“Whey”ing in on National Cheese Month

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by Susquehanna County Dairy Ambassador Charlotte Quick

Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet,

Eating her curds and whey,

When down came a spider who sat down beside her

And frightened Miss Muffet away.

Dairy Ambassador Charlotte Quick

Almost all of you know this poem. It’s a popular nursery rhyme and a poem in many children’s books. And you all know the simple details: Miss Muffet sat down to eat her curds and whey – but wait! What are curds and whey, and why was Miss Muffet eating them?

The answer might be stranger than you think. Curds are a byproduct of coagulated (or curdled) milk in the cheesemaking process. After the curds form, they are pressed to drain off excess liquid. This liquid is called whey. Simply put, Little Miss Muffet was basically eating cottage cheese in its purest form! In her day, curds and whey were often sweetened and eaten as a dessert called junket.

Since we are talking about cheese, did you know that October is National Cheese Month? Cheese is filled with lots of vitamins like vitamin B12, which helps keep your nerves healthy, vitamin A, which is good for your vision, and vitamin D, which helps your body in the process of absorbing calcium. It’s also a great start to getting your three servings of dairy (milk, cheese and yogurt) each day. Make sure you celebrate National Cheese Month by eating your favorite cheeses and cheese dishes – and maybe even try some curds and whey!

I guess Little Miss Muffet knew what she was doing when she sat down to eat her curds and whey. It’s just too bad that big spider came and frightened her away! One could suppose that the pesky spider just wanted its own chance to get three servings of dairy too.

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