Government cheese


So it’s real cheese. (Cite. Real cheese, an emulsifier, and up to 5% by weight of fat content milk or cream.) It’s actually pretty good. Back in the '80s the old lady across the street used to us her government cheese. I can and do buy American cheese at Cash & Carry that is pretty good. But I wish I could get some government cheese for comparison.

Quick! We have to properly ID the product or there will be…trouble:

Gummint cheese[sup]TM[/sup]

I remember having that back in the day and it wasn’t half bad. Tasted close to Velveeta, made a fairly good grilled cheese sammich.

That would be the thing TPTB got right.

Jesus, I remember my mother getting Government Cheese near Cleveland in the 1980s.

I said “Are you serious? You’re a lifelong small-businessman-style Republican, like your parents before you. You made Dad stop being a New Deal Democrat and a Catholic when you married him in 1944. You hated Roosevelt. You liked Nixon”

She was like, “Yeah, but free cheese.”

I swear I (think I) had some government cheese about 10 years ago in one of my children’s elementary school cafeterias. If it wasn’t real ‘government cheese’ it was almost exactly the same thing. There was something distinctive about that cheese- it was firmer and tastier that Velveeta (like that would be hard to do-LOL!), but too smooth to be a real (cheddar?) or non-processed cheese. The day I had lunch at the school, I also had a small plastic tub of peaches. The peaches seemed a bit like canned peaches, lightly cooked and in a light syrup, and were served in a small, sealed, square plastic tub. To open the package, one would peel the top piece of plastic off - similar to a prepacked serving of jello or pudding. I think the peaches had been frozen, too. They were very surprisingly good!

I recall having government cheese regularly as child is southern Louisiana at Granny’s house and was quite fond of it.

Of course it’s real. I remember the embarrassment of having to line up for it when I was in the military, since anything to augment my crappy salary was welcome. That said, it was a perfectly decent American cheese. I remember when I moved up in the world to pre-sliced bricks of American. I never stooped to those horrible individually wrapped abominations, however, so I kept at least a modicum of pride. :slight_smile:

My brother was on and off food assistance for some time. I seem to recall him having some government cheese. I think it was pretty good.

Whenever I hear “government cheese”, I immediately think of Matt Foley. You’re not going to amount to jack squat!

I have fond memories of government cheese, and also government butter, which was the only time we had real butter when I was a child.

Government cheese was a significant part of my diet through my college years.

I remember grabbing some government cheese back then to augment my meager student subsistence. Not bad at all. I quickly moved beyond it, but it was there when I needed it and it made pretty damn good grilled cheese sandwiches. Day-old bread, too. You don’t see many of those stores around any more, either.

My grandma got government cheese sometime in the 70s. At the time, it was a lot like Velveeta. I wonder if it has changed over the years. It was edible, unlike the government crackers, which were really bad–they were sweet and possibly stale. I would eat pretty much anything when I was younger, so you know it was bad if I didn’t want to eat it. My dad and grandma ate lots of disgusting things, so the less said about all that, the better.

I never ate any of it but I did deliver 920,000 pounds (23 trailer loads) of it to distribution centers as well as 160,000 pounds of butter. At first it went right to community centers,churches and schools for immediate distribution to the people. That plan was a three ring circus presided over by Mel Brooks wanna bes.
You’d pull up with 70 feet of truck and be expected to put it some place that was never ment to have something that big anywhere near it. There would be a couple hundred people already there waiting. Usually you would have to have vehicles moved so you could get in without running them over.
Then there was no dock to back up to. No forklift or palletjack. And the people in charge expected you, after driving overnight to get there, to unload. 20 pallets with 50 40 pound cases in a 48 foot trailer with a couple hundred very impatient people that want their 5 pound block of cheese NOW!!!
And when you got to the truck stop after you unloaded there was already some guy there with the trunk of his car full of the cheese that just came off your truck selling it in the parking lot because he just traded crack to get it from some of the people that had been waiting when you got to the church parking lot a few hours ago.


After the first few weeks someone was able to convince the goober mint to spend a little more to have it go to actual warehouse distribution centers and it got a little better. A little.

We had government cheese when I was growing up, too. I concur that it was great for grilled cheese sandwiches. When we got it, it was always distributed at church, not at a warehouse.

Day-old bread is mostly found at churches even still. You can get some pretty good bread that way, too, if you’re willing to slice it yourself (anything pre-sliced is always the first to go).

My wife got some government cheese from her aunt in the 80s. It was a good quality American cheese.

We ate it in the 80s when I was a kid. Sometimes I loved it, sometimes it was too “strong” for me. I think Kraft Deluxe Singles tastes a lot like it.

There was government cheese well before the 80s. My mom and I were on welfare in the late 60s and we received powdered milk and five pound blocks of cheese as part of the program. It had a strong cheddar taste which I didn’t like as a kid, and texturally didn’t seem anywhere near as processed as american cheese. Came wrapped in plastic inside a cardboard box. I don’t know how different, if at all, it was from the 80s stuff. We also had to hide our small black and white TV during the social worker’s visits, as we weren’t allowed to have such things while being parasitic leeches on society.

Now I am wondering if my memory fails me. I remember gubment cheese as being the “good stuff”…basically a big assed block of cheddar or at least cheddar like.

Others are describing it more like high class Velvetta…not that there is anything wrong with that.

My memory jibes more with your description. I didn’t like it then, because I didn’t like cheddar then.

As someone who ate it for years…

There was some variability. It really was Processed American Cheese, which is real cheese, and doesn’t dwell in the cheddar taste family. Velvetta is “cheese product” or “cheese food” with artificial mild cheddar flavor. It’s not real cheese but rather a “cheese product”. However, it’s not much of a mystery why there is some similarity.

That said, some blocks were denser than others, some more strongly flavored than others, and one time (just once) I got a moldly one.

There was also govt mayonnaise and some other things if I recall. But I definitely remember govt cheese, it was certainly much better than that diluted oil cheese commonly sold today.

I go over this at least a couple times a year.

There is “process cheese”. That’s real cheese. Usually sold under a descriptor like “deluxe”. So, for example, Kraft Deluxe Deli or some variant.

Then there are the cheaper “singles” that are individually slices. They have to wrapped, because if they weren’t they’d all melt together. That is not real cheese. It’s “cheese product” or “cheese food”. Yes, it’s crappier than process. cheese.

In addition to the 5 lb blocks of cheese I remember also getting a pound of butter, 5 pounds of flour (you could have gotten cornmeal as an alternative), a box of powdered milk, and then odd bits, like cans of food marked “salvage” and the like.