Wheying the Odds

“Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet, eating her curds and whey. Along came a spider, who sat down beside her and frightened Miss Muffet away.”  This beloved nursery rhyme dates back to 1805, when it first appeared in a book titled Songs for the Nursery. There are many claims as to who Miss Muffet might have been or referred to. Whomever she was, she had a liking for curds and whey.

eat-more-cottage-cheeseWhat  do you think the odds are that you’ve most likely eaten curds and whey?  We’d say they are pretty high. Uh-huh! Yes, whey!  It may have been straight-up and out of the container in the frig; perhaps it was the foundation for a fruit plate or maybe it was cleverly hidden in lasagna. (I’m sure I’ll receive some rather arrabbiato correspondence from my Italian purist friends.)  These days we see this product called and marketed as cottage cheese, found in the dairy case at your local grocery store.

According to Wikipedia, “It (cottage cheese)  is believed to have originated because the simple cheese was usually made in cottages from any milk left over after making butter.” It could be made easily at home (or in the cottage) and was an economical alternative to other foods, especially during wartime.  Thinking about whipping up a fresh batch?  Check out “Making Cottage Cheese at Home” from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Home and Garden Bulletin No. 129 (April 9, 1976). It’s a bit involved, so may we suggest just swinging by the local food purveyor and picking up your choice of a small or large curd, regular, reduced-fat or fat free version.

You might be asking yourself, “Hmm…wonder what got Recipe Book Rescue started on this cheesy subject?”  Whilst reading through one of my recently rescued publications, Cutco Cook Book, I encountered several recipes that feature cottage cheese as a primary ingredient.  For your enjoyment, I’ve shared two of the more interesting recipes here.  Now, on to the truly important quest of the evening…discovering what a tuffet is and why Miss Muffet fell from it so easily!  Here at Recipe Book Rescue, believe it or not, a couple of folks have suggested that an adult-beverage (or two) might have been involved!


Cottage Cheese Herbed Onions

  • 2 pounds whole small onions
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1 1/2 cups cottage cheese, cream style
  • 1 1/2 cups buttered fresh bread crumbs
  1. Peel onions using PARING KNIFE; cook in boiling salted water 20 minutes or until tender; drain.
  2. Place onions in greased 2-quart casserole.
  3. Melt butter in 1-quart SAUCE PAN; blend in flour using MI-STIR; add milk; cook until thick, stirring constantly.
  4. Quickly blend in salt, pepper, marjoram, cottage cheese; spread over onions using SPREADER SPATULA; top with buttered crumbs.
  5. Bake 25 minutes at 375-degrees.
  6. Six servings.

Cottage Cheese Cookie Sticks

  • 1 cup creamed cottage cheese
  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 cups sifted all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or margarine
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  1. Blend cottage cheese, butter together with pastry cutter.
  2. Blend flour into mixture until dough holds together.
  3. Roll out on lightly floured board to 1/8-inch thickness.
  4. Brushed melted butter over dough; sprinkle walnuts, brown sugar over entire surface.
  5. Cut into equal strips, about 3 inches wide using SPATULA SPREADER; cut each strip into triangles, each about 3 inches wide at base.
  6. Lift triangles from board using SPATULA SPREADER; beginning at base of triangle, roll dough into sticks.
  7. Place sticks on ungreased cookie sheet, point side down.
  8. Bake 20 minutes at 400-degrees or until golden brown.
  9. About 4 – 4 1/2 dozen cookies.

Note:  Cutco (“the World’s Finest Cutlery” – their claim, not our endorsement) offered this recipe book in 1972 to complement to their wide range of cutlery products, hence the very specific references to cutlery items.  In addition to everything you’ve ever wanted to know about cutlery, Cutco continues to offer complementary recipe booklets, now just a quick download away.

Resource Attribution:  Cutco Division/Wear-Ever Aluminum, Inc. Cutco Cook Book. Margaret Mitchell (Director of Home Economics). Chillicothe, OH: 1972.

Image Credit: WWI poster, scan by Pritzker Military Library, Washington, D.C.


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