Understanding the oddity of cottage cheese loaf is a recent phenomenon in my foodie soul. I grew up with it, therefore it was a staple comfort food. I made it for my children, who are growing up and gaining their own food identities, so to have them come home and ask, “Can we have cottage cheese loaf?” makes me smile. Really? You have had goat cheese and North Carolina barbecue and figs in your recent meals, and you have a craving for cottage cheese and cereal pressed into a casserole dish? I love it.
So we start with a bowl. I teach my youngest how to make it, since the others have mastered it already. Put a stick of butter in there, and melt it in the microwave. Get a package of dried onion soup mix, and the container of cottage cheese (the big one), and 5 or 6 eggs, however many you have to spare. Stir it all in. Now pour in the Special K (or rice crispies), about half the box, maybe a little more. Stir that in and try to keep it in the bowl, we really need a bigger bowl. Now its ready to go into the casserole dish, the big 9×13 inch, spray it real good and press the mixture into it and put it in the oven for 45 minutes or so. Thats it.
We have mashed potatoes and green peas with it, and some sort of gravy to go over the whole plate. And that is the taste of home. Why? I don’t know.
My daughter’s boyfriend recoiled in horror at the description of it. Its a cultural thing, a 70’s vegetarian staple at adventist church potlucks and homes, a dish of endless variations but always familiar. Sort of like our friend’s love of tripe stew that her father used to make when she was a child: if you didn’t grow up with it, you can’t imagine eating it.
I like having this odd dish as a tradition.