Ceramic Cheese Dish

In the 19th century, before the days of plastic containers and refrigerators, these dishes (also known as cheese-keepers) kept cheese from drying out.  These covered dishes also kept the odour of the cheese from spreading through the room.  They always had a small hole in the top to discourage mould.

Several different types of cheese-keepers were made.  By 1850 the large, cylindrical Stilton cheese, popular in England, was kept on a large round dish that was just the right size for the cheese.  A tall dome, about the size of the cheese, was placed over the dish.  It fitted inside the dish’s raised rim.

A smaller cheese dish became popular in the 1860s.  Cheese was served in a large wedge on a rectangular plate with a rectangular, triangular or wedge-shaped cover.  The dishes were usually made of pottery, including creamware, ironstone and majolica.  A few glass dishes were made

By the 1870s, cheese dishes were made to match dinner sets.  They remained popular until about 1920.

A cheese course was served at dinner parties between the pudding and the dessert.  Sometimes the cheese was cut into squares and passed around on a footed glass or pottery dish.


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