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A tradition unlike any other: The food of the Masters

Disclaimer: not taken in Augusta. Their grass is much nicer.

Disclaimer: Not taken in Augusta. Their grass is much nicer.

The list of reasons that I could rattle off as to why I’m lucky to be engaged to my fiancée is long, and might nauseate a few of you. However, none seems to sicken my friends more than the fact that she has Masters badges in her family, and that I usually get the opportunity to attend. This happened to be one of those years, and I headed down to Augusta this past Sunday.

Whenever a trip to The Masters comes my way, I’m usually beside myself for the days leading up to it. Of course, I’m excited about the golf, and Augusta National is a far more beautiful place in person than even the highest of high-def televisions could hope to do justice. But the thing that I spent the most time thinking about or talking about is how many sandwiches I’m going to take down.

The Masters is an event steeped in tradition, from the Par 3 contest to the iconic Green Jacket. But the tradition that I enjoy the most – not surprisingly – is the food. If you have ever talked to someone that has been, there are always two things you hear about: How cheap the food/beer is, and how incredibly good the pimento cheese sandwiches are.

Though there are eight different sandwiches offered, all ranging from $1.50-$2.50, the pimento cheese gets all the love. In fact, if you Google the phrase “Masters sandwiches”, you have to scroll past the first four or five pages of results to read about anything OTHER than the pimento cheese ($1.50). And while I do enjoy one or two during my trips, my heart belongs to another. The mistress that I can’t seem to turn away is the oh-so-delicious egg salad sandwich ($1.50).

Oddly enough, I don’t usually eat egg salad, but I just help myself when I’m in Augusta. I think that the “food as crack” analogy is a bit overplayed, but I have to call a spade a spade: These things are like CRACK!

The beauty is in their simplicity: two pieces of white bread cradling a mixture of chopped boiled eggs, mayonnaise (or possibly miracle whip, I can’t tell), some diced sweet pickles, mustard, salt, and spices. I’ve been trying to replicate the recipe at home for the last few days so that I could share it with you, but nothing that I whipped up came close.

I think that before my day was over, I’d split time between watching Rory McIlroy’s epic meltdown and consuming roughly six egg salad sandwiches, and picking up three to take home. Of all of the sporting events that I attend, this is by far my favorite food tradition. And yes, that includes a hot dog at a baseball game.

What about you? If you’ve been to The Masters, which sandwich camp are you in? If not the Masters, do you have a ballpark/stadium food that eclipses the sporting event itself? Or do I just need to get my priorities straight?

- By Jon Watson, Food & More blog


23 comments Add your comment


April 14th, 2011
1:55 pm

Pimento. All the way. In fact, we didnt have tickets this year (we join the lotto, you lucky btard), but dad got a badge for Friday. So, Sunday I made Pimento cheese, and we had adult Arnie Palmers (Sweet Tea vodka and lemonade, also sometimes calleda John Daly). Masters sammies FTW.


April 14th, 2011
2:29 pm

Egg salad has been my favorite. I’m not sure how well it would travel in the heat. A friend of mine is the Augusta National member assigned to concessions. It is amazing that they don’t gouge the patrons with high prices. I have been going since I was a kid and it was a thrill to take my son and daughter this year. Nothing like it.


April 14th, 2011
3:00 pm

I’m with you, Jon. I simply adore the egg salad sandwiches! I really like the pimento cheese sandwich as well, but if I had to choose one, I’d pick egg salad every time.


April 14th, 2011
3:18 pm

The ham and cheese is pretty good too – but nothing like the pimento cheese. Most remarkably is that my wife and I attended, ate all we wanted – although the anticipated drive back to Atlanta limited us on the beer – and spent less than $20.

Mike in Marietta

April 14th, 2011
4:45 pm

I have never attended the Masters. However last year on Masters weekend My dad attended Thursday or Friday (I cant remember). I was the best man in a close family friends wedding that Saturday and I had my dad who was also attending the wedding bring me an egg salad sandwich. I at that at the reception and it was better than anything being served there. I will always remember that day (because of the egg salad).


April 14th, 2011
4:52 pm

Are you crazy? Pimento Cheese all the way. Went Saturday this year & had three (plus a bunch of beers for about $20 total). Everyone always jokes that the Master’s doesn’t want our “hard-earned” money, but they have a great strategy in that they sell the food for cheap so that you’ll spend a bunch of money in the store on all the logo’d items they have (the Master’s logo can only be sold at the shop there in Augusta, but the items will travel away from there all over the world to spread the allure).


April 14th, 2011
5:00 pm

Oh yeah, forgot to mention that one reason the pimento cheese is so great is that they serve it at room temperature! Yes, I know all about the mayo on a hot spring day, but like deviled eggs, true southern pimento cheese has to be room temperature. John – I bet you that’s a key reason why you like the egg salad so much (since it’s also served at room temperature like a deviled egg should be!)


April 14th, 2011
5:41 pm

I like them all. If I feel I need to be healthy, I get the tuna on wheat. If I feel I need something unhealthy, I get the hot barbecue pork sandwitch. What I like most about the Masters food tradition, though, is the BEER. Especially on Sunday.

Soupy Sales

April 14th, 2011
7:02 pm

Good story, Jon.

David (or Jon): Who has the sandwich concession, Augusta National’s own restaurant or a local restaurant? I guess my real Q is: are these babies available in Augusta during other times of the year or are they made by special sandwich elves who only come out during Masters Week?

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April 15th, 2011
9:01 am

Soupy Sales — I think it’s the sandwich elves.

Westside Resident

April 15th, 2011
9:03 am

Oh for a Master’s egg salad sandwich! I grew up in Augusta and attended almost annually an could eat my weight in those little green packets of goodness. In the many years since I’ve left, I’ve traveled a good bit and always sought out the “best” egg salad in town, only to be disappointed. Its been a while since I’ve been back, but I always ask friends to pick me up a few to bring home.

@Soupy – no, they aren’t available in Augusta the rest of the year. They are made by special gnomes the National keeps on staff year round. They are also responsible for making sure there are seemingly no bugs at all inside the bounds of the course (with the exception of the occasional bumble bee here and there).


April 15th, 2011
9:36 am

Wow…six egg salad sandwiches! I hope the bathroom was close.


April 15th, 2011
1:52 pm

The Masters is by far the best sporting event to attend. I live in Augusta. I have never paid to get in and I have been the past 5 years. The beer is $3.00 for about 16 oz and the Sandwichs are $1.50 to $2.50. You just can’t beat that.

They made good and bad changes this year. They sold beer until 5pm instead of closing down in the past at 4pm.
While the food was still good, it is my opinion that they should have kept going through Chris Cunningham to make the sandwichs.

Rumor has it the new guy called Mr. Cunningham this year when he had a problem perfecting the pimento cheese. New guy asked him how many pimentos do you put in there? Mr. Cunningham said go get a 10 lb. jar of pimentos, bend over and I’ll show ya!

Real Mayo

April 15th, 2011
3:33 pm

Enter your comments here

Real Mayo

April 15th, 2011
3:35 pm

You can’t tell the difference between real mayo and miracle whip? and you are a food critic? WOW ! !


April 15th, 2011
6:58 pm

Miracle Whip is banned in Augusta a month prior to the Masters. Trust me the “Lords of the Masters” have never heard of Miracle Whip. That would be like saying the leaders are on” the back nine” instead of” the second nine”, its just not done.

Real Mayo

April 16th, 2011
11:26 am

Miracle Whip is HORRIBLE !


April 16th, 2011
7:19 pm

Love the pimiento cheese – ate one there last Monday, the only day we had tickets. Delish!

Real Mayo

April 17th, 2011
5:24 pm

It’s like Emeril visting Fred Sanford.


April 19th, 2011
11:16 am

I’m pretty sure a guy named Shepherd Wong has the secret recipe for the world’s best egg salad. Look it up!


April 19th, 2011
11:38 am

Great blog. My favorite though is to get the ham and cheese AND the pimento cheese and put them together. Quite gluttonous, but for $3, still a heck of a deal.