Cottage Cheese: Uncovering the Origins of Its Name

For many people, cottage cheese is a key refrigerator staple that helps to liven up their everyday meals. But did you know that this delicious product has a pretty fascinating backstory? It’s true. People have been eating cottage cheese for centuries, and over the years many theories have popped up about where and how the dairy product was first developed.

The name, too, has been a source of debate. So where does the name cottage cheese come from? In this post, we’ll separate fact from fiction.

Origins of Cottage Cheese

The origins of cottage cheese are a little unclear. One theory dates cottage cheese way back to the 3rd century BC when the Mesopotamians accidentally created cheese curds when they were transporting milk through the desert. However, that’s just a theory – placing milk in a saddlebag and taking it through the heat of a desert would be a good way to make cottage cheese, though!

Unveiling the Name

So, where did the name cottage cheese come from? We know for sure that it dates back to at least 1831 when it was mentioned in Godey’s Lady’s Book. How well-known the name was at that time cannot be said, but in any case, it marks the first recorded use of the term. Now, as to how cottage cheese gets its name, that’s a different matter.

The Mystery Behind Cottage Cheese’s Name

Cottage cheese, when you think about it, is a pretty weird name for a food product. The cheese bit makes sense, but ‘cottage?’ What’s that about? Where did the name cottage cheese come from?

We may disappoint you slightly here since it’s not fully understood why cottage cheese is so-called. The leading contender is that it got its name because it was generally made in people’s homes (a home in the country is often called a cottage), rather than in an industrial environment. And if that’s how it got its name, then we’re all here for it: after all, small-batch cottage cheese tastes much better than large-scale cottage cheese products, as anyone who’s tried our cottage cheese can tell you!

Unravelling the Name’s History

Of course, ask someone else, ‘Where does cottage cheese get its name,’ and you may well receive a different answer. Some people believe that ‘cottage’ was another word for ‘poor,’ making cottage cheese another in the long list of delicious foods invented by the working classes. Others think that ‘cottage’ is just another way of saying ‘countryside,’ since that’s where the first batches of cottage cheese were made.


Ultimately, unless a Holy Grail document turns up that explicitly states how cottage cheese got its name and why, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever know for sure.

The good news is that though the history of cottage cheese may be unclear, its modern-day deliciousness and versatility are not. If you’re ready to sample cottage cheese made to the highest of standards and from the same recipe that has been handed down over four generations, then be sure to check out the cottage cheese we have available here at Brancourts.


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