Cottage Cheese

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

cottage cheese is now in every supermarket and it is obvious that any connection between it and cottages can only be historical. Its ancestors, which were as commonly called ‘cottagers’ cheeses’, were indeed home made and constituted an important category in the group of simple so-called ‘bag cheeses’ (drained in a cloth bag).

Mention of cottages brings to mind the English countryside, but the name ‘cottage cheese’ originated in N. America in the 19th century and was little used anywhere else until the 20th century. Bartlett (1848), whose reference is said to be the earliest in print, had the following entry in his dictionary: ‘Smear-Case, a preparation of milk made to be spread on bread, whence its name, otherwise called “cottage-cheese”.’