Last night, my husband and I dropped by my in-laws. When my mother-in-law greeted us at the door, the first thing she said to me was, “Thank goodness you are here, you can tell me what these are.” She then ran to her kitchen and returned with a bag of, you guessed it, cheese curds. Of course, being the self-respecting Midwestern gal that I am I answered her straight away. She had gotten the cheese curds as a part of a holiday gift package from a relative from Wisconsin. The package, other than identify the farm where the good were from, did not name any of the goodies to be found in the box. The other item I saw were smoked beef sausages; perfect toothpick food, and just the thing to have with cheese curds.
Now cheese curds and the smoked sausages are not the most sophisticated foods, and I was amused that my mother-in-law treated them with suspicion. The package failed to identify the the product, type of cheese, cow, etc. We are definitely spoiled with the abundance of information about our food here in San Francisco, where you can select a cheese based on the dairy, the type of cow, and even the time of day the milk is collected.
Cheese curds for those of you that never had them are definitely fun to eat, and I liken them to Midwestern popcorn. You can’t eat just one. Here is a brief primer Cheese_curds Half the fun of eating them, especially if they’re fresh is the squeak they make when they are bitten into. Children love that unexpected feature.
Unfortunately, the batch my in-laws received did not squeak, as I suspect they were frozen for their journey from Wisconsin to California. Trader Joe’s is the only source I am aware of in San Francisco, and they are definitely not fresh. I’m from Minnesota, and cheese curds for us hail from Wisconsin; all the cheese curds in the stores are billed as Wisconsin cheese curds. Cheese curd stands set up along the road proudly identify their Wisconsin connections. They even make a “healthy” deep fried version that they sell at the county fairs =) . Having grown up with cheese curds, it is a shock to encounter someone that had neither seen or heard of them before, especially as that person grew up in the US. Its all about perspective, and it makes for a learning experience.