunately for you, Goldbelly is sending you Godfrey's pimento cheese—in two, four and six-pound packs, the last of which would last over 30 sandwiches—along with the classic Masters-green plastic wrappers. The only thing missing will be the bread.
And the roars of the crowd, the smell of the dogwood trees, etcetera, etcetera...