In Defense of Cottage Cheese

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Almost surreal in its whiteness, plain cottage cheese tastes better than plain yogurt. But who ever heard of eating plain yogurt, which lends itself to all sorts of post-culture processing.


No dairy product has sunken lower in the popular estimation than cottage cheese. Can you name a fancy restaurant that has cottage cheese on its menu? Is artisanal cottage cheese available at any bistro or gastropub? Is cottage cheese sold at farmers' markets, or have you ever seen a speck of it at Smorgasburg, say?

Cottage cheese hasn't been popular since your grandma's day. Then, it was considered partly kids food, partly something to cook with, and partly a component of a classic luncheon salad platter that also included lettuce and canned fruit. Go to a public hospital, and you may still see cottage cheese on the salad plate.

Yet cottage cheese bravely persists. In the dairy aisle of the supermarket I checked, it constituted 4 linear feet of shallow shelving, while yogurt and yogurt products accounted for 72 feet, overwhelming the cottage cheese like an invading army.

Is it yogurt that killed cottage cheese? Indeed, yogurt, cloaking itself in virtue with its supposed live cultures, has turned into a beverage, dessert, dip, breakfast, sauce, and lunch entrée. How far do you have to go in the city before passing a fro-yo parlor? Some of the yogurt sold probably doesn't even qualify as actual yogurt.

Or did cottage cheese - yogurt and Ricotta's rustic cousin - commit suicide? In the 60s, it became synonymous with dieting, and all the fat was removed, globule by globule, resulting in a thin and sour-tasting product. Full-fat cottage cheese is full-bodied, salty, and with a distinct taste of lactating cow. It's quite delicious. You should try some full fat cottage cheese before it disappears entirely.


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Four feet are about all that's left of what once once an important segment of the dairy aisle. Only one of these is actually full-fat cottage cheese.


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14 comments
Grace Wright
Grace Wright

No, I have been working out of country for 6 years. I am back home now and looking forward to being the family cook again. My husband loves cottage cheese with a variety of dishes, and I use it in Lasagna. I have bought two containers lately, one a store brand and the other was a Kraft product, both were 4% as my husband does not like the low fat variety. I do not know what was in that container, but it was definitely not cottage cheese. My daughter in law says it has been changed and is no longer fit to eat. What ever have they done to it??

Zoe
Zoe

I quite like cottage cheese. I either put some in an omelette or put it into baked macaroni and cheese. I found that in Belgium the organic brand sold at the bio store (think Whole Foods) actually tastes better than at the regular store. 

Guest
Guest

If you ever can get your hands on Cowgirl Creamery cottage cheese, you will flip. So good.

literarymom
literarymom

One of my favorite fast lunches is cottage cheese, can of albacore tuna, and chunky salsa...all mixed together...I dare you to try it. I use Trader Joe's full fat small curd (that's key). 

Jess
Jess

Indian people eat plain yogurt. Point taken, though.

Sophie
Sophie

one of the best things of living in rural pennsylvania is fresh raw cottage cheese (from jersey cows which give extra fatty milk). about as delicious as the choicest fresh mozarella. the only drawback is that i can no longer eat the industrial stuff.

Gaia Filicori
Gaia Filicori

Do you have a particular brand/kind of cottage cheese you recommend? Or just the full-fat "Friendship"brand? For myself, I can't image eating it with fruit or anything sweet but LOVE it with mesquite flavored chips.

Ffg
Ffg

One of the best values at Trader Joes is their CC

dirty old man
dirty old man

You can't say anything positive about cottage cheese thighs, though.

Ref
Ref

I can remember when you could get various kinds of fruit and, better, veggie flavored cottage cheese.  It was wonderful stuff.

Steve
Steve

still don't understand low fat dairy, it all gets it's taste from the fat.

literarymom
literarymom

I'll have to try that - Cowgirl is right here where I live :)

WinstonGFX
WinstonGFX

I'm really fascinated by this pairing idea

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