Sometimes bland, sometimes tasty



Cottage cheese — it’s a very simple food.

It comes in small, medium and large curds and in low fat or regular form. We buy it by the carton with numerous brands from which to choose.

I’ve eaten cottage cheese most of my life. But I really became acquainted with it when I was 12 and was pretty overweight.

Dr. Joe McCauley had my mother put me on a high carbohydrate diet. I’ve got to tell you, that was probably one of the healthiest diets I’ve been on — and I’ve been on a lot of diets over the years.

I ate lots of high protein, high carbohydrate foods during that summer. And I lost more than 20 pounds between my eighth grade and freshman years in school.

Cottage cheese was a suggested snack on that diet and I ate plenty of it — all by itself or maybe with a saltine cracker or two.

It was pretty good.

Between that time and when I turned 21, cottage cheese was pretty much a staple as a snack for me and I really thought of it primarily as a diet food — plain and simple with nothing added.

I was also getting to the point where I would practically turn and run if I was offered cottage cheese.

That attitude changed when my mother first made Pink Stuff.

I don’t know if it has another name but that’s what we call it.

You know what I’m talking about — cottage cheese mixed with dry strawberry gelatin and whipped topping.

Did I ever change my mind about plain old rather tasteless and flavorless cottage cheese!

Adding the whipped topping and gelatin turned those bland curds into a culinary delight. It was partly the textural blend of the three different ingredients but it was also the divine taste of the sweet elements mixed with the curds and it was slightly chewy yet smooth.

I wasn’t the only one who loved Pink Stuff. I had a cat, Morris, who thought if people ate something, so should he. Morris and I were visiting my parents for a noon meal once. My mother made Pink Stuff and she and I had already had our share. We left the bowl on the kitchen table and went to the living room to wait for my father to come home for lunch.

About that time, Morris disappeared from the living room and we heard some strange sounds coming from the kitchen.

By the time we got to the kitchen, Morris was jumping off the table acting like he hadn’t done a thing.

However, the Pink Stuff on his whiskers and chin told another tale.

Sad to say, my father didn’t get Pink Stuff that time. (OK, I suggested my mother just scrape off the top layer. Needless to say, she nixed that idea.)

Pink Stuff wasn’t the only dish to change my mind about cottage cheese.

My parents’ neighbor, Jenny Massaro, told my mother about using cottage cheese instead of ricotta cheese in lasagna. That was pretty good, too.

But, then, just about anything Mrs. Massaro or my mother cooked was good.

I’ve been offered cottage cheese with peaches but I never could get into that kind of taste.

And, of course, there’s cottage cheese in lime gelatin but that’s not a favorite of mine either. Over the years, I’ve once again gotten used to plain cottage cheese with saltine crackers.

But just offer me Pink Stuff and I’ll really be happy.

Contact Teresa Atkerson at family@mcalesternews.com

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