Point/Counterpoint: Is cottage cheese gross?

Illustration for article titled Point/Counterpoint: Is cottage cheese gross?
Photo: Steven Mark Needham (Getty Images)

We have found a new most-divisive food within The Takeout ranks. It is cottage cheese. The range of emotions to this curd product is wide, from pure pleasure to abject horror. We have decided the only way to settle this, barring fisticuffs, is in the most civic way possible: an old-fashioned point-counterpoint.

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Cottage cheese is delicious and I will hear no arguments to the contrary.

By Kate Bernot

Kate Bernot
Kate Bernot
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If I’d created the food pyramid, it would look like a cheese wedge. Dairy is my favorite food group, and cottage cheese specifically holds a special place in my heart. The sticking point for cottage cheese critics (who are wrong) is actually my favorite part: the texture. It’s creamy and rich like yogurt, but its curds add more substance. I’ll always opt for large-curd, fuller-fat cottage cheese, as those versions up both the creaminess and the curd factor. (Low-fat cottage cheese tastes like sawdust milk in comparison.) I eat my cottage cheese plain, no fruit or other flavor mix-ins, because I think its mild tang and savory-sweetness are enough. I could go on about its high-protein nutritional values, but that’s not why I’m eating it. I just think cottage cheese is delicious and haters are unfairly judging a book by its lumpy cover.


Cottage cheese blllllllleeeeeccccccccchhhhhhhhhh 

By Kevin Pang

I’ve eaten some weird shit in my life: Snakes, bird’s nests, an assortment of dicks. The one that gives me the most icks surprisingly isn’t the assortment of dicks—it’s cottage cheese.

Kevin Pang

My aversion is purely psychological. I can mentally remove all layers, isolating only the taste, and can appreciate that it’s essentially mild mozzarella with Greek yogurt. That said, we don’t eat with just flavor in a vacuum—we involve all our senses, biases, and reference points. And with cottage cheese, I just can’t.

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The last time I tasted cottage cheese was about 20 years ago. I decided, on occasion of this point/counterpoint, to buy a canister of cottage cheese. I purchased the freshest and most expensive I could find at Whole Foods, for fear of upsetting the pro-cottage cheese contingent of using a sub-par product.

First: the sight of it. It looks the bacterial growth on a petri dish. Then, I took a taste. Those lumps touching my lips feel like I’m sucking down cellulite from the back of a thigh. And is it supposed to be a sweet or savory product? It is undecided. Certain people tell me it’s great with canned peaches, others say it requires a pinch of salt and hot sauce. You know what, cottage cheese, I don’t appreciate your indecision. Pick a side, coward.

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I’ve gone the last 20 years without cottage cheese and I turned out just fine. Surely I can go another 20.

Kevin Pang was the founding editor of The Takeout, and director of the documentary For Grace.

Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.

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DISCUSSION

Ok, I can’t really wrap my head around being fine eating a lot of the foods people talk about on here and being grossed out by cottage cheese of all things. Like, not wild about it? Ok I’ll buy that. But actively grossed out? After you talk about umami and fish sauce? I mean fish sauce is literally just rotten fish drippings and smells like pressure-cooked yak anus, unwashed yak anus harvested directly after a particularly epic dump at that. And you’re going to tell me that is less gross than cottage cheese?*

And I say this as someone who loves him some fish sauce. But objectively, in appearance, flavor and origins it is just grosser than cottage cheese.