Cream cheese is a soft, mild-tasting fresh cheese made from milk and cream. Cream cheese is used as a spread on bread, bagels, and crackers. It is also used as a dip for potato chips and similar snack items, and in salads.
By the 1820s, the dairy farms around Philadelphia and New York City earned a reputation for producing the best examples of this cheese. Cream cheese was produced on family farms throughout the country, so quantities made and distributed were usually small. With the advent of the refrigerated railcar, cream cheese production was consolidated into large factories.