Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Cheese Curds

It's June Dairy Month, so here in Wisconsin, it's all about dairy for the next 30 days (yes, we will be eating, talking about and consuming even more dairy products than normal - God love us). That means giant cheese billboards, even more cheese commercials, an influx of cheese festivals and of course, press releases revolving around cheese.

My favorite press release so far (and granted, it's only three days into June Dairy Month) is a piece by the state milk marketing board extolling the scientific and nutritional virtues of cheese curds. The release attempts to give consumers specific reasons to eat cheese curds, including:
  • Snacking is a popular part of the American diet
  • 61 percent of consumers view cheese as a healthy snack
  • Curds offer a low carbohydrate, high protein option full of calcium
  • Curds offer the ideal combination of flavor, nutrition and convenience
Obviously this press release was written for people who have never had a cheese curd in their life. Because I don't know anyone who buys cheese curds for their nutritional value. I only know people who eat cheese curds because they taste really freakin' good. If I were writing the press release, here's what I would highlight:
  • Only buy cheese curds if they are fresh -- anything over a day old just isn't the same. If that means you can't get them where you live, then move to Wisconsin.
  • Cheese curds are cheese, so while we may try to pretend they are a super nutritious food, let's face it, they are high in fat but also high in taste. This is why everyone I know has at some point in their lifetime eaten cheese curds until they got physically sick and lived to tell the tale that yes, it WAS worth it.
  • Cheese curds are squeaky, fresh and fun to eat. Just remember to pack a toothpick to get out all those little orange pieces of cheese from between your teeth when you're done.
Traditionally, cheese curds were the leftover bonus from a batch of Cheddar that cheesemakers brought home for their children to eat. Today, cheese curds are a staple in the diet of most Wisconsinites. One company - Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery in Ellsworth, Wis., even dedicates their entire cheese production to making cheese curds. The company plans to expand its curd distribution to all 50 states with a new vacuum-seal packaging that extends the shelf life of cheese curds to 14 months. Yikes. I bet they won't be squeaky.

Stick with the fresh cheese curds, people. Because a curd over a day old is just simply a piece of cheddar cheese. And if you can't get fresh cheese curds where you live, then plan a vacation to Wisconsin centered around visiting cheese plants and eating fresh cheese curds straight from the vat -- here's a map. I'd recommend visiting us in June, when we celebrate dairy in all its glory.

Long live the cheese curd!

5 comments:

Lynn said...

I would add "Eat curds at room temp" to your list. They taste the best then!

Cheesewench said...

14 month old cheese curds? That is an abomination! I've been trying to plan a day trip to WI from Chicago, but don't even know where to start. There's too much to choose from

Lo said...

Gotta agree... if those curds don't SQUEAK, they ain't truly curds!!

Golden Age Cheese said...

Good post! I am thrilled to know that most people realize cheese is a healthy snack - low in carbs and high in protein.

Vanessa said...

Just I love curd, if it will be 14 months old or any thing else, just I like curd...

Vanessa