Sunday marked George Harrison’s 75th birthday, and in honor of his birthday I watched The Concert for George and, later in the day, Eric Idle’s The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash, a satirical film based on the Beatles’ career that features Harrison in a small role as a journalist.
I also shared the wonderfully goofy video made for Harrison’s 1970 song, “What Is Life,” a few years ago, with dancers Emma Rubinowitz and Esteban Hernandez of the San Francisco Ballet doing a performative dance that doesn’t appear to have much to do with the song but strikes me as the kind of weird and silly thing that Harrison would have loved.
Back to The Rutles.
One of the most memorable sequences in The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash is the animated sequence, inspired by The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, that goes with the song, “Cheese and Onions.”
In all the years that I’ve watched the film and listened to the song, I’d never once thought, “So, is a cheese and onions sandwich a thing?”
As it turns out, it is! Basically, it’s shredded cheddar and diced onions, mixed with mayo, and slapped on bread.
“That seems simple,” I thought. It wasn’t what I expected, I thought there would be cheese slices and tomatos and lettuce, but I was curious so I stopped at the grocery store on my way home from work Tuesday and picked up some cheddar. (I had a bag of frozen diced onions in the freezer. You never know when you’ll need them.)
I mixed my ingredients, I stirred them up, stirred and stirred and stirred, and…
I felt a slight sense of disappointment.
“That looks like pimento cheese,” I said to myself.
Not knowing off-hand what went into pimento cheese I looked it up. Shredded cheddar cheese, pimentos (a type of chili pepper, in case you didn’t know), and mayo.
The only difference from “cheese and onions”? Swap out the onions from a cheese and onions sandwich with diced pimentos and you have a pimento cheese sandwich.
And so it turned out that, after years of not knowing what a cheese and onions sandwich was, I basically did, albeit under a different name and with one different ingredient.