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Architects with an Appetite: Leah Teske

Leah Teske, Vice President and Madison Office Director at JLA, grew up visiting her Granny and other relatives in Kentucky. This Pimento Cheese Sandwich was a staple at family gatherings. Read on for the story and the recipe!

Tell us the story behind the recipe.

Leah: Pimento Cheese Sandwiches, specifically, remind me of my mom and the special visits I’ve had with my big Kentucky family.  In the cookbook she made us, my mom shared that this was the last meal Granny made for her when she was nearing the end of her life, so it is nostalgic for her as well.  I think because it is a quick, easy, and inexpensive preparation, it is the perfect thing to fix for lunch when you have company because you can make it in advance, it’s easy to eat left over, and it allows you to spend more time visiting with the people you love! It is best paired with an ice cold glass of sweet tea.

Leah Teske and mom enjoying pimento cheese.

Pimento Cheese Sandwich


  • 1 cup grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup Miracle Whip
  • 3 tablespoons finely diced jarred pimentos, plus a little of the liquid
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • salt & pepper, or Nature’s Seasoning, to taste
  • fresh chives chopped
  • lettuce or chopped celery, if desired
  • fluffy white sandwich bread


Coarsely grate cheese off the block (instead of pre-shredded, for best taste). Finely dice the pimentos, saving some of the liquid. Add the pimentos to the cheese. Add the Miracle Whip and combine, but don’t over-mix. Add pimento liquid for flavor and to loosen the mixture. Add chopped chives and your seasoning. Spread on sandwich bread and add lettuce/celery for extra crunch.

How have you made the recipe your own?

Leah: My favorite way to eat it is actually with celery, as a dip.  When I do eat it as a sandwich, I like to add the celery for crunch.  Or sometimes I’ll have it with crackers, pretzels, or chips.

It’s funny — as a kid I disliked Pimento Cheese because I did not like the texture of the pimentos. (This is why I now dice the pimentos when I make it!)

Final question, is there a favorite dish or recipe you have enjoyed from another JLA team member (or one you are hoping to try)?

Leah: Zach [Ziemba]’s Dill Pickle Soup, he brought it in once for an office potluck and it was delicious.

About Architects with an Appetite

Food is a universal language that connects us. It can tell a story, evoke a memory, or simply comfort us. The Architects with an Appetite blog series is designed to showcase our team and share our recipes and the stories behind them. Chili Competitions, Dip Offs, and potlucks are commonplace in the JLA offices, and it’s no secret around the ‘halls’  that our team members love to share and swap recipes— we’ve even toyed with the idea of a JLA Cookbook.  So we thought, why not share some of our favorite recipes with you?  We hope you enjoy them! 

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