Types of Cheese Available in 1920

Cheddar Cheese and Knife on Cutting BoardToday there are a huge number of varieties of cheese. There were also lots of types of cheese a hundred years ago. Here’s what a 1920 magazine said:


Cheese contains more than twice as much nourishment, pound for pound, as the best beefsteak.

There are over 500 varieties of cheese.

Cheddar, or the American dairy cheese, is characterized by its solid, close texture, delicate, mild aroma, and pleasing flavor.

A “green” or freshly made cheese lacks in flavor and is rubbery – more like the pressed curd from which it comes.

A “ripe” cheese is that which has aged and developed a full flavor and a rich, mellow consistency.

Those cheeses known as Pimiento, club, pineapple, and sage cheese, are of the Cheddar type and of distinctive shape or flavor.

Roquefort is cheese is made in Roquefort, France of goats’ milk, and is ripened by a secret “moldy bread process.”

Swiss cheese is of a somewhat different flavor, due doubtless to the presence of micro-organisms which are thought to be the cause of the numerous holes that perforate this food. It is claimed that an expert can tell the porousness of a Swiss cheese by the sound which it gives when it is tapped.

Edam and Parmesan cheeses are of a hard variety caused by pressing out all of the water. For this reason, they grate well and being of rich flavor, are desirable for seasoning.

Neufchatel cheese is made from thick, sour milk. It does not keep as the other cheeses do, and so one must be careful to purchase it fresh to have it at its best.

American Cookery (May, 1920)

30 thoughts on “Types of Cheese Available in 1920

  1. I don’t remember having many choices of cheese when I was growing up. Small towns didn’t have large supermarkets, and I might remember only the cheeses my mother bought. We had cheddar and Swiss. What an eye-opener it was to go in cheese shops on Long Island!

        1. We also had Parmesan cheese that came in a round green can. Actually, I still have a green can of Parmesan cheese in my refrigerator. πŸ™‚

  2. We were a cheese savvy family. My father thought that the best cheeses were aged and included parmesan, gouda, and swiss. My mother favored soft cheeses like cream cheese, brie, and muenster. I suppose it came from living through the depression and WWII rationing where they sought as much “bang for the buck” food wise as possible.

  3. Tapping cheese .. I can believe it would tell you a little about how porous it could be. I’m really fond of Swiss cheese ,from baby Swiss to very porous Swiss. There’s one type of cheese that my grandfather used to eat that stank awful.. Limburger cheese I think it was called. Never could get that stuff passed my nose to try it.πŸ˜„

    1. I’ve never tapped cheese – but I may have to give it a try. It would be interesting to see how the sound of baby Swiss differs from a Swiss cheese with very large holes. I don’t think that I ever tasted Limburger Cheese, but I’ve heard lots of stories about its smell. πŸ™‚

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