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Dean's Cottage Cheese: A Proustian Nightmare


Cheese 18

Dean's Cottage Cheese: A Proustian Nightmare

mrbarolo | May 26, 2004 04:33 PM

I'm not much of a cottage cheese eater. I long ago substituted ricotta in all the places where cottage cheese used to go. But today, in a diet fugue state, I decided that I would have some ricotta for lunch in order to eschew carbs and take in some protien. The little market near my office did not have any ricotta, so I opted for cottage cheese. They didn't have the Breakstone's I would normally gravitate to, so I grabbed the Dean's.

Now, I was thinking brand, schmand. It's mass produced dairy blandness. What's the diff? How wrong I was.

This stuff was jaw-dropping, stop-in-your-tracks awful. Unbelievably salty, with no other flavor component but a pronounced metalic edge in the finish, all conveyed over the palate on a sludgy, starchy texture that recalled soupy library paste more than any dairy product. Yuck.

The shock of this catapulted me back to the cottage cheese of my youth. There was no ricotta then, only cottage cheese. (Oddly, my mother's plastic container cabinet was filled with bright yellow Polly-O ricotta containers used for freezing soup, etc. But I don't recall ever being served actual ricotta. What did she do with it all?)

Anyway, it came back to me that the Breakstone cottage cheese of my youth had actual cheese flavor and texture. Whether they used vegetable gums, I can't say. But the stuff had a real dairy texture. Like Farmer's Cheese but with some whey still in it to give it moisture. Further, the kind she always brought said "Tangy" on the label. Now, the only distinctions are among gradations of fat content (4%, Low Fat-2%, 1% and fat-free). But then, there was "tangy." And that's what it was - just like real cheese. Just like yogurt was before they added all the food starch and sugar.

And this tang made it actually tasty as a contrast with fruit - or even "fruit cocktail" which we sometimes ate.

Does anyone else remember Breakstone's "tangy" cottage cheese? When did it disappear? Is there anything like it still around?

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