I need help.  I CANNOT stop eating…cottage cheese.  I mean, really–it’s getting to be a disease.  I don’t have to be hungry or in need of nutrition, I only need to think dairy, and I am diving into the carton eating ravenously and wondering why is it just so beautiful?   This cottage cheese, sitting in my fridge, is taunting me–begging me–demanding me to eat it all.  ALL, and then go buy more.  I have gone through 4 cartons in 3 days.

This insane urge and craving is based in a long story.  Aren’t they all?

When I was a wee lass, I lived in Iowa–a land of pure joy and light.  A land where Hy-Vee (a smile in every aisle) existed and, even better, carried Anderson Erickson Dairy products.  Like so many, I did not know what I had till it was gone.  I moved to Illinois, a land completely void of either thing.

As time progressed, I realized what I was missing.  A thing that had once been an occasional side dish was indeed gone and a hole in my soul was now clearly evident, and a trip to the land of my birth (and Grandma’s) soon reminded me what I held so dear: A&E 2% cottage cheese.  Back at home, we attempted a different brand of cottage cheese–to no avail.  It was a mush of white, not the curd-ilicious beauty of the A&E brand.  I pledged my undying love for this blue and white waxy container that housed the only cottage cheese I could ever love.

Years passed, and the only way to get my fix of this wonderful concoction was to visit the Grandparents.  Prior to each visit they would dutifully stock up with 2-3 cartons.  Silly creatures, they never learned that such a small amount did not suffice my ravenous hunger.  Sometimes, we would bring a cooler and bring cartons home with us.  We did what we could to keep our lives whole.

And then, I got old and I went away to college.  I went to this place called Kirksville–and in that place, a beautiful building emerged: HyVee.  But, in this place, the devil also existed and I (and all my friends) were without car.  Thusly, should I manage to hitch a ride for supplies, we went to Satan’s House (Wal-mart).  Cottage cheese was not to be mine.

Until, I made it to my third year of academics and off-campus housing.  I had car, I lived virtually next door to Hy-Vee and all seemed well.  Until, I saw the bearer of the end: a plastic container.

It was innocently sitting in the place of what had once been my desire, but it was not the same.  It was plastic, it had a gold foil top, it had a suspiciously bright and happy design as if this modernized carton could give me the same sustenance its waxy counterpart had once done.  I remained optimistic, but all was lost.

I opened my carton, and inside was not the A&E 2% I had grown to love, it was instead the same generic mush I had been avoiding for years.  It tasted vaguely metallic, as if the gold colored foil had poisoned it.  I was in denail.  “It’s just a bad batch,” I told my roomies.  “Surely, the next one will be fine.”

But it wasn’t to be.  Carton after carton was slop.  I lamented to my parents, only to learn that my father (or rather, his company who had produced the wax containers and had since discontinued them) was at fault.   He said the container must have been the reasoning for the change, and for years I could not forgive him for his transgrassion.

But, weeks and months of sadness and regret turned into years.  I was back in a Hy-Vee-less land and thought of my A&E cottage cheese fondly, but occasionally… until last week.

I was watching TV and saw a commercial for Daisy cottage cheese.  It looked good and I love Daisy sour cream, so I said–hey, let’s give ’em the old college try.  Maybe a miracle will happen.  So, R. and I ventured off to Target.  They did not have Daisy, but Market Pantry generic 2% cottage cheese.  I looked at it dubiously, I even walked away.  In the end, my desire and craving for cottage cheese won out and we purchased a carton.  R. is not insane like me, so if it tasted like regular old gross cottage cheese, he would eat it all.  Nothing would go to waste.

I did not feel hopeful.  I opened the container and saw the soupy contents that usually scream “GROSS.”  But, I soldiered on and took a spoon to the cottage cheese and then to my lips and… BLISS.  Sweet A&E bliss.  I was transported back to my Grandmother’s kitchen and the decadent feeling of what had once been my favorite food.

Target, I should have known you would not fail me.  I should have known that you would bring back to me what I had loved and lost.  And so, here I sit, full beyond full after plowing through another half container of cottage cheese, wondering if I might somehow harm my body with the amount I have eaten in the past three days–and how totally it will be worth it.  Also wondering, how long it will be before I can stomach more.

I love cottage cheese again.  The world seems right again.  

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