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I went to Zingerman’s and Didn’t get a Sandwich.

I went to Zingerman’s and Didn’t get a Sandwich.

Given the overwhelming layout and endless options of Ann Arbor’s favorite deli, it can be a tough to bring yourself to stray from your go-to sandwich order and try, well, anything else.

The atmosphere can also be overwhelming. I have said that walking into Zingerman’s feels like walking into a food-themed amusement park. Delicious, but exhausting. When you need a little extra help (to prevent you from ordering that seriously heavenly reuben, again), follow this handy guide for what to buy and what to avoid:

BUY: Salads, Soups, Sides

Photo by Abbie Ginis

All the stuff in that glass case looks incredible but where to even begin? Luckily Zingerman’s is really great about letting you sample everything. The selection changes constantly depending on what’s in season — so don’t go expecting the same culinary experience every time. In the winter they import ingredients like pesto from Italy, while in the summer they try to use as many locally grown, in-season items as possible. Start planning for lots of fresh, spring-y salads.

BUY: Baked Goods and Gelato

Photo by Julie Mirliss

Ah, the good stuff. These are definitely worth the splurge. Fresh baked cookies, cakes, pies, you name it, they’ve got it! I was able to sample a key lime pie and only wished I had left room in my stomach and money in my wallet to get some. I’ll definitely be back for more in the future. As for the gelato that costs $1.99 for a portion the size of a salad dressing container, I’ll try to limit these purchases for the sake of my wallet.

SKIP: Fancy Cheeses, Meats, Breads

Photo by Abbie Ginis

Housed inside one little building are more types of cheese and fresh cuts of meat than you’ll know what to do with. As tempting as all of these items seem, you probably won’t have a real use for them as a college student, unless you’re hosting a cocktail hour (in which case, give your fancy ass self a pat on the back). Indulge in Zingerman’s love for free samples but let’s be real. You wont finish that entire loaf of bread before it gets stale.

SKIP: Oils, jams, spreads

Photo by Abbie Ginis

While I definitely could live off truffle salt olive oil or home made jams, again, you probably don’t need these things. Ask your parents to bring a bottle of your fave item home next time they’re visiting.

Side note for the sake of humanity: Zingerman’s has superb customer service. They accidentally messed up my order and not only offered me a refund, but also a coupon for next time!

View the original post, I went to Zingerman’s and Didn’t get a Sandwich., on Spoon University.

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The Sandwich Scandal at the Heart of the World’s Greatest Golfing Event

As a veteran sports journalist, Scott Michaux has attended Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA tournaments, and just about every golf tournament under the sun. “The Masters is the best presented event in the history of sports,” he says. “You can’t argue that.”

The Masters is one of the four major professional golf championships, where the world’s top golfers converge on Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, to compete for the coveted Green Jacket (and, this year, a cool $11.5 million). What sets the Masters apart, however, is a behind-the-scenes devotion to aesthetic perfection that evokes from its regular patrons a near-religious fervor.

It’s a place where—to believe the rumors—the grounds crew manipulates the course’s iconic azaleas to bloom the very week in April when the tournament begins where the ponds are dyed to a specific shade of blue where a massive oak tree once fell, damaging a bathroom facility the night before the tournament, yet by morning, the building had been fully repaired and the oak tree disappeared, stump and all. “They’re like the Keebler elves. Something magic is happening over there,” says Michaux. “There’s nothing they overlook.”

For an added air of refinement, the tournament organizers are also characteristically tight-lipped about all matters, big and small. “Even when they change the course, there’s no press release on anything,” says Michaux. When a new building is constructed, he says, it simply appears the day of the tournament’s opening, already inexplicably covered in vines.

A crowd gathers at the 1950 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Augusta National/Getty Images

An event so wedded to perfection, so shrouded in its own tradition, is surely one of the last places you’d expect to find successive episodes of food-based spite politics. Yet here we are.

The greatest event in sports history is missing a vital recipe: that of its original pimento cheese sandwich. To be clear, it’s little more than peppered cheese on white bread, yet for its simplicity, it’s somehow an indelible figure in the Masters’ concession scene. “Pimento cheese has latched on in people’s memories,” says Michaux, “even though—I would swear to you—every other sandwich they have out there is better.”

The problem began more than 20 years ago, when the Masters chose not to renew the contract for the tournament’s longtime pimento cheese vendor, Nick Rangos. Afterward, the caterer refused to share his private recipe, taking its secret to his grave in 2015. Although Ted Godfrey, Rangos’s replacement, worked tirelessly to approximate the original masterpiece, he also withheld his recipe after the Masters replaced him with in-house catering in 2013. Rangos’s surviving family did not respond to requests for comment, nor did Godfrey or the Masters’ press team. What we do have, however, is a lifelong Masters patron and Augusta food blogger who wasn’t above reverse-engineering the ingredients list from the back of the wrapper in 2016. It’s an imitation of an imitation of an approximation—but until a Rangos relative starts sharing, it’s the closest thing out there.

The official Masters sandwich in 2020, wrapped in its own green jacket. Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Since her family moved to Augusta, in the 1970s, Gina Dickson estimates she’s been to no fewer than 25 Masters tournaments. “As a child, it was an honor to go in,” she says. “You felt important being there, even though you weren’t.” Nowadays, she runs her own food blog, Intentional Hospitality, but even as a kid, the food scene at the Masters called to her. “I didn’t know much about golf then, but I did know it was a really good place to eat.”

With concession stands spread throughout the course, Dickson says, the Masters offers an array of picnic-ready sandwiches, wrapped in their own plastic green jackets, at absurdly low prices given the venue. There’s the egg salad sandwich ($1.50), the ham and cheese ($2.50), the turkey and cheese ($2.50), and of course, the pimento cheese ($1.50), to name a few. “You had to get all the sandwiches you couldn’t just get one,” says Dickson. Strikingly, the prices have not changed a dime since the days of Dickson’s youth. As Michaux puts it, “You can’t spend $40 on food at the Masters.” He knows because a journalist friend of his tried to do so for an article. “I’m telling you, he was about to vomit by the end of the day.”

A quick lesson for those not from the American South: Pimento cheese is the marriage of sweet, tangy pimento peppers with cheese, mayonnaise, and spices, that’s used as a dip or spread. While it’s long been a staple of down-home Southern fare (with some curiously Northern roots, it must be noted), “the pâté of the South” didn’t attain iconic status in the sports world until Nick Rangos’s recipe came along.

The pimento cheese he sold from his store, Woodruff Drug in Aiken, South Carolina, won so many fans across the region that in the 1960s, Masters organizers dropped the husband-and-wife catering team they’d hired since the 1940s to make way for Rangos. For 45 years, Rangos and his two children, Billy and Stella, whipped up massive quantities of his pimento cheese by hand to drop off across the state border in Augusta every April, winning devotees among patrons and players alike. “The Masters pimento cheese must be the most famous sandwich in all of sport,” wrote journalist Andy Bull. Despite his outspoken distaste for the sandwich, it’s the first thing even Michaux eats every year. “Someone’s always gonna ask you if you’ve tried it yet,” he says, “and I don’t like saying ‘no,’ so I have one and get it over with.”

Given the Masters’ operational opacity, we’ll never know why exactly they discontinued Rangos’s contract. What we do know is that Rangos did not take it well. As his son, Billy, told The Guardian, “there were sour grapes on his part.” The contract was unceremoniously handed over to Ted Godfrey, who ran a franchise of a regional fried-chicken chain called—unironically—WifeSaver. If the Masters saw Godfrey fit to make their pimento cheese, Rangos saw fit for Godfrey to come up with his own recipe. Despite, and perhaps in spite of, frequent requests, Rangos would not give up his secrets.

According to Godfrey, his quest to recreate Rangos’s original took months. “I can’t tell you how many 35-dollar cases of cheese we’d been through,” he told ESPN. After countless attempts failed to satisfy the concessions committee, a tournament worker stepped forward with a frozen batch of Rangos’s original pimento spread. After meticulous reverse-engineering, Godfrey presented a recipe to the committee, only to be sent back to the kitchen again. Godfrey even consulted Rangos’s former supplier to get the exact ingredients. Still, the version was subpar. One night, the missing ingredient came to Godfrey, it’s said, in his sleep. He’d finally cracked the code, and by the next year’s tournament, Godfrey had filled Rangos’s shoes, and patrons were none the wiser. As Dickson puts it, “the [Masters] is excellent at publicity—what they want out and what they don’t want out.”

Then in 2013, the Masters changed course a third time, taking all concessions in-house—again, for reasons we cannot confirm. And again, the embittered pimento czar withheld the recipe from the Masters. While Rangos claimed in 2013 “there’s no secret to it,” Godfrey insisted to ESPN, “I cannot tell you what the secret is, but there’s a secret there.”

When Rangos lost the contract, the change of hands hardly registered with patrons, especially diehards. “People respect the Augusta National so much that if they wanted to change vendors,” says Dickson, “we’re gonna support them because we know they always do what’s best for us.” But when Godfrey lost the contract, patrons noticed—and so did the press.

“Wright [Thompson] came up to me in the old press building and said ‘what’s the deal with the pimento cheese? It’s not the same,’” says Michaux (who personally enjoyed the new recipe). He directed Thompson, an ESPN writer, toward Godfrey for an interview, which became the 2013 exposé later known as “PimentoGate” that finally pulled back the curtain on a Masters’ operational history that tournament organizers likely would’ve preferred stay shut. The episode, he wrote, “left the Masters concessions staff trying—and failing, in a rare moment of fallibility—to recreate the same recipe that generations of golf fans have enjoyed.” Since this occurred during the golden age of food blogs, fans displeased with the Masters in-house imitation of Godfrey’s imitation of Rangos’s pimento recipe took it upon themselves to recreate the masterpiece on their own. It was turning into a sad game of cheese telephone, and Dickson wasn’t having it.

“There were a lot of online recipes for the Masters pimento cheese, and they had things in them that I knew weren’t there,” she says. “And I just wanted to bring out the true recipe as best I could.” She even flagged a recipe published by the Junior League of Augusta, cited by several sources as one of the most authentic, as suspect. It calls for blue cheese, but Dickson swears she’d remember that. “I hated blue cheese as a kid.” Recently—likely around the time they brought concessions in-house—the Masters began printing ingredients on the green wrappers of each sandwich. So, in 2016, Dickson took one home and got to work.

A deft cook who’d eaten countless pimento cheese sandwiches dating back to the Rangos era, Dickson says it took her only several hours to reverse-engineer the ingredients list and pin down the consistency. “A lot of other bloggers out there did it with big chunks of pre-shredded cheese, but you had to have a smaller consistency,” she says.

Her recipe reads as follows:


The Sandwich Scandal at the Heart of the World’s Greatest Golfing Event

As a veteran sports journalist, Scott Michaux has attended Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA tournaments, and just about every golf tournament under the sun. “The Masters is the best presented event in the history of sports,” he says. “You can’t argue that.”

The Masters is one of the four major professional golf championships, where the world’s top golfers converge on Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, to compete for the coveted Green Jacket (and, this year, a cool $11.5 million). What sets the Masters apart, however, is a behind-the-scenes devotion to aesthetic perfection that evokes from its regular patrons a near-religious fervor.

It’s a place where—to believe the rumors—the grounds crew manipulates the course’s iconic azaleas to bloom the very week in April when the tournament begins where the ponds are dyed to a specific shade of blue where a massive oak tree once fell, damaging a bathroom facility the night before the tournament, yet by morning, the building had been fully repaired and the oak tree disappeared, stump and all. “They’re like the Keebler elves. Something magic is happening over there,” says Michaux. “There’s nothing they overlook.”

For an added air of refinement, the tournament organizers are also characteristically tight-lipped about all matters, big and small. “Even when they change the course, there’s no press release on anything,” says Michaux. When a new building is constructed, he says, it simply appears the day of the tournament’s opening, already inexplicably covered in vines.

A crowd gathers at the 1950 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Augusta National/Getty Images

An event so wedded to perfection, so shrouded in its own tradition, is surely one of the last places you’d expect to find successive episodes of food-based spite politics. Yet here we are.

The greatest event in sports history is missing a vital recipe: that of its original pimento cheese sandwich. To be clear, it’s little more than peppered cheese on white bread, yet for its simplicity, it’s somehow an indelible figure in the Masters’ concession scene. “Pimento cheese has latched on in people’s memories,” says Michaux, “even though—I would swear to you—every other sandwich they have out there is better.”

The problem began more than 20 years ago, when the Masters chose not to renew the contract for the tournament’s longtime pimento cheese vendor, Nick Rangos. Afterward, the caterer refused to share his private recipe, taking its secret to his grave in 2015. Although Ted Godfrey, Rangos’s replacement, worked tirelessly to approximate the original masterpiece, he also withheld his recipe after the Masters replaced him with in-house catering in 2013. Rangos’s surviving family did not respond to requests for comment, nor did Godfrey or the Masters’ press team. What we do have, however, is a lifelong Masters patron and Augusta food blogger who wasn’t above reverse-engineering the ingredients list from the back of the wrapper in 2016. It’s an imitation of an imitation of an approximation—but until a Rangos relative starts sharing, it’s the closest thing out there.

The official Masters sandwich in 2020, wrapped in its own green jacket. Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Since her family moved to Augusta, in the 1970s, Gina Dickson estimates she’s been to no fewer than 25 Masters tournaments. “As a child, it was an honor to go in,” she says. “You felt important being there, even though you weren’t.” Nowadays, she runs her own food blog, Intentional Hospitality, but even as a kid, the food scene at the Masters called to her. “I didn’t know much about golf then, but I did know it was a really good place to eat.”

With concession stands spread throughout the course, Dickson says, the Masters offers an array of picnic-ready sandwiches, wrapped in their own plastic green jackets, at absurdly low prices given the venue. There’s the egg salad sandwich ($1.50), the ham and cheese ($2.50), the turkey and cheese ($2.50), and of course, the pimento cheese ($1.50), to name a few. “You had to get all the sandwiches you couldn’t just get one,” says Dickson. Strikingly, the prices have not changed a dime since the days of Dickson’s youth. As Michaux puts it, “You can’t spend $40 on food at the Masters.” He knows because a journalist friend of his tried to do so for an article. “I’m telling you, he was about to vomit by the end of the day.”

A quick lesson for those not from the American South: Pimento cheese is the marriage of sweet, tangy pimento peppers with cheese, mayonnaise, and spices, that’s used as a dip or spread. While it’s long been a staple of down-home Southern fare (with some curiously Northern roots, it must be noted), “the pâté of the South” didn’t attain iconic status in the sports world until Nick Rangos’s recipe came along.

The pimento cheese he sold from his store, Woodruff Drug in Aiken, South Carolina, won so many fans across the region that in the 1960s, Masters organizers dropped the husband-and-wife catering team they’d hired since the 1940s to make way for Rangos. For 45 years, Rangos and his two children, Billy and Stella, whipped up massive quantities of his pimento cheese by hand to drop off across the state border in Augusta every April, winning devotees among patrons and players alike. “The Masters pimento cheese must be the most famous sandwich in all of sport,” wrote journalist Andy Bull. Despite his outspoken distaste for the sandwich, it’s the first thing even Michaux eats every year. “Someone’s always gonna ask you if you’ve tried it yet,” he says, “and I don’t like saying ‘no,’ so I have one and get it over with.”

Given the Masters’ operational opacity, we’ll never know why exactly they discontinued Rangos’s contract. What we do know is that Rangos did not take it well. As his son, Billy, told The Guardian, “there were sour grapes on his part.” The contract was unceremoniously handed over to Ted Godfrey, who ran a franchise of a regional fried-chicken chain called—unironically—WifeSaver. If the Masters saw Godfrey fit to make their pimento cheese, Rangos saw fit for Godfrey to come up with his own recipe. Despite, and perhaps in spite of, frequent requests, Rangos would not give up his secrets.

According to Godfrey, his quest to recreate Rangos’s original took months. “I can’t tell you how many 35-dollar cases of cheese we’d been through,” he told ESPN. After countless attempts failed to satisfy the concessions committee, a tournament worker stepped forward with a frozen batch of Rangos’s original pimento spread. After meticulous reverse-engineering, Godfrey presented a recipe to the committee, only to be sent back to the kitchen again. Godfrey even consulted Rangos’s former supplier to get the exact ingredients. Still, the version was subpar. One night, the missing ingredient came to Godfrey, it’s said, in his sleep. He’d finally cracked the code, and by the next year’s tournament, Godfrey had filled Rangos’s shoes, and patrons were none the wiser. As Dickson puts it, “the [Masters] is excellent at publicity—what they want out and what they don’t want out.”

Then in 2013, the Masters changed course a third time, taking all concessions in-house—again, for reasons we cannot confirm. And again, the embittered pimento czar withheld the recipe from the Masters. While Rangos claimed in 2013 “there’s no secret to it,” Godfrey insisted to ESPN, “I cannot tell you what the secret is, but there’s a secret there.”

When Rangos lost the contract, the change of hands hardly registered with patrons, especially diehards. “People respect the Augusta National so much that if they wanted to change vendors,” says Dickson, “we’re gonna support them because we know they always do what’s best for us.” But when Godfrey lost the contract, patrons noticed—and so did the press.

“Wright [Thompson] came up to me in the old press building and said ‘what’s the deal with the pimento cheese? It’s not the same,’” says Michaux (who personally enjoyed the new recipe). He directed Thompson, an ESPN writer, toward Godfrey for an interview, which became the 2013 exposé later known as “PimentoGate” that finally pulled back the curtain on a Masters’ operational history that tournament organizers likely would’ve preferred stay shut. The episode, he wrote, “left the Masters concessions staff trying—and failing, in a rare moment of fallibility—to recreate the same recipe that generations of golf fans have enjoyed.” Since this occurred during the golden age of food blogs, fans displeased with the Masters in-house imitation of Godfrey’s imitation of Rangos’s pimento recipe took it upon themselves to recreate the masterpiece on their own. It was turning into a sad game of cheese telephone, and Dickson wasn’t having it.

“There were a lot of online recipes for the Masters pimento cheese, and they had things in them that I knew weren’t there,” she says. “And I just wanted to bring out the true recipe as best I could.” She even flagged a recipe published by the Junior League of Augusta, cited by several sources as one of the most authentic, as suspect. It calls for blue cheese, but Dickson swears she’d remember that. “I hated blue cheese as a kid.” Recently—likely around the time they brought concessions in-house—the Masters began printing ingredients on the green wrappers of each sandwich. So, in 2016, Dickson took one home and got to work.

A deft cook who’d eaten countless pimento cheese sandwiches dating back to the Rangos era, Dickson says it took her only several hours to reverse-engineer the ingredients list and pin down the consistency. “A lot of other bloggers out there did it with big chunks of pre-shredded cheese, but you had to have a smaller consistency,” she says.

Her recipe reads as follows:


The Sandwich Scandal at the Heart of the World’s Greatest Golfing Event

As a veteran sports journalist, Scott Michaux has attended Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA tournaments, and just about every golf tournament under the sun. “The Masters is the best presented event in the history of sports,” he says. “You can’t argue that.”

The Masters is one of the four major professional golf championships, where the world’s top golfers converge on Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, to compete for the coveted Green Jacket (and, this year, a cool $11.5 million). What sets the Masters apart, however, is a behind-the-scenes devotion to aesthetic perfection that evokes from its regular patrons a near-religious fervor.

It’s a place where—to believe the rumors—the grounds crew manipulates the course’s iconic azaleas to bloom the very week in April when the tournament begins where the ponds are dyed to a specific shade of blue where a massive oak tree once fell, damaging a bathroom facility the night before the tournament, yet by morning, the building had been fully repaired and the oak tree disappeared, stump and all. “They’re like the Keebler elves. Something magic is happening over there,” says Michaux. “There’s nothing they overlook.”

For an added air of refinement, the tournament organizers are also characteristically tight-lipped about all matters, big and small. “Even when they change the course, there’s no press release on anything,” says Michaux. When a new building is constructed, he says, it simply appears the day of the tournament’s opening, already inexplicably covered in vines.

A crowd gathers at the 1950 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Augusta National/Getty Images

An event so wedded to perfection, so shrouded in its own tradition, is surely one of the last places you’d expect to find successive episodes of food-based spite politics. Yet here we are.

The greatest event in sports history is missing a vital recipe: that of its original pimento cheese sandwich. To be clear, it’s little more than peppered cheese on white bread, yet for its simplicity, it’s somehow an indelible figure in the Masters’ concession scene. “Pimento cheese has latched on in people’s memories,” says Michaux, “even though—I would swear to you—every other sandwich they have out there is better.”

The problem began more than 20 years ago, when the Masters chose not to renew the contract for the tournament’s longtime pimento cheese vendor, Nick Rangos. Afterward, the caterer refused to share his private recipe, taking its secret to his grave in 2015. Although Ted Godfrey, Rangos’s replacement, worked tirelessly to approximate the original masterpiece, he also withheld his recipe after the Masters replaced him with in-house catering in 2013. Rangos’s surviving family did not respond to requests for comment, nor did Godfrey or the Masters’ press team. What we do have, however, is a lifelong Masters patron and Augusta food blogger who wasn’t above reverse-engineering the ingredients list from the back of the wrapper in 2016. It’s an imitation of an imitation of an approximation—but until a Rangos relative starts sharing, it’s the closest thing out there.

The official Masters sandwich in 2020, wrapped in its own green jacket. Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Since her family moved to Augusta, in the 1970s, Gina Dickson estimates she’s been to no fewer than 25 Masters tournaments. “As a child, it was an honor to go in,” she says. “You felt important being there, even though you weren’t.” Nowadays, she runs her own food blog, Intentional Hospitality, but even as a kid, the food scene at the Masters called to her. “I didn’t know much about golf then, but I did know it was a really good place to eat.”

With concession stands spread throughout the course, Dickson says, the Masters offers an array of picnic-ready sandwiches, wrapped in their own plastic green jackets, at absurdly low prices given the venue. There’s the egg salad sandwich ($1.50), the ham and cheese ($2.50), the turkey and cheese ($2.50), and of course, the pimento cheese ($1.50), to name a few. “You had to get all the sandwiches you couldn’t just get one,” says Dickson. Strikingly, the prices have not changed a dime since the days of Dickson’s youth. As Michaux puts it, “You can’t spend $40 on food at the Masters.” He knows because a journalist friend of his tried to do so for an article. “I’m telling you, he was about to vomit by the end of the day.”

A quick lesson for those not from the American South: Pimento cheese is the marriage of sweet, tangy pimento peppers with cheese, mayonnaise, and spices, that’s used as a dip or spread. While it’s long been a staple of down-home Southern fare (with some curiously Northern roots, it must be noted), “the pâté of the South” didn’t attain iconic status in the sports world until Nick Rangos’s recipe came along.

The pimento cheese he sold from his store, Woodruff Drug in Aiken, South Carolina, won so many fans across the region that in the 1960s, Masters organizers dropped the husband-and-wife catering team they’d hired since the 1940s to make way for Rangos. For 45 years, Rangos and his two children, Billy and Stella, whipped up massive quantities of his pimento cheese by hand to drop off across the state border in Augusta every April, winning devotees among patrons and players alike. “The Masters pimento cheese must be the most famous sandwich in all of sport,” wrote journalist Andy Bull. Despite his outspoken distaste for the sandwich, it’s the first thing even Michaux eats every year. “Someone’s always gonna ask you if you’ve tried it yet,” he says, “and I don’t like saying ‘no,’ so I have one and get it over with.”

Given the Masters’ operational opacity, we’ll never know why exactly they discontinued Rangos’s contract. What we do know is that Rangos did not take it well. As his son, Billy, told The Guardian, “there were sour grapes on his part.” The contract was unceremoniously handed over to Ted Godfrey, who ran a franchise of a regional fried-chicken chain called—unironically—WifeSaver. If the Masters saw Godfrey fit to make their pimento cheese, Rangos saw fit for Godfrey to come up with his own recipe. Despite, and perhaps in spite of, frequent requests, Rangos would not give up his secrets.

According to Godfrey, his quest to recreate Rangos’s original took months. “I can’t tell you how many 35-dollar cases of cheese we’d been through,” he told ESPN. After countless attempts failed to satisfy the concessions committee, a tournament worker stepped forward with a frozen batch of Rangos’s original pimento spread. After meticulous reverse-engineering, Godfrey presented a recipe to the committee, only to be sent back to the kitchen again. Godfrey even consulted Rangos’s former supplier to get the exact ingredients. Still, the version was subpar. One night, the missing ingredient came to Godfrey, it’s said, in his sleep. He’d finally cracked the code, and by the next year’s tournament, Godfrey had filled Rangos’s shoes, and patrons were none the wiser. As Dickson puts it, “the [Masters] is excellent at publicity—what they want out and what they don’t want out.”

Then in 2013, the Masters changed course a third time, taking all concessions in-house—again, for reasons we cannot confirm. And again, the embittered pimento czar withheld the recipe from the Masters. While Rangos claimed in 2013 “there’s no secret to it,” Godfrey insisted to ESPN, “I cannot tell you what the secret is, but there’s a secret there.”

When Rangos lost the contract, the change of hands hardly registered with patrons, especially diehards. “People respect the Augusta National so much that if they wanted to change vendors,” says Dickson, “we’re gonna support them because we know they always do what’s best for us.” But when Godfrey lost the contract, patrons noticed—and so did the press.

“Wright [Thompson] came up to me in the old press building and said ‘what’s the deal with the pimento cheese? It’s not the same,’” says Michaux (who personally enjoyed the new recipe). He directed Thompson, an ESPN writer, toward Godfrey for an interview, which became the 2013 exposé later known as “PimentoGate” that finally pulled back the curtain on a Masters’ operational history that tournament organizers likely would’ve preferred stay shut. The episode, he wrote, “left the Masters concessions staff trying—and failing, in a rare moment of fallibility—to recreate the same recipe that generations of golf fans have enjoyed.” Since this occurred during the golden age of food blogs, fans displeased with the Masters in-house imitation of Godfrey’s imitation of Rangos’s pimento recipe took it upon themselves to recreate the masterpiece on their own. It was turning into a sad game of cheese telephone, and Dickson wasn’t having it.

“There were a lot of online recipes for the Masters pimento cheese, and they had things in them that I knew weren’t there,” she says. “And I just wanted to bring out the true recipe as best I could.” She even flagged a recipe published by the Junior League of Augusta, cited by several sources as one of the most authentic, as suspect. It calls for blue cheese, but Dickson swears she’d remember that. “I hated blue cheese as a kid.” Recently—likely around the time they brought concessions in-house—the Masters began printing ingredients on the green wrappers of each sandwich. So, in 2016, Dickson took one home and got to work.

A deft cook who’d eaten countless pimento cheese sandwiches dating back to the Rangos era, Dickson says it took her only several hours to reverse-engineer the ingredients list and pin down the consistency. “A lot of other bloggers out there did it with big chunks of pre-shredded cheese, but you had to have a smaller consistency,” she says.

Her recipe reads as follows:


The Sandwich Scandal at the Heart of the World’s Greatest Golfing Event

As a veteran sports journalist, Scott Michaux has attended Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA tournaments, and just about every golf tournament under the sun. “The Masters is the best presented event in the history of sports,” he says. “You can’t argue that.”

The Masters is one of the four major professional golf championships, where the world’s top golfers converge on Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, to compete for the coveted Green Jacket (and, this year, a cool $11.5 million). What sets the Masters apart, however, is a behind-the-scenes devotion to aesthetic perfection that evokes from its regular patrons a near-religious fervor.

It’s a place where—to believe the rumors—the grounds crew manipulates the course’s iconic azaleas to bloom the very week in April when the tournament begins where the ponds are dyed to a specific shade of blue where a massive oak tree once fell, damaging a bathroom facility the night before the tournament, yet by morning, the building had been fully repaired and the oak tree disappeared, stump and all. “They’re like the Keebler elves. Something magic is happening over there,” says Michaux. “There’s nothing they overlook.”

For an added air of refinement, the tournament organizers are also characteristically tight-lipped about all matters, big and small. “Even when they change the course, there’s no press release on anything,” says Michaux. When a new building is constructed, he says, it simply appears the day of the tournament’s opening, already inexplicably covered in vines.

A crowd gathers at the 1950 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Augusta National/Getty Images

An event so wedded to perfection, so shrouded in its own tradition, is surely one of the last places you’d expect to find successive episodes of food-based spite politics. Yet here we are.

The greatest event in sports history is missing a vital recipe: that of its original pimento cheese sandwich. To be clear, it’s little more than peppered cheese on white bread, yet for its simplicity, it’s somehow an indelible figure in the Masters’ concession scene. “Pimento cheese has latched on in people’s memories,” says Michaux, “even though—I would swear to you—every other sandwich they have out there is better.”

The problem began more than 20 years ago, when the Masters chose not to renew the contract for the tournament’s longtime pimento cheese vendor, Nick Rangos. Afterward, the caterer refused to share his private recipe, taking its secret to his grave in 2015. Although Ted Godfrey, Rangos’s replacement, worked tirelessly to approximate the original masterpiece, he also withheld his recipe after the Masters replaced him with in-house catering in 2013. Rangos’s surviving family did not respond to requests for comment, nor did Godfrey or the Masters’ press team. What we do have, however, is a lifelong Masters patron and Augusta food blogger who wasn’t above reverse-engineering the ingredients list from the back of the wrapper in 2016. It’s an imitation of an imitation of an approximation—but until a Rangos relative starts sharing, it’s the closest thing out there.

The official Masters sandwich in 2020, wrapped in its own green jacket. Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Since her family moved to Augusta, in the 1970s, Gina Dickson estimates she’s been to no fewer than 25 Masters tournaments. “As a child, it was an honor to go in,” she says. “You felt important being there, even though you weren’t.” Nowadays, she runs her own food blog, Intentional Hospitality, but even as a kid, the food scene at the Masters called to her. “I didn’t know much about golf then, but I did know it was a really good place to eat.”

With concession stands spread throughout the course, Dickson says, the Masters offers an array of picnic-ready sandwiches, wrapped in their own plastic green jackets, at absurdly low prices given the venue. There’s the egg salad sandwich ($1.50), the ham and cheese ($2.50), the turkey and cheese ($2.50), and of course, the pimento cheese ($1.50), to name a few. “You had to get all the sandwiches you couldn’t just get one,” says Dickson. Strikingly, the prices have not changed a dime since the days of Dickson’s youth. As Michaux puts it, “You can’t spend $40 on food at the Masters.” He knows because a journalist friend of his tried to do so for an article. “I’m telling you, he was about to vomit by the end of the day.”

A quick lesson for those not from the American South: Pimento cheese is the marriage of sweet, tangy pimento peppers with cheese, mayonnaise, and spices, that’s used as a dip or spread. While it’s long been a staple of down-home Southern fare (with some curiously Northern roots, it must be noted), “the pâté of the South” didn’t attain iconic status in the sports world until Nick Rangos’s recipe came along.

The pimento cheese he sold from his store, Woodruff Drug in Aiken, South Carolina, won so many fans across the region that in the 1960s, Masters organizers dropped the husband-and-wife catering team they’d hired since the 1940s to make way for Rangos. For 45 years, Rangos and his two children, Billy and Stella, whipped up massive quantities of his pimento cheese by hand to drop off across the state border in Augusta every April, winning devotees among patrons and players alike. “The Masters pimento cheese must be the most famous sandwich in all of sport,” wrote journalist Andy Bull. Despite his outspoken distaste for the sandwich, it’s the first thing even Michaux eats every year. “Someone’s always gonna ask you if you’ve tried it yet,” he says, “and I don’t like saying ‘no,’ so I have one and get it over with.”

Given the Masters’ operational opacity, we’ll never know why exactly they discontinued Rangos’s contract. What we do know is that Rangos did not take it well. As his son, Billy, told The Guardian, “there were sour grapes on his part.” The contract was unceremoniously handed over to Ted Godfrey, who ran a franchise of a regional fried-chicken chain called—unironically—WifeSaver. If the Masters saw Godfrey fit to make their pimento cheese, Rangos saw fit for Godfrey to come up with his own recipe. Despite, and perhaps in spite of, frequent requests, Rangos would not give up his secrets.

According to Godfrey, his quest to recreate Rangos’s original took months. “I can’t tell you how many 35-dollar cases of cheese we’d been through,” he told ESPN. After countless attempts failed to satisfy the concessions committee, a tournament worker stepped forward with a frozen batch of Rangos’s original pimento spread. After meticulous reverse-engineering, Godfrey presented a recipe to the committee, only to be sent back to the kitchen again. Godfrey even consulted Rangos’s former supplier to get the exact ingredients. Still, the version was subpar. One night, the missing ingredient came to Godfrey, it’s said, in his sleep. He’d finally cracked the code, and by the next year’s tournament, Godfrey had filled Rangos’s shoes, and patrons were none the wiser. As Dickson puts it, “the [Masters] is excellent at publicity—what they want out and what they don’t want out.”

Then in 2013, the Masters changed course a third time, taking all concessions in-house—again, for reasons we cannot confirm. And again, the embittered pimento czar withheld the recipe from the Masters. While Rangos claimed in 2013 “there’s no secret to it,” Godfrey insisted to ESPN, “I cannot tell you what the secret is, but there’s a secret there.”

When Rangos lost the contract, the change of hands hardly registered with patrons, especially diehards. “People respect the Augusta National so much that if they wanted to change vendors,” says Dickson, “we’re gonna support them because we know they always do what’s best for us.” But when Godfrey lost the contract, patrons noticed—and so did the press.

“Wright [Thompson] came up to me in the old press building and said ‘what’s the deal with the pimento cheese? It’s not the same,’” says Michaux (who personally enjoyed the new recipe). He directed Thompson, an ESPN writer, toward Godfrey for an interview, which became the 2013 exposé later known as “PimentoGate” that finally pulled back the curtain on a Masters’ operational history that tournament organizers likely would’ve preferred stay shut. The episode, he wrote, “left the Masters concessions staff trying—and failing, in a rare moment of fallibility—to recreate the same recipe that generations of golf fans have enjoyed.” Since this occurred during the golden age of food blogs, fans displeased with the Masters in-house imitation of Godfrey’s imitation of Rangos’s pimento recipe took it upon themselves to recreate the masterpiece on their own. It was turning into a sad game of cheese telephone, and Dickson wasn’t having it.

“There were a lot of online recipes for the Masters pimento cheese, and they had things in them that I knew weren’t there,” she says. “And I just wanted to bring out the true recipe as best I could.” She even flagged a recipe published by the Junior League of Augusta, cited by several sources as one of the most authentic, as suspect. It calls for blue cheese, but Dickson swears she’d remember that. “I hated blue cheese as a kid.” Recently—likely around the time they brought concessions in-house—the Masters began printing ingredients on the green wrappers of each sandwich. So, in 2016, Dickson took one home and got to work.

A deft cook who’d eaten countless pimento cheese sandwiches dating back to the Rangos era, Dickson says it took her only several hours to reverse-engineer the ingredients list and pin down the consistency. “A lot of other bloggers out there did it with big chunks of pre-shredded cheese, but you had to have a smaller consistency,” she says.

Her recipe reads as follows:


The Sandwich Scandal at the Heart of the World’s Greatest Golfing Event

As a veteran sports journalist, Scott Michaux has attended Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA tournaments, and just about every golf tournament under the sun. “The Masters is the best presented event in the history of sports,” he says. “You can’t argue that.”

The Masters is one of the four major professional golf championships, where the world’s top golfers converge on Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, to compete for the coveted Green Jacket (and, this year, a cool $11.5 million). What sets the Masters apart, however, is a behind-the-scenes devotion to aesthetic perfection that evokes from its regular patrons a near-religious fervor.

It’s a place where—to believe the rumors—the grounds crew manipulates the course’s iconic azaleas to bloom the very week in April when the tournament begins where the ponds are dyed to a specific shade of blue where a massive oak tree once fell, damaging a bathroom facility the night before the tournament, yet by morning, the building had been fully repaired and the oak tree disappeared, stump and all. “They’re like the Keebler elves. Something magic is happening over there,” says Michaux. “There’s nothing they overlook.”

For an added air of refinement, the tournament organizers are also characteristically tight-lipped about all matters, big and small. “Even when they change the course, there’s no press release on anything,” says Michaux. When a new building is constructed, he says, it simply appears the day of the tournament’s opening, already inexplicably covered in vines.

A crowd gathers at the 1950 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Augusta National/Getty Images

An event so wedded to perfection, so shrouded in its own tradition, is surely one of the last places you’d expect to find successive episodes of food-based spite politics. Yet here we are.

The greatest event in sports history is missing a vital recipe: that of its original pimento cheese sandwich. To be clear, it’s little more than peppered cheese on white bread, yet for its simplicity, it’s somehow an indelible figure in the Masters’ concession scene. “Pimento cheese has latched on in people’s memories,” says Michaux, “even though—I would swear to you—every other sandwich they have out there is better.”

The problem began more than 20 years ago, when the Masters chose not to renew the contract for the tournament’s longtime pimento cheese vendor, Nick Rangos. Afterward, the caterer refused to share his private recipe, taking its secret to his grave in 2015. Although Ted Godfrey, Rangos’s replacement, worked tirelessly to approximate the original masterpiece, he also withheld his recipe after the Masters replaced him with in-house catering in 2013. Rangos’s surviving family did not respond to requests for comment, nor did Godfrey or the Masters’ press team. What we do have, however, is a lifelong Masters patron and Augusta food blogger who wasn’t above reverse-engineering the ingredients list from the back of the wrapper in 2016. It’s an imitation of an imitation of an approximation—but until a Rangos relative starts sharing, it’s the closest thing out there.

The official Masters sandwich in 2020, wrapped in its own green jacket. Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Since her family moved to Augusta, in the 1970s, Gina Dickson estimates she’s been to no fewer than 25 Masters tournaments. “As a child, it was an honor to go in,” she says. “You felt important being there, even though you weren’t.” Nowadays, she runs her own food blog, Intentional Hospitality, but even as a kid, the food scene at the Masters called to her. “I didn’t know much about golf then, but I did know it was a really good place to eat.”

With concession stands spread throughout the course, Dickson says, the Masters offers an array of picnic-ready sandwiches, wrapped in their own plastic green jackets, at absurdly low prices given the venue. There’s the egg salad sandwich ($1.50), the ham and cheese ($2.50), the turkey and cheese ($2.50), and of course, the pimento cheese ($1.50), to name a few. “You had to get all the sandwiches you couldn’t just get one,” says Dickson. Strikingly, the prices have not changed a dime since the days of Dickson’s youth. As Michaux puts it, “You can’t spend $40 on food at the Masters.” He knows because a journalist friend of his tried to do so for an article. “I’m telling you, he was about to vomit by the end of the day.”

A quick lesson for those not from the American South: Pimento cheese is the marriage of sweet, tangy pimento peppers with cheese, mayonnaise, and spices, that’s used as a dip or spread. While it’s long been a staple of down-home Southern fare (with some curiously Northern roots, it must be noted), “the pâté of the South” didn’t attain iconic status in the sports world until Nick Rangos’s recipe came along.

The pimento cheese he sold from his store, Woodruff Drug in Aiken, South Carolina, won so many fans across the region that in the 1960s, Masters organizers dropped the husband-and-wife catering team they’d hired since the 1940s to make way for Rangos. For 45 years, Rangos and his two children, Billy and Stella, whipped up massive quantities of his pimento cheese by hand to drop off across the state border in Augusta every April, winning devotees among patrons and players alike. “The Masters pimento cheese must be the most famous sandwich in all of sport,” wrote journalist Andy Bull. Despite his outspoken distaste for the sandwich, it’s the first thing even Michaux eats every year. “Someone’s always gonna ask you if you’ve tried it yet,” he says, “and I don’t like saying ‘no,’ so I have one and get it over with.”

Given the Masters’ operational opacity, we’ll never know why exactly they discontinued Rangos’s contract. What we do know is that Rangos did not take it well. As his son, Billy, told The Guardian, “there were sour grapes on his part.” The contract was unceremoniously handed over to Ted Godfrey, who ran a franchise of a regional fried-chicken chain called—unironically—WifeSaver. If the Masters saw Godfrey fit to make their pimento cheese, Rangos saw fit for Godfrey to come up with his own recipe. Despite, and perhaps in spite of, frequent requests, Rangos would not give up his secrets.

According to Godfrey, his quest to recreate Rangos’s original took months. “I can’t tell you how many 35-dollar cases of cheese we’d been through,” he told ESPN. After countless attempts failed to satisfy the concessions committee, a tournament worker stepped forward with a frozen batch of Rangos’s original pimento spread. After meticulous reverse-engineering, Godfrey presented a recipe to the committee, only to be sent back to the kitchen again. Godfrey even consulted Rangos’s former supplier to get the exact ingredients. Still, the version was subpar. One night, the missing ingredient came to Godfrey, it’s said, in his sleep. He’d finally cracked the code, and by the next year’s tournament, Godfrey had filled Rangos’s shoes, and patrons were none the wiser. As Dickson puts it, “the [Masters] is excellent at publicity—what they want out and what they don’t want out.”

Then in 2013, the Masters changed course a third time, taking all concessions in-house—again, for reasons we cannot confirm. And again, the embittered pimento czar withheld the recipe from the Masters. While Rangos claimed in 2013 “there’s no secret to it,” Godfrey insisted to ESPN, “I cannot tell you what the secret is, but there’s a secret there.”

When Rangos lost the contract, the change of hands hardly registered with patrons, especially diehards. “People respect the Augusta National so much that if they wanted to change vendors,” says Dickson, “we’re gonna support them because we know they always do what’s best for us.” But when Godfrey lost the contract, patrons noticed—and so did the press.

“Wright [Thompson] came up to me in the old press building and said ‘what’s the deal with the pimento cheese? It’s not the same,’” says Michaux (who personally enjoyed the new recipe). He directed Thompson, an ESPN writer, toward Godfrey for an interview, which became the 2013 exposé later known as “PimentoGate” that finally pulled back the curtain on a Masters’ operational history that tournament organizers likely would’ve preferred stay shut. The episode, he wrote, “left the Masters concessions staff trying—and failing, in a rare moment of fallibility—to recreate the same recipe that generations of golf fans have enjoyed.” Since this occurred during the golden age of food blogs, fans displeased with the Masters in-house imitation of Godfrey’s imitation of Rangos’s pimento recipe took it upon themselves to recreate the masterpiece on their own. It was turning into a sad game of cheese telephone, and Dickson wasn’t having it.

“There were a lot of online recipes for the Masters pimento cheese, and they had things in them that I knew weren’t there,” she says. “And I just wanted to bring out the true recipe as best I could.” She even flagged a recipe published by the Junior League of Augusta, cited by several sources as one of the most authentic, as suspect. It calls for blue cheese, but Dickson swears she’d remember that. “I hated blue cheese as a kid.” Recently—likely around the time they brought concessions in-house—the Masters began printing ingredients on the green wrappers of each sandwich. So, in 2016, Dickson took one home and got to work.

A deft cook who’d eaten countless pimento cheese sandwiches dating back to the Rangos era, Dickson says it took her only several hours to reverse-engineer the ingredients list and pin down the consistency. “A lot of other bloggers out there did it with big chunks of pre-shredded cheese, but you had to have a smaller consistency,” she says.

Her recipe reads as follows:


The Sandwich Scandal at the Heart of the World’s Greatest Golfing Event

As a veteran sports journalist, Scott Michaux has attended Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA tournaments, and just about every golf tournament under the sun. “The Masters is the best presented event in the history of sports,” he says. “You can’t argue that.”

The Masters is one of the four major professional golf championships, where the world’s top golfers converge on Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, to compete for the coveted Green Jacket (and, this year, a cool $11.5 million). What sets the Masters apart, however, is a behind-the-scenes devotion to aesthetic perfection that evokes from its regular patrons a near-religious fervor.

It’s a place where—to believe the rumors—the grounds crew manipulates the course’s iconic azaleas to bloom the very week in April when the tournament begins where the ponds are dyed to a specific shade of blue where a massive oak tree once fell, damaging a bathroom facility the night before the tournament, yet by morning, the building had been fully repaired and the oak tree disappeared, stump and all. “They’re like the Keebler elves. Something magic is happening over there,” says Michaux. “There’s nothing they overlook.”

For an added air of refinement, the tournament organizers are also characteristically tight-lipped about all matters, big and small. “Even when they change the course, there’s no press release on anything,” says Michaux. When a new building is constructed, he says, it simply appears the day of the tournament’s opening, already inexplicably covered in vines.

A crowd gathers at the 1950 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Augusta National/Getty Images

An event so wedded to perfection, so shrouded in its own tradition, is surely one of the last places you’d expect to find successive episodes of food-based spite politics. Yet here we are.

The greatest event in sports history is missing a vital recipe: that of its original pimento cheese sandwich. To be clear, it’s little more than peppered cheese on white bread, yet for its simplicity, it’s somehow an indelible figure in the Masters’ concession scene. “Pimento cheese has latched on in people’s memories,” says Michaux, “even though—I would swear to you—every other sandwich they have out there is better.”

The problem began more than 20 years ago, when the Masters chose not to renew the contract for the tournament’s longtime pimento cheese vendor, Nick Rangos. Afterward, the caterer refused to share his private recipe, taking its secret to his grave in 2015. Although Ted Godfrey, Rangos’s replacement, worked tirelessly to approximate the original masterpiece, he also withheld his recipe after the Masters replaced him with in-house catering in 2013. Rangos’s surviving family did not respond to requests for comment, nor did Godfrey or the Masters’ press team. What we do have, however, is a lifelong Masters patron and Augusta food blogger who wasn’t above reverse-engineering the ingredients list from the back of the wrapper in 2016. It’s an imitation of an imitation of an approximation—but until a Rangos relative starts sharing, it’s the closest thing out there.

The official Masters sandwich in 2020, wrapped in its own green jacket. Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Since her family moved to Augusta, in the 1970s, Gina Dickson estimates she’s been to no fewer than 25 Masters tournaments. “As a child, it was an honor to go in,” she says. “You felt important being there, even though you weren’t.” Nowadays, she runs her own food blog, Intentional Hospitality, but even as a kid, the food scene at the Masters called to her. “I didn’t know much about golf then, but I did know it was a really good place to eat.”

With concession stands spread throughout the course, Dickson says, the Masters offers an array of picnic-ready sandwiches, wrapped in their own plastic green jackets, at absurdly low prices given the venue. There’s the egg salad sandwich ($1.50), the ham and cheese ($2.50), the turkey and cheese ($2.50), and of course, the pimento cheese ($1.50), to name a few. “You had to get all the sandwiches you couldn’t just get one,” says Dickson. Strikingly, the prices have not changed a dime since the days of Dickson’s youth. As Michaux puts it, “You can’t spend $40 on food at the Masters.” He knows because a journalist friend of his tried to do so for an article. “I’m telling you, he was about to vomit by the end of the day.”

A quick lesson for those not from the American South: Pimento cheese is the marriage of sweet, tangy pimento peppers with cheese, mayonnaise, and spices, that’s used as a dip or spread. While it’s long been a staple of down-home Southern fare (with some curiously Northern roots, it must be noted), “the pâté of the South” didn’t attain iconic status in the sports world until Nick Rangos’s recipe came along.

The pimento cheese he sold from his store, Woodruff Drug in Aiken, South Carolina, won so many fans across the region that in the 1960s, Masters organizers dropped the husband-and-wife catering team they’d hired since the 1940s to make way for Rangos. For 45 years, Rangos and his two children, Billy and Stella, whipped up massive quantities of his pimento cheese by hand to drop off across the state border in Augusta every April, winning devotees among patrons and players alike. “The Masters pimento cheese must be the most famous sandwich in all of sport,” wrote journalist Andy Bull. Despite his outspoken distaste for the sandwich, it’s the first thing even Michaux eats every year. “Someone’s always gonna ask you if you’ve tried it yet,” he says, “and I don’t like saying ‘no,’ so I have one and get it over with.”

Given the Masters’ operational opacity, we’ll never know why exactly they discontinued Rangos’s contract. What we do know is that Rangos did not take it well. As his son, Billy, told The Guardian, “there were sour grapes on his part.” The contract was unceremoniously handed over to Ted Godfrey, who ran a franchise of a regional fried-chicken chain called—unironically—WifeSaver. If the Masters saw Godfrey fit to make their pimento cheese, Rangos saw fit for Godfrey to come up with his own recipe. Despite, and perhaps in spite of, frequent requests, Rangos would not give up his secrets.

According to Godfrey, his quest to recreate Rangos’s original took months. “I can’t tell you how many 35-dollar cases of cheese we’d been through,” he told ESPN. After countless attempts failed to satisfy the concessions committee, a tournament worker stepped forward with a frozen batch of Rangos’s original pimento spread. After meticulous reverse-engineering, Godfrey presented a recipe to the committee, only to be sent back to the kitchen again. Godfrey even consulted Rangos’s former supplier to get the exact ingredients. Still, the version was subpar. One night, the missing ingredient came to Godfrey, it’s said, in his sleep. He’d finally cracked the code, and by the next year’s tournament, Godfrey had filled Rangos’s shoes, and patrons were none the wiser. As Dickson puts it, “the [Masters] is excellent at publicity—what they want out and what they don’t want out.”

Then in 2013, the Masters changed course a third time, taking all concessions in-house—again, for reasons we cannot confirm. And again, the embittered pimento czar withheld the recipe from the Masters. While Rangos claimed in 2013 “there’s no secret to it,” Godfrey insisted to ESPN, “I cannot tell you what the secret is, but there’s a secret there.”

When Rangos lost the contract, the change of hands hardly registered with patrons, especially diehards. “People respect the Augusta National so much that if they wanted to change vendors,” says Dickson, “we’re gonna support them because we know they always do what’s best for us.” But when Godfrey lost the contract, patrons noticed—and so did the press.

“Wright [Thompson] came up to me in the old press building and said ‘what’s the deal with the pimento cheese? It’s not the same,’” says Michaux (who personally enjoyed the new recipe). He directed Thompson, an ESPN writer, toward Godfrey for an interview, which became the 2013 exposé later known as “PimentoGate” that finally pulled back the curtain on a Masters’ operational history that tournament organizers likely would’ve preferred stay shut. The episode, he wrote, “left the Masters concessions staff trying—and failing, in a rare moment of fallibility—to recreate the same recipe that generations of golf fans have enjoyed.” Since this occurred during the golden age of food blogs, fans displeased with the Masters in-house imitation of Godfrey’s imitation of Rangos’s pimento recipe took it upon themselves to recreate the masterpiece on their own. It was turning into a sad game of cheese telephone, and Dickson wasn’t having it.

“There were a lot of online recipes for the Masters pimento cheese, and they had things in them that I knew weren’t there,” she says. “And I just wanted to bring out the true recipe as best I could.” She even flagged a recipe published by the Junior League of Augusta, cited by several sources as one of the most authentic, as suspect. It calls for blue cheese, but Dickson swears she’d remember that. “I hated blue cheese as a kid.” Recently—likely around the time they brought concessions in-house—the Masters began printing ingredients on the green wrappers of each sandwich. So, in 2016, Dickson took one home and got to work.

A deft cook who’d eaten countless pimento cheese sandwiches dating back to the Rangos era, Dickson says it took her only several hours to reverse-engineer the ingredients list and pin down the consistency. “A lot of other bloggers out there did it with big chunks of pre-shredded cheese, but you had to have a smaller consistency,” she says.

Her recipe reads as follows:


The Sandwich Scandal at the Heart of the World’s Greatest Golfing Event

As a veteran sports journalist, Scott Michaux has attended Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA tournaments, and just about every golf tournament under the sun. “The Masters is the best presented event in the history of sports,” he says. “You can’t argue that.”

The Masters is one of the four major professional golf championships, where the world’s top golfers converge on Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, to compete for the coveted Green Jacket (and, this year, a cool $11.5 million). What sets the Masters apart, however, is a behind-the-scenes devotion to aesthetic perfection that evokes from its regular patrons a near-religious fervor.

It’s a place where—to believe the rumors—the grounds crew manipulates the course’s iconic azaleas to bloom the very week in April when the tournament begins where the ponds are dyed to a specific shade of blue where a massive oak tree once fell, damaging a bathroom facility the night before the tournament, yet by morning, the building had been fully repaired and the oak tree disappeared, stump and all. “They’re like the Keebler elves. Something magic is happening over there,” says Michaux. “There’s nothing they overlook.”

For an added air of refinement, the tournament organizers are also characteristically tight-lipped about all matters, big and small. “Even when they change the course, there’s no press release on anything,” says Michaux. When a new building is constructed, he says, it simply appears the day of the tournament’s opening, already inexplicably covered in vines.

A crowd gathers at the 1950 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Augusta National/Getty Images

An event so wedded to perfection, so shrouded in its own tradition, is surely one of the last places you’d expect to find successive episodes of food-based spite politics. Yet here we are.

The greatest event in sports history is missing a vital recipe: that of its original pimento cheese sandwich. To be clear, it’s little more than peppered cheese on white bread, yet for its simplicity, it’s somehow an indelible figure in the Masters’ concession scene. “Pimento cheese has latched on in people’s memories,” says Michaux, “even though—I would swear to you—every other sandwich they have out there is better.”

The problem began more than 20 years ago, when the Masters chose not to renew the contract for the tournament’s longtime pimento cheese vendor, Nick Rangos. Afterward, the caterer refused to share his private recipe, taking its secret to his grave in 2015. Although Ted Godfrey, Rangos’s replacement, worked tirelessly to approximate the original masterpiece, he also withheld his recipe after the Masters replaced him with in-house catering in 2013. Rangos’s surviving family did not respond to requests for comment, nor did Godfrey or the Masters’ press team. What we do have, however, is a lifelong Masters patron and Augusta food blogger who wasn’t above reverse-engineering the ingredients list from the back of the wrapper in 2016. It’s an imitation of an imitation of an approximation—but until a Rangos relative starts sharing, it’s the closest thing out there.

The official Masters sandwich in 2020, wrapped in its own green jacket. Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Since her family moved to Augusta, in the 1970s, Gina Dickson estimates she’s been to no fewer than 25 Masters tournaments. “As a child, it was an honor to go in,” she says. “You felt important being there, even though you weren’t.” Nowadays, she runs her own food blog, Intentional Hospitality, but even as a kid, the food scene at the Masters called to her. “I didn’t know much about golf then, but I did know it was a really good place to eat.”

With concession stands spread throughout the course, Dickson says, the Masters offers an array of picnic-ready sandwiches, wrapped in their own plastic green jackets, at absurdly low prices given the venue. There’s the egg salad sandwich ($1.50), the ham and cheese ($2.50), the turkey and cheese ($2.50), and of course, the pimento cheese ($1.50), to name a few. “You had to get all the sandwiches you couldn’t just get one,” says Dickson. Strikingly, the prices have not changed a dime since the days of Dickson’s youth. As Michaux puts it, “You can’t spend $40 on food at the Masters.” He knows because a journalist friend of his tried to do so for an article. “I’m telling you, he was about to vomit by the end of the day.”

A quick lesson for those not from the American South: Pimento cheese is the marriage of sweet, tangy pimento peppers with cheese, mayonnaise, and spices, that’s used as a dip or spread. While it’s long been a staple of down-home Southern fare (with some curiously Northern roots, it must be noted), “the pâté of the South” didn’t attain iconic status in the sports world until Nick Rangos’s recipe came along.

The pimento cheese he sold from his store, Woodruff Drug in Aiken, South Carolina, won so many fans across the region that in the 1960s, Masters organizers dropped the husband-and-wife catering team they’d hired since the 1940s to make way for Rangos. For 45 years, Rangos and his two children, Billy and Stella, whipped up massive quantities of his pimento cheese by hand to drop off across the state border in Augusta every April, winning devotees among patrons and players alike. “The Masters pimento cheese must be the most famous sandwich in all of sport,” wrote journalist Andy Bull. Despite his outspoken distaste for the sandwich, it’s the first thing even Michaux eats every year. “Someone’s always gonna ask you if you’ve tried it yet,” he says, “and I don’t like saying ‘no,’ so I have one and get it over with.”

Given the Masters’ operational opacity, we’ll never know why exactly they discontinued Rangos’s contract. What we do know is that Rangos did not take it well. As his son, Billy, told The Guardian, “there were sour grapes on his part.” The contract was unceremoniously handed over to Ted Godfrey, who ran a franchise of a regional fried-chicken chain called—unironically—WifeSaver. If the Masters saw Godfrey fit to make their pimento cheese, Rangos saw fit for Godfrey to come up with his own recipe. Despite, and perhaps in spite of, frequent requests, Rangos would not give up his secrets.

According to Godfrey, his quest to recreate Rangos’s original took months. “I can’t tell you how many 35-dollar cases of cheese we’d been through,” he told ESPN. After countless attempts failed to satisfy the concessions committee, a tournament worker stepped forward with a frozen batch of Rangos’s original pimento spread. After meticulous reverse-engineering, Godfrey presented a recipe to the committee, only to be sent back to the kitchen again. Godfrey even consulted Rangos’s former supplier to get the exact ingredients. Still, the version was subpar. One night, the missing ingredient came to Godfrey, it’s said, in his sleep. He’d finally cracked the code, and by the next year’s tournament, Godfrey had filled Rangos’s shoes, and patrons were none the wiser. As Dickson puts it, “the [Masters] is excellent at publicity—what they want out and what they don’t want out.”

Then in 2013, the Masters changed course a third time, taking all concessions in-house—again, for reasons we cannot confirm. And again, the embittered pimento czar withheld the recipe from the Masters. While Rangos claimed in 2013 “there’s no secret to it,” Godfrey insisted to ESPN, “I cannot tell you what the secret is, but there’s a secret there.”

When Rangos lost the contract, the change of hands hardly registered with patrons, especially diehards. “People respect the Augusta National so much that if they wanted to change vendors,” says Dickson, “we’re gonna support them because we know they always do what’s best for us.” But when Godfrey lost the contract, patrons noticed—and so did the press.

“Wright [Thompson] came up to me in the old press building and said ‘what’s the deal with the pimento cheese? It’s not the same,’” says Michaux (who personally enjoyed the new recipe). He directed Thompson, an ESPN writer, toward Godfrey for an interview, which became the 2013 exposé later known as “PimentoGate” that finally pulled back the curtain on a Masters’ operational history that tournament organizers likely would’ve preferred stay shut. The episode, he wrote, “left the Masters concessions staff trying—and failing, in a rare moment of fallibility—to recreate the same recipe that generations of golf fans have enjoyed.” Since this occurred during the golden age of food blogs, fans displeased with the Masters in-house imitation of Godfrey’s imitation of Rangos’s pimento recipe took it upon themselves to recreate the masterpiece on their own. It was turning into a sad game of cheese telephone, and Dickson wasn’t having it.

“There were a lot of online recipes for the Masters pimento cheese, and they had things in them that I knew weren’t there,” she says. “And I just wanted to bring out the true recipe as best I could.” She even flagged a recipe published by the Junior League of Augusta, cited by several sources as one of the most authentic, as suspect. It calls for blue cheese, but Dickson swears she’d remember that. “I hated blue cheese as a kid.” Recently—likely around the time they brought concessions in-house—the Masters began printing ingredients on the green wrappers of each sandwich. So, in 2016, Dickson took one home and got to work.

A deft cook who’d eaten countless pimento cheese sandwiches dating back to the Rangos era, Dickson says it took her only several hours to reverse-engineer the ingredients list and pin down the consistency. “A lot of other bloggers out there did it with big chunks of pre-shredded cheese, but you had to have a smaller consistency,” she says.

Her recipe reads as follows:


The Sandwich Scandal at the Heart of the World’s Greatest Golfing Event

As a veteran sports journalist, Scott Michaux has attended Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA tournaments, and just about every golf tournament under the sun. “The Masters is the best presented event in the history of sports,” he says. “You can’t argue that.”

The Masters is one of the four major professional golf championships, where the world’s top golfers converge on Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, to compete for the coveted Green Jacket (and, this year, a cool $11.5 million). What sets the Masters apart, however, is a behind-the-scenes devotion to aesthetic perfection that evokes from its regular patrons a near-religious fervor.

It’s a place where—to believe the rumors—the grounds crew manipulates the course’s iconic azaleas to bloom the very week in April when the tournament begins where the ponds are dyed to a specific shade of blue where a massive oak tree once fell, damaging a bathroom facility the night before the tournament, yet by morning, the building had been fully repaired and the oak tree disappeared, stump and all. “They’re like the Keebler elves. Something magic is happening over there,” says Michaux. “There’s nothing they overlook.”

For an added air of refinement, the tournament organizers are also characteristically tight-lipped about all matters, big and small. “Even when they change the course, there’s no press release on anything,” says Michaux. When a new building is constructed, he says, it simply appears the day of the tournament’s opening, already inexplicably covered in vines.

A crowd gathers at the 1950 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Augusta National/Getty Images

An event so wedded to perfection, so shrouded in its own tradition, is surely one of the last places you’d expect to find successive episodes of food-based spite politics. Yet here we are.

The greatest event in sports history is missing a vital recipe: that of its original pimento cheese sandwich. To be clear, it’s little more than peppered cheese on white bread, yet for its simplicity, it’s somehow an indelible figure in the Masters’ concession scene. “Pimento cheese has latched on in people’s memories,” says Michaux, “even though—I would swear to you—every other sandwich they have out there is better.”

The problem began more than 20 years ago, when the Masters chose not to renew the contract for the tournament’s longtime pimento cheese vendor, Nick Rangos. Afterward, the caterer refused to share his private recipe, taking its secret to his grave in 2015. Although Ted Godfrey, Rangos’s replacement, worked tirelessly to approximate the original masterpiece, he also withheld his recipe after the Masters replaced him with in-house catering in 2013. Rangos’s surviving family did not respond to requests for comment, nor did Godfrey or the Masters’ press team. What we do have, however, is a lifelong Masters patron and Augusta food blogger who wasn’t above reverse-engineering the ingredients list from the back of the wrapper in 2016. It’s an imitation of an imitation of an approximation—but until a Rangos relative starts sharing, it’s the closest thing out there.

The official Masters sandwich in 2020, wrapped in its own green jacket. Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Since her family moved to Augusta, in the 1970s, Gina Dickson estimates she’s been to no fewer than 25 Masters tournaments. “As a child, it was an honor to go in,” she says. “You felt important being there, even though you weren’t.” Nowadays, she runs her own food blog, Intentional Hospitality, but even as a kid, the food scene at the Masters called to her. “I didn’t know much about golf then, but I did know it was a really good place to eat.”

With concession stands spread throughout the course, Dickson says, the Masters offers an array of picnic-ready sandwiches, wrapped in their own plastic green jackets, at absurdly low prices given the venue. There’s the egg salad sandwich ($1.50), the ham and cheese ($2.50), the turkey and cheese ($2.50), and of course, the pimento cheese ($1.50), to name a few. “You had to get all the sandwiches you couldn’t just get one,” says Dickson. Strikingly, the prices have not changed a dime since the days of Dickson’s youth. As Michaux puts it, “You can’t spend $40 on food at the Masters.” He knows because a journalist friend of his tried to do so for an article. “I’m telling you, he was about to vomit by the end of the day.”

A quick lesson for those not from the American South: Pimento cheese is the marriage of sweet, tangy pimento peppers with cheese, mayonnaise, and spices, that’s used as a dip or spread. While it’s long been a staple of down-home Southern fare (with some curiously Northern roots, it must be noted), “the pâté of the South” didn’t attain iconic status in the sports world until Nick Rangos’s recipe came along.

The pimento cheese he sold from his store, Woodruff Drug in Aiken, South Carolina, won so many fans across the region that in the 1960s, Masters organizers dropped the husband-and-wife catering team they’d hired since the 1940s to make way for Rangos. For 45 years, Rangos and his two children, Billy and Stella, whipped up massive quantities of his pimento cheese by hand to drop off across the state border in Augusta every April, winning devotees among patrons and players alike. “The Masters pimento cheese must be the most famous sandwich in all of sport,” wrote journalist Andy Bull. Despite his outspoken distaste for the sandwich, it’s the first thing even Michaux eats every year. “Someone’s always gonna ask you if you’ve tried it yet,” he says, “and I don’t like saying ‘no,’ so I have one and get it over with.”

Given the Masters’ operational opacity, we’ll never know why exactly they discontinued Rangos’s contract. What we do know is that Rangos did not take it well. As his son, Billy, told The Guardian, “there were sour grapes on his part.” The contract was unceremoniously handed over to Ted Godfrey, who ran a franchise of a regional fried-chicken chain called—unironically—WifeSaver. If the Masters saw Godfrey fit to make their pimento cheese, Rangos saw fit for Godfrey to come up with his own recipe. Despite, and perhaps in spite of, frequent requests, Rangos would not give up his secrets.

According to Godfrey, his quest to recreate Rangos’s original took months. “I can’t tell you how many 35-dollar cases of cheese we’d been through,” he told ESPN. After countless attempts failed to satisfy the concessions committee, a tournament worker stepped forward with a frozen batch of Rangos’s original pimento spread. After meticulous reverse-engineering, Godfrey presented a recipe to the committee, only to be sent back to the kitchen again. Godfrey even consulted Rangos’s former supplier to get the exact ingredients. Still, the version was subpar. One night, the missing ingredient came to Godfrey, it’s said, in his sleep. He’d finally cracked the code, and by the next year’s tournament, Godfrey had filled Rangos’s shoes, and patrons were none the wiser. As Dickson puts it, “the [Masters] is excellent at publicity—what they want out and what they don’t want out.”

Then in 2013, the Masters changed course a third time, taking all concessions in-house—again, for reasons we cannot confirm. And again, the embittered pimento czar withheld the recipe from the Masters. While Rangos claimed in 2013 “there’s no secret to it,” Godfrey insisted to ESPN, “I cannot tell you what the secret is, but there’s a secret there.”

When Rangos lost the contract, the change of hands hardly registered with patrons, especially diehards. “People respect the Augusta National so much that if they wanted to change vendors,” says Dickson, “we’re gonna support them because we know they always do what’s best for us.” But when Godfrey lost the contract, patrons noticed—and so did the press.

“Wright [Thompson] came up to me in the old press building and said ‘what’s the deal with the pimento cheese? It’s not the same,’” says Michaux (who personally enjoyed the new recipe). He directed Thompson, an ESPN writer, toward Godfrey for an interview, which became the 2013 exposé later known as “PimentoGate” that finally pulled back the curtain on a Masters’ operational history that tournament organizers likely would’ve preferred stay shut. The episode, he wrote, “left the Masters concessions staff trying—and failing, in a rare moment of fallibility—to recreate the same recipe that generations of golf fans have enjoyed.” Since this occurred during the golden age of food blogs, fans displeased with the Masters in-house imitation of Godfrey’s imitation of Rangos’s pimento recipe took it upon themselves to recreate the masterpiece on their own. It was turning into a sad game of cheese telephone, and Dickson wasn’t having it.

“There were a lot of online recipes for the Masters pimento cheese, and they had things in them that I knew weren’t there,” she says. “And I just wanted to bring out the true recipe as best I could.” She even flagged a recipe published by the Junior League of Augusta, cited by several sources as one of the most authentic, as suspect. It calls for blue cheese, but Dickson swears she’d remember that. “I hated blue cheese as a kid.” Recently—likely around the time they brought concessions in-house—the Masters began printing ingredients on the green wrappers of each sandwich. So, in 2016, Dickson took one home and got to work.

A deft cook who’d eaten countless pimento cheese sandwiches dating back to the Rangos era, Dickson says it took her only several hours to reverse-engineer the ingredients list and pin down the consistency. “A lot of other bloggers out there did it with big chunks of pre-shredded cheese, but you had to have a smaller consistency,” she says.

Her recipe reads as follows:


The Sandwich Scandal at the Heart of the World’s Greatest Golfing Event

As a veteran sports journalist, Scott Michaux has attended Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA tournaments, and just about every golf tournament under the sun. “The Masters is the best presented event in the history of sports,” he says. “You can’t argue that.”

The Masters is one of the four major professional golf championships, where the world’s top golfers converge on Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, to compete for the coveted Green Jacket (and, this year, a cool $11.5 million). What sets the Masters apart, however, is a behind-the-scenes devotion to aesthetic perfection that evokes from its regular patrons a near-religious fervor.

It’s a place where—to believe the rumors—the grounds crew manipulates the course’s iconic azaleas to bloom the very week in April when the tournament begins where the ponds are dyed to a specific shade of blue where a massive oak tree once fell, damaging a bathroom facility the night before the tournament, yet by morning, the building had been fully repaired and the oak tree disappeared, stump and all. “They’re like the Keebler elves. Something magic is happening over there,” says Michaux. “There’s nothing they overlook.”

For an added air of refinement, the tournament organizers are also characteristically tight-lipped about all matters, big and small. “Even when they change the course, there’s no press release on anything,” says Michaux. When a new building is constructed, he says, it simply appears the day of the tournament’s opening, already inexplicably covered in vines.

A crowd gathers at the 1950 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Augusta National/Getty Images

An event so wedded to perfection, so shrouded in its own tradition, is surely one of the last places you’d expect to find successive episodes of food-based spite politics. Yet here we are.

The greatest event in sports history is missing a vital recipe: that of its original pimento cheese sandwich. To be clear, it’s little more than peppered cheese on white bread, yet for its simplicity, it’s somehow an indelible figure in the Masters’ concession scene. “Pimento cheese has latched on in people’s memories,” says Michaux, “even though—I would swear to you—every other sandwich they have out there is better.”

The problem began more than 20 years ago, when the Masters chose not to renew the contract for the tournament’s longtime pimento cheese vendor, Nick Rangos. Afterward, the caterer refused to share his private recipe, taking its secret to his grave in 2015. Although Ted Godfrey, Rangos’s replacement, worked tirelessly to approximate the original masterpiece, he also withheld his recipe after the Masters replaced him with in-house catering in 2013. Rangos’s surviving family did not respond to requests for comment, nor did Godfrey or the Masters’ press team. What we do have, however, is a lifelong Masters patron and Augusta food blogger who wasn’t above reverse-engineering the ingredients list from the back of the wrapper in 2016. It’s an imitation of an imitation of an approximation—but until a Rangos relative starts sharing, it’s the closest thing out there.

The official Masters sandwich in 2020, wrapped in its own green jacket. Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Since her family moved to Augusta, in the 1970s, Gina Dickson estimates she’s been to no fewer than 25 Masters tournaments. “As a child, it was an honor to go in,” she says. “You felt important being there, even though you weren’t.” Nowadays, she runs her own food blog, Intentional Hospitality, but even as a kid, the food scene at the Masters called to her. “I didn’t know much about golf then, but I did know it was a really good place to eat.”

With concession stands spread throughout the course, Dickson says, the Masters offers an array of picnic-ready sandwiches, wrapped in their own plastic green jackets, at absurdly low prices given the venue. There’s the egg salad sandwich ($1.50), the ham and cheese ($2.50), the turkey and cheese ($2.50), and of course, the pimento cheese ($1.50), to name a few. “You had to get all the sandwiches you couldn’t just get one,” says Dickson. Strikingly, the prices have not changed a dime since the days of Dickson’s youth. As Michaux puts it, “You can’t spend $40 on food at the Masters.” He knows because a journalist friend of his tried to do so for an article. “I’m telling you, he was about to vomit by the end of the day.”

A quick lesson for those not from the American South: Pimento cheese is the marriage of sweet, tangy pimento peppers with cheese, mayonnaise, and spices, that’s used as a dip or spread. While it’s long been a staple of down-home Southern fare (with some curiously Northern roots, it must be noted), “the pâté of the South” didn’t attain iconic status in the sports world until Nick Rangos’s recipe came along.

The pimento cheese he sold from his store, Woodruff Drug in Aiken, South Carolina, won so many fans across the region that in the 1960s, Masters organizers dropped the husband-and-wife catering team they’d hired since the 1940s to make way for Rangos. For 45 years, Rangos and his two children, Billy and Stella, whipped up massive quantities of his pimento cheese by hand to drop off across the state border in Augusta every April, winning devotees among patrons and players alike. “The Masters pimento cheese must be the most famous sandwich in all of sport,” wrote journalist Andy Bull. Despite his outspoken distaste for the sandwich, it’s the first thing even Michaux eats every year. “Someone’s always gonna ask you if you’ve tried it yet,” he says, “and I don’t like saying ‘no,’ so I have one and get it over with.”

Given the Masters’ operational opacity, we’ll never know why exactly they discontinued Rangos’s contract. What we do know is that Rangos did not take it well. As his son, Billy, told The Guardian, “there were sour grapes on his part.” The contract was unceremoniously handed over to Ted Godfrey, who ran a franchise of a regional fried-chicken chain called—unironically—WifeSaver. If the Masters saw Godfrey fit to make their pimento cheese, Rangos saw fit for Godfrey to come up with his own recipe. Despite, and perhaps in spite of, frequent requests, Rangos would not give up his secrets.

According to Godfrey, his quest to recreate Rangos’s original took months. “I can’t tell you how many 35-dollar cases of cheese we’d been through,” he told ESPN. After countless attempts failed to satisfy the concessions committee, a tournament worker stepped forward with a frozen batch of Rangos’s original pimento spread. After meticulous reverse-engineering, Godfrey presented a recipe to the committee, only to be sent back to the kitchen again. Godfrey even consulted Rangos’s former supplier to get the exact ingredients. Still, the version was subpar. One night, the missing ingredient came to Godfrey, it’s said, in his sleep. He’d finally cracked the code, and by the next year’s tournament, Godfrey had filled Rangos’s shoes, and patrons were none the wiser. As Dickson puts it, “the [Masters] is excellent at publicity—what they want out and what they don’t want out.”

Then in 2013, the Masters changed course a third time, taking all concessions in-house—again, for reasons we cannot confirm. And again, the embittered pimento czar withheld the recipe from the Masters. While Rangos claimed in 2013 “there’s no secret to it,” Godfrey insisted to ESPN, “I cannot tell you what the secret is, but there’s a secret there.”

When Rangos lost the contract, the change of hands hardly registered with patrons, especially diehards. “People respect the Augusta National so much that if they wanted to change vendors,” says Dickson, “we’re gonna support them because we know they always do what’s best for us.” But when Godfrey lost the contract, patrons noticed—and so did the press.

“Wright [Thompson] came up to me in the old press building and said ‘what’s the deal with the pimento cheese? It’s not the same,’” says Michaux (who personally enjoyed the new recipe). He directed Thompson, an ESPN writer, toward Godfrey for an interview, which became the 2013 exposé later known as “PimentoGate” that finally pulled back the curtain on a Masters’ operational history that tournament organizers likely would’ve preferred stay shut. The episode, he wrote, “left the Masters concessions staff trying—and failing, in a rare moment of fallibility—to recreate the same recipe that generations of golf fans have enjoyed.” Since this occurred during the golden age of food blogs, fans displeased with the Masters in-house imitation of Godfrey’s imitation of Rangos’s pimento recipe took it upon themselves to recreate the masterpiece on their own. It was turning into a sad game of cheese telephone, and Dickson wasn’t having it.

“There were a lot of online recipes for the Masters pimento cheese, and they had things in them that I knew weren’t there,” she says. “And I just wanted to bring out the true recipe as best I could.” She even flagged a recipe published by the Junior League of Augusta, cited by several sources as one of the most authentic, as suspect. It calls for blue cheese, but Dickson swears she’d remember that. “I hated blue cheese as a kid.” Recently—likely around the time they brought concessions in-house—the Masters began printing ingredients on the green wrappers of each sandwich. So, in 2016, Dickson took one home and got to work.

A deft cook who’d eaten countless pimento cheese sandwiches dating back to the Rangos era, Dickson says it took her only several hours to reverse-engineer the ingredients list and pin down the consistency. “A lot of other bloggers out there did it with big chunks of pre-shredded cheese, but you had to have a smaller consistency,” she says.

Her recipe reads as follows:


The Sandwich Scandal at the Heart of the World’s Greatest Golfing Event

As a veteran sports journalist, Scott Michaux has attended Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA tournaments, and just about every golf tournament under the sun. “The Masters is the best presented event in the history of sports,” he says. “You can’t argue that.”

The Masters is one of the four major professional golf championships, where the world’s top golfers converge on Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, to compete for the coveted Green Jacket (and, this year, a cool $11.5 million). What sets the Masters apart, however, is a behind-the-scenes devotion to aesthetic perfection that evokes from its regular patrons a near-religious fervor.

It’s a place where—to believe the rumors—the grounds crew manipulates the course’s iconic azaleas to bloom the very week in April when the tournament begins where the ponds are dyed to a specific shade of blue where a massive oak tree once fell, damaging a bathroom facility the night before the tournament, yet by morning, the building had been fully repaired and the oak tree disappeared, stump and all. “They’re like the Keebler elves. Something magic is happening over there,” says Michaux. “There’s nothing they overlook.”

For an added air of refinement, the tournament organizers are also characteristically tight-lipped about all matters, big and small. “Even when they change the course, there’s no press release on anything,” says Michaux. When a new building is constructed, he says, it simply appears the day of the tournament’s opening, already inexplicably covered in vines.

A crowd gathers at the 1950 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Augusta National/Getty Images

An event so wedded to perfection, so shrouded in its own tradition, is surely one of the last places you’d expect to find successive episodes of food-based spite politics. Yet here we are.

The greatest event in sports history is missing a vital recipe: that of its original pimento cheese sandwich. To be clear, it’s little more than peppered cheese on white bread, yet for its simplicity, it’s somehow an indelible figure in the Masters’ concession scene. “Pimento cheese has latched on in people’s memories,” says Michaux, “even though—I would swear to you—every other sandwich they have out there is better.”

The problem began more than 20 years ago, when the Masters chose not to renew the contract for the tournament’s longtime pimento cheese vendor, Nick Rangos. Afterward, the caterer refused to share his private recipe, taking its secret to his grave in 2015. Although Ted Godfrey, Rangos’s replacement, worked tirelessly to approximate the original masterpiece, he also withheld his recipe after the Masters replaced him with in-house catering in 2013. Rangos’s surviving family did not respond to requests for comment, nor did Godfrey or the Masters’ press team. What we do have, however, is a lifelong Masters patron and Augusta food blogger who wasn’t above reverse-engineering the ingredients list from the back of the wrapper in 2016. It’s an imitation of an imitation of an approximation—but until a Rangos relative starts sharing, it’s the closest thing out there.

The official Masters sandwich in 2020, wrapped in its own green jacket. Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Since her family moved to Augusta, in the 1970s, Gina Dickson estimates she’s been to no fewer than 25 Masters tournaments. “As a child, it was an honor to go in,” she says. “You felt important being there, even though you weren’t.” Nowadays, she runs her own food blog, Intentional Hospitality, but even as a kid, the food scene at the Masters called to her. “I didn’t know much about golf then, but I did know it was a really good place to eat.”

With concession stands spread throughout the course, Dickson says, the Masters offers an array of picnic-ready sandwiches, wrapped in their own plastic green jackets, at absurdly low prices given the venue. There’s the egg salad sandwich ($1.50), the ham and cheese ($2.50), the turkey and cheese ($2.50), and of course, the pimento cheese ($1.50), to name a few. “You had to get all the sandwiches you couldn’t just get one,” says Dickson. Strikingly, the prices have not changed a dime since the days of Dickson’s youth. As Michaux puts it, “You can’t spend $40 on food at the Masters.” He knows because a journalist friend of his tried to do so for an article. “I’m telling you, he was about to vomit by the end of the day.”

A quick lesson for those not from the American South: Pimento cheese is the marriage of sweet, tangy pimento peppers with cheese, mayonnaise, and spices, that’s used as a dip or spread. While it’s long been a staple of down-home Southern fare (with some curiously Northern roots, it must be noted), “the pâté of the South” didn’t attain iconic status in the sports world until Nick Rangos’s recipe came along.

The pimento cheese he sold from his store, Woodruff Drug in Aiken, South Carolina, won so many fans across the region that in the 1960s, Masters organizers dropped the husband-and-wife catering team they’d hired since the 1940s to make way for Rangos. For 45 years, Rangos and his two children, Billy and Stella, whipped up massive quantities of his pimento cheese by hand to drop off across the state border in Augusta every April, winning devotees among patrons and players alike. “The Masters pimento cheese must be the most famous sandwich in all of sport,” wrote journalist Andy Bull. Despite his outspoken distaste for the sandwich, it’s the first thing even Michaux eats every year. “Someone’s always gonna ask you if you’ve tried it yet,” he says, “and I don’t like saying ‘no,’ so I have one and get it over with.”

Given the Masters’ operational opacity, we’ll never know why exactly they discontinued Rangos’s contract. What we do know is that Rangos did not take it well. As his son, Billy, told The Guardian, “there were sour grapes on his part.” The contract was unceremoniously handed over to Ted Godfrey, who ran a franchise of a regional fried-chicken chain called—unironically—WifeSaver. If the Masters saw Godfrey fit to make their pimento cheese, Rangos saw fit for Godfrey to come up with his own recipe. Despite, and perhaps in spite of, frequent requests, Rangos would not give up his secrets.

According to Godfrey, his quest to recreate Rangos’s original took months. “I can’t tell you how many 35-dollar cases of cheese we’d been through,” he told ESPN. After countless attempts failed to satisfy the concessions committee, a tournament worker stepped forward with a frozen batch of Rangos’s original pimento spread. After meticulous reverse-engineering, Godfrey presented a recipe to the committee, only to be sent back to the kitchen again. Godfrey even consulted Rangos’s former supplier to get the exact ingredients. Still, the version was subpar. One night, the missing ingredient came to Godfrey, it’s said, in his sleep. He’d finally cracked the code, and by the next year’s tournament, Godfrey had filled Rangos’s shoes, and patrons were none the wiser. As Dickson puts it, “the [Masters] is excellent at publicity—what they want out and what they don’t want out.”

Then in 2013, the Masters changed course a third time, taking all concessions in-house—again, for reasons we cannot confirm. And again, the embittered pimento czar withheld the recipe from the Masters. While Rangos claimed in 2013 “there’s no secret to it,” Godfrey insisted to ESPN, “I cannot tell you what the secret is, but there’s a secret there.”

When Rangos lost the contract, the change of hands hardly registered with patrons, especially diehards. “People respect the Augusta National so much that if they wanted to change vendors,” says Dickson, “we’re gonna support them because we know they always do what’s best for us.” But when Godfrey lost the contract, patrons noticed—and so did the press.

“Wright [Thompson] came up to me in the old press building and said ‘what’s the deal with the pimento cheese? It’s not the same,’” says Michaux (who personally enjoyed the new recipe). He directed Thompson, an ESPN writer, toward Godfrey for an interview, which became the 2013 exposé later known as “PimentoGate” that finally pulled back the curtain on a Masters’ operational history that tournament organizers likely would’ve preferred stay shut. The episode, he wrote, “left the Masters concessions staff trying—and failing, in a rare moment of fallibility—to recreate the same recipe that generations of golf fans have enjoyed.” Since this occurred during the golden age of food blogs, fans displeased with the Masters in-house imitation of Godfrey’s imitation of Rangos’s pimento recipe took it upon themselves to recreate the masterpiece on their own. It was turning into a sad game of cheese telephone, and Dickson wasn’t having it.

“There were a lot of online recipes for the Masters pimento cheese, and they had things in them that I knew weren’t there,” she says. “And I just wanted to bring out the true recipe as best I could.” She even flagged a recipe published by the Junior League of Augusta, cited by several sources as one of the most authentic, as suspect. It calls for blue cheese, but Dickson swears she’d remember that. “I hated blue cheese as a kid.” Recently—likely around the time they brought concessions in-house—the Masters began printing ingredients on the green wrappers of each sandwich. So, in 2016, Dickson took one home and got to work.

A deft cook who’d eaten countless pimento cheese sandwiches dating back to the Rangos era, Dickson says it took her only several hours to reverse-engineer the ingredients list and pin down the consistency. “A lot of other bloggers out there did it with big chunks of pre-shredded cheese, but you had to have a smaller consistency,” she says.

Her recipe reads as follows:


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