I shudder when I remember the low-fat craze that took hold during my 1980s childhood: skim milk, nonfat cottage cheese, nonfat yogurt (sweetened with aspartame!), artificial eggs, margarine, nonfat salad dressing (with sugar to make up for the lack of flavor), and worst of all, nonfat cheese, which looks and tastes exactly like shards of hard plastic.
Those were dark days. And the food was terrible.
Fortunately, nutritional science has caught up with our instincts and taste buds to tell us, whoops! Our bad: naturally-occurring fat (not trans fat) is okay! And often good for you. Sorry for the terrible cheese.
I’m glad I’ve lived long enough to witness that 180-degree turnaround. Good quality oils, butter, and whole milk taste so much better than their fake-food counterparts. Fortunately Aldi has lots of inexpensive healthy fats to choose from, including olive oil, coconut oil, tuna, and a nice selection of nuts.
Whole fat dairy products aren’t as good for you as those, but they’re still fine to eat in moderation and will keep you fuller for longer than their low or non-fat versions. Enter one of my personal Aldi favorites: the humble Friendly Farms Cottage Cheese (small curd, 4% milkfat variety). Yes, it comes in 2%, too, but didn’t we just establish that we don’t have to torture ourselves with low fat food? Go ahead and buy the good stuff.
I love cottage cheese. My mom used to serve it up with fruit (canned peaches, because life is never perfect), and I’d pick off the slimy fruit to eat the cheese. It’s one of my favorite comfort foods and also a nice high-protein snack or breakfast. It’s creamy-meets-salty flavor is addictive, once you get over how unappealing it looks.
Cottage cheese is such a basic, humble product that you wouldn’t think there’d be much variety out there. But as a life-long lover of curds and whey, I’m here to tell you that they’re not all created equal. Some are too sour; some are too grainy; some are too thick and lumpy; and some are too thin. Ideally, cottage cheese should have soft curds and a rich milky flavor with a hint of saltiness.
Friendly Farms Cottage Cheese is perfect. I’ve never had a bad carton, and you can imagine I’ve gone through plenty of them. They’re consistently creamy, a little salty, and smooth. I’ve had much higher priced cottage cheeses from other stores that can’t stand up to this one in terms of flavor and texture.
Each 1/2 cup serving contains 100 calories, 5 grams of fat (3 saturated), 11 grams of protein, and 8% of your daily calcium. It also contains 20% of your recommended sodium, so be careful if you’re following a low-sodium diet. There are no serving instructions, but I recommend a bowl or cup and a spoon because your family might give you strange looks if you just stand in the kitchen eating it straight out of the carton. Hypothetically, of course.
If you love cottage cheese, or you love someone who does, then save yourself money and disappointment by buying the Aldi whole milk version. You won’t regret it; and it’s not even bad for you. And if I’m coming over to visit, please buy two.