Wednesday, August 14, 2013

WTF are Cheese Curds?

Add this to foods I don't understand: cheese curds. Living in Wisconsin, I find myself in the company of cheese curds more often than ever before. And quite frankly, more often than I feel comfortable with. At first I looked at the little wet lumps of curdled milk with disdain and distrust. How anyone could eat wet cheese out of a bag was beyond me, let alone wet curds, let alone squeaky wet curds.

 Image via Wikipedia
You don't even have to know what this is a picture of to know you want it in your mouth. But then you find out it's cheese curds.

But then people started ordering deep fried cheese curds and eating them in front of me, and I have to say, they smelled pretty damn good. And I experienced cognitive dissonance. How could something so foul smell (and also look) so good? Could they possibly not be so foul after all?

Cheese curd enthusiasts/curd pushers have been trying to get me to eat curds a lot lately. They tell me they're no different than all the other cheese I so hypocritically enjoy on the daily. True, I eat feta cheese in my salad every day, and I'd gladly marry and raise a family with some melted mozzarella. And I could probably be persuaded to eat a live spider if it was crawling around in a bowl of goat cheese.

But squeaky cheese curds sitting in a pool of curd discharge? F***. No. Never.

 Image via Wisconsin Chalet
How is this food?

However....deep fried cheese curds smell a helluva lot like mozzarella sticks. And you don't even want to know the sick and twisted things I dream about doing to a plate of mozzarella sticks. So are deep fried cheese curds just miniature mozzarella sticks? Maybe they don't call them that because they're technically not shaped like sticks. Or made of mozzarella. It's like how you can't call sparkling wine "champagne" unless it was actually made from grapes grown in Champagne, France. Maybe you can't call something a "mozzarella stick" unless it's actually made of mozzarella and shaped like a stick.

And I'm cool with it not being made of mozzarella. Like I mentioned, I do eat other varieties of cheese. As long as it has the same stringy consistency of mozzarella and it's wrapped in a greasy, crumbly cocoon of fried dough, we're cool. So maybe I should just try a cheese curd already, for the love of Pete (I'm referring to the late, great spider named Pete)?

But I can't quite get past the fact that cheese curds are called cheese curds. Am I wrong in making the assumption that cheese curds are made of curdled milk? Am I wrong in declaring that that is some of the sickest shit I have ever heard? But, Karisa, you'll say, all cheese is made from that same nasty-ass process. That's fine, I'll respond. I've already made peace with the fact that I can't simultaneously eat cheese and think about where it's been. But I have to point out that only cheese curds have the word "curd" in the name (which, incidentally, rhymes with "turd," and I can't get behind that).

 Image via Wikipedia
Cheese curds in space! For the Star Trek fans.

On the other hand, maybe deep fried cheese curds are a whole different animal than regular, squeaky cheese curds. Maybe the raw kind, dripping in cloudy cheese water are disgusting, but the fried kind are just delicious milk fat enveloped in a loving grease embrace. Is there a rule that anything called "cheese curd" must actually contain curds?

Perhaps I'm overthinking this. I just don't want to miss out on delicious fried appetizers for the rest of my life if I don't absolutely have to. If there's any way for me to get more fried food into my diet, I'm all for it, and my doctor would surely agree. I haven't been focusing enough attention lately on the top of the food pyramid, and she's concerned about that.

So what do you think? Are deep fried cheese curds the same as mozzarella sticks? Are raw cheese curds any more disgusting than any of the other disgusting cheese I undress with my eyes every day? Should I eat a cheese curd?!


  1. Regular cheese curds gross me out. Why do they squeak?! But deep-fried or otherwise-melted cheese curds are fine. They taste just like cheese, but the meltiness eliminates the squeak.

    Also, if you never try cheese curds, you can't eat poutine, and that's just sad.

  2. I don't normally like cheese in any iteration, but when I was in Wisconsin we had breakfast with our family, and I was informed after the fact that my breakfast contained cheese curds. I didn't know the difference, and my breakfast didn't squeak.

  3. It's fried cheese, the answer is always yes.

  4. I have never even heard of cheese curds! And I love all things cheese. I had to go to wikipedia to figure out what the heck you were talking about with squeaking cheese. I am kind of disturbed by the fact that "Keeping them at room temperature can preserve the squeakiness." Um, no, I'm not into room temperature cheese, and the squeak factor kind of creeps me out.

    Now that I'm a cheese curd expert, thanks to 2 minutes of internet research, I don't think I'd eat the regular curds. But hell, cover anything in batter and deep fry it, and it magically becomes alright to eat. Soft shell crab is a good example, super creepy to eat unless it's deep fried in batter. Batter is basically the equivalent of closing your eyes and going "la la la," but in food form. Also, I'm guessing most chain restaurants are cheap, and deep fried cheese curds are actually just chopped up pieces of string cheese that are battered and fried? Or at least that's what you could tell yourself!

  5. Hahaha I've always tried everything at least once before calling it quits... which means I HAVE tried cheese curds before. Both the wet squeaky kind (the most icky thing about it is the squeak. other than that, it tastes pretty good!) and the fried. It does remind me of mozzarella sticks and hey, any form of either fried or cheesy goodness is good to go for me!

    Michelle @ Mishfish13

  6. I LOVE cheese curds! If you don't like the curd aspect, thing of it as "Farmer's Cheese", which I think is fundamentally the same thing. And regular cheese is actually EVEN GROSSER than cheese curds because it is basically just MOLDY cheese curds. Also, if it helps, just think of Miss Muffet, and be glad there isn't a spider sitting next to you. I highly recommend at least the fried cheese curds - makes me miss living in the upper midwest!


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