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