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View Full Version : What kind of cheese was the government surplus brick sized blocks?


Sampiro
07-09-2006, 06:04 PM
Dopers my age and over may remember when the government gave seniors and low income families and the like big brick or small breadloaf sized boxes of cheese each month. The ancients in my family all got it, the homes I worked in for mental patients got it, etc.. While personally I'm not a huge cheese lover I've heard several people who are say it was some of the best cheese they ever ate- there was even a low key "black market" of sorts for it as yuppies who'd never dream of applying for a surplus food subsidy even if they had some sort of eligibility would buy it from welfare families or seniors who didn't want it or would rather have the cash- it was almost like a bootlegger.

Anyway, a friend who's done me some big favors lately mentioned her love of this cheese and I'd love to get her some that tastes like it. Does anybody know what type of cheese this was or what variety on the market tastes most like it? (And please don't repeat that damned "that's nacho cheese" joke... :p ).

SnakesCatLady
07-09-2006, 06:09 PM
Remembering grilled cheese sandwiches made from it as a kid, I would say it was a mild cheddar. It wasn't the same texture as American cheese. It was goooooood, though. Almost made up for not having milk when I went to visit those cousins - I never did learn to tolerate powdered milk.

El Cid Viscoso
07-09-2006, 06:11 PM
Gubmint Cheese.

MrJackboots
07-09-2006, 06:18 PM
My understanding is that it was actually a whole bunch of scrap cheese melted and blended together. Mostly I think it's your standard-issue Kraft Singles cheese and mild cheddar, with some other stuff mixed in.

Johnny L.A.
07-09-2006, 06:21 PM
My dad had a neighbour who got the cheese but either didn't care for it, or there was just too much of it; so she gave it to him. Not what I'd choose if I wanted to eat some cheese; but perfect for grilled cheese sandwiches.

samclem
07-09-2006, 06:36 PM
From what I can find in newspaper articles from the time, it was a combination of Cheddar and American.

WhyNot
07-09-2006, 06:43 PM
I don't know if was the same stuff my grandmother got in the '80s, but the closest to that is Land O' Lakes American slices from the deli, not the refrigerated section. The texture is a little "stiffer" than other American slices, with a bit more cheddary flavor.

However, gov'ment cheese is also flavored with nostalgia, so even if you found the real thing, it might not taste like your friend remembers.

ZipperJJ
07-09-2006, 07:07 PM
The Kraft Deli Style seems most like it to me.

I used to abhor the stuff when we had to eat it. Now I long for it.

Queen Tonya
07-09-2006, 07:11 PM
Oh man, I miss the mac-n-cheese I used to make with my gubmint cheese, gubmint noodles and gubmint evap milk. :drool:

Heartier than American, more cheddary, but obviously more soft and mild than real cheddar, yep find something like that.

Lama Pacos
07-09-2006, 07:22 PM
I've always wondered what it was surplus from. The Army?

Khadaji
07-09-2006, 07:22 PM
Oooo, Government cheese. I used to enforce the parking laws for the city of Williasmport PA and I hated government cheese day. Pissed me off. All the people seemed feel that since they were entitled to a handout they also didn't need to obey the parking laws. They were always pissed when I wrote a ticket for parking under the no parking sign. And most of them had cars better than I could afford to drive and many of them had new caddys.

Wow, after 20-some years I can still get hot about it. :D

kanicbird
07-09-2006, 07:46 PM
That stuff is just real american cheese, not the current abomination of american cheese food that everyone seems to think is real american cheese sold in the supermarkets.

Captain Amazing
07-09-2006, 07:51 PM
I've always wondered what it was surplus from. The Army?

No. As an attempt to keep the price of milk up, and thereby keep dairy farmers happy, the Goverment buys surplus dairy products at a fixed price from farmers, and uses it to feed the poor. Here's an interesting article from last year, talking about how the government was running out of surplus, because of higher milk prices, and may need to cut back on the program:

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2005/05/22/national/w224149D60.DTL

Lama Pacos
07-09-2006, 07:59 PM
Interesting. What other foods does the government provide to the poor? How does one qualify? For some reason I was always under the impression that government food aid only came in the form of indirect food stamps and coupons.

Musicat
07-09-2006, 08:17 PM
No. As an attempt to keep the price of milk up, and thereby keep dairy farmers happy, the Goverment buys surplus dairy products at a fixed price from farmers, and uses it to feed the poor. Which really means that the taxpayers are forced to pay the farmers for products that nobody wants to pay for voluntarily.

Wish someone would pay ME to make stuff nobody wants, but I'm not a farmer, so I'll just have to make an honest living instead.

WhyNot
07-09-2006, 08:28 PM
Which really means that the taxpayers are forced to pay the farmers for products that nobody wants to pay for voluntarily.

Wish someone would pay ME to make stuff nobody wants, but I'm not a farmer, so I'll just have to make an honest living instead.
Would you rather we pay more to enable to government to buy food for the poor at full retail prices? :confused: I'm pretty sure the poor (and the not-so-poor, to judge from this thread) want the cheese.

Musicat
07-09-2006, 08:40 PM
Would you rather we pay more to enable to government to buy food for the poor at full retail prices? :confused: So I have to pay for someone else's food no matter what, and the only choice I have is how much it will cost me? Whatever happened to earning an honest living?I'm pretty sure the poor (and the not-so-poor, to judge from this thread) want the cheese.I'm pretty sure I want a big-screen TV and a faster computer, too, but no one has volunteered to give it to me at no cost. Guess I'm not poor enough.

Fear Itself
07-09-2006, 08:49 PM
So I have to pay for someone else's food no matter what, and the only choice I have is how much it will cost me? Yep, that's about the size of it. Where do you think you are, Libertopia?

norinew
07-09-2006, 08:50 PM
Interesting. What other foods does the government provide to the poor? How does one qualify? For some reason I was always under the impression that government food aid only came in the form of indirect food stamps and coupons.

Well, around here, we have food banks. A year ago, things were rough for us financially, and we fell well within the income limits of using the food bank (not within the limits of getting food stamps, though). Once a month, I could go and get a box of free government food, which usually included: a couple of bags of noodles, a bag of walnut pieces, some canned milk, canned fruit, canned veggies, no-refrigeration-needed pudding, and some kind of canned meat. At the same time, the food bank had four "sections", including a coffee section and a non-food section. You had to pay $5.00 for each section you wanted to "shop" in. You'd decide which sections you wanted, and then got to select two items from each shelf in each section you'd paid for.

Martini Enfield
07-09-2006, 08:51 PM
Guess I'm not poor enough.

You can be, especially if you accept E-mailed invitations to help members of the Nigerian Government launder money through offshore bank accounts! :D

hawksgirl
07-09-2006, 08:55 PM
Or we could let the farmers be unable to break even on their crops and products, and when the market changes we won't have any more of that item because too many people that use to grow/raise it went under and lost their jobs when the market was worse.

DaveRaver
07-09-2006, 08:59 PM
I always heard it was Velveeta.

Musicat
07-09-2006, 09:03 PM
Or we could let the farmers be unable to break even on their crops and products, and when the market changes we won't have any more of that item because too many people that use to grow/raise it went under and lost their jobs when the market was worse.Just like most other non-food commodities. Sounds good to me. It's pretty much the way the market works, and I see no shortage of DVD players, paper towels, celphones or best-seller novels.

The theory that we will all starve if we don't subsidize farmers went out with the depression.

kunilou
07-09-2006, 09:08 PM
Which really means that the taxpayers are forced to pay the farmers for products that nobody wants to pay for voluntarily.

Wish someone would pay ME to make stuff nobody wants, but I'm not a farmer, so I'll just have to make an honest living instead.

Yup. Just go back and read any good history of the Great Depression when farmers were slaughtering livestock and dumping milk because commodity prices had dropped so low that the farmers couldn't afford to buy feed.

The whole rationale for government subsidies is the idea that some industries are so essential that it makes more sense for a government to support them than to let them disappear.

In 1924 (before subsidies) milk sold for $0.138 per quart (http://historicaltextarchive.com/sections.php?op=viewarticle&artid=418). By 2002 all those subsidies pushed the price up to $1.49 per quart.

If you'd like to discuss the concept of taxpayer subsidies further, feel free to in Great Debates.

Musicat
07-09-2006, 09:28 PM
If you'd like to discuss the concept of taxpayer subsidies further, feel free to in Great Debates.Feel free to start a thread.

Broomstick
07-09-2006, 09:39 PM
Back to the OP --

The gub'mint cheese was authentic American cheese which, as mentioned, is a mild cheddar sort of thing with a better texture than the ABOMINATIONS called "Kraft Singles Pasturized Process Cheese Food" and its cousins. Which is why it (usually) tasted better - because it's real cheese, not imitation.

("Cheese food?" :confused: It's kibble you feed to your pet cheese????)

Ah, memories... at the time I was so poor that when occassionally receiving a brick starting to mold I'd just scrape the mold off and eat the rest.....

07-09-2006, 09:55 PM
I always heard it was Velveeta.Absolutly NOT!

It was real cheese, made from real dairy milk. Not a "cheese food product" like Velveeta. (That was the point of the program -- to use up the surplus milk production in our country.)

And that's why people remember it fondly -- it tasted much better than the cheap 'cheese product' people use today for mac'n'cheese or grilled cheese sandwiches. I certainly remember it tasting better.

Rysdad
07-09-2006, 10:49 PM
Back in the day I shared a house with a family that got government cheese. I loved that stuff.

I wonder if the government could sell it? I'd buy some.

samclem
07-09-2006, 11:08 PM
sampiro . I apologize if I'm wrong, but I think the thread has been answered, although you may need to search for the few posts that were directed to your OP.

Starting with Khadaji, would people please try to not hijack threads? Mmmkay?

Closed.

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