A batch of any Southern grandmother’s cheese straws won’t last long, so grab a handful while you can and enjoy the crispy, cheesy kick.
Mamau’s Cheese Straws
As far back as I can remember, Christmas always started with my grandmother’s cheese straws. Her name was Heloise McKee, but we called her Mamau. For about 40 years, she hosted a fancy Christmas Eve dinner for our family at her home in Memphis. For her seven grandkids, this was a major event because it ended with the opening of presents in her living room, a pre-Santa bonanza that felt like a bonus. But for me, it always began with the cheese straws, which she set out in silver bowls as a cocktail snack. They appeared only on that annual occasion. My brother never cared for them, but I could eat a dozen in a sitting, seduced by the crunchy goodness of Cheddar and cayenne that tasted like Christmas to me.