E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
A skinflint; a man of small savings; economy carried
to excesslike one who pares or shaves off very thinly the rind of his cheese instead of cutting it off. The tale is well known of the man who chose his wife out of three sisters by the way they ate their cheese. One pared itshe (he said) was mean; one cut it off extravagantly thickshe was wasteful; the third sliced it off in a medium way, and there his choice fell.