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geniph Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 02:55 PM
Original message
Who else remembers the government surplus food programs?
Edited on Fri Feb-11-05 02:57 PM by geniph
(This was brought to my mind by the thread on the proposed cuts in the food stamp programs.)

For those who don't remember this, it was a program wherein those who qualified could go to a food distribution center and receive food products such as milk, cheese, potatoes, apples, flour, etc., that had been identified as agricultural surplus - i.e., the farmers produced more than they could sell for a reasonable profit. The government paid a fair price to the farmers, took the surplus off their hands, and distributed the food to the needy.

The program was a win-win for the farmers, the government, and especially the needy, who got fresh, wholesome foods free of charge or at a very nominal charge (ours were usually free). However, the large supermarket chains and the big food companies like General Mills, Kraft, et al., took a look at that and said, "hey, we want a cut!"

Over the course of several decades, the government surplus food programs got gradually switched over to food stamps. The propaganda that was used was that it was "undignified" and "humiliating" for poor folks to have to stand in lines for the surplus food, and food stamps would "restore their dignity."

The net result was that poor folks ended up getting less food for their benefit, because it's easier to buy prepackaged, prepared foods than to buy fresh foods - and it's generally cheaper, too. So the diets of those on public benefits declined in quality. Farmers no longer had an outlet for their surplus produce, which now rotted in the fields or had to be sold for a loss. The government had to spend a great deal of money administering the food stamp program. But the big food companies and supermarket chains were happy - their profits were up, as they sold soda, chips, and candy bars to the needy.

Oh, and the dignity of the poor? What, precisely, is less humiliating about using food stamps? Everyone can see that you're using them, and everyone then feels entitled to critique your food choices.
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davidinalameda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 02:57 PM
Response to Original message
1. the cheese rocked
my grandmother would give us some of hers
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geniph Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 02:58 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. I almost put that in my post
everybody liked the G. cheese!
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NewInNewJ. Donating Member (540 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 02:58 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. I remember it also.
and the cheese did rock!
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AllegroRondo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 02:59 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Made the BEST grilled cheese sandwiches
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htuttle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:00 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. Here in Wisconsin, we got cheese AND real butter
Big old blocks of it.

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notadmblnd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:05 PM
Response to Reply #1
10. The canned beef was good for BBQ too
members of my family were recieving this food as late as the late 70's. I was talking about this on one of the Micheal Moore threads this morning.
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bullimiami Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:09 PM
Response to Reply #1
13. you guys beat me to it too. govt cheese mmmmmmm.
Edited on Fri Feb-11-05 03:11 PM by bullimiami
a friend used to get blocks of govt cheese from his dad. it makes the greatest grilled cheese sandwiches ever. we called them "cheesers".
a good deal for us poor college students in the 70s.
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Nikia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:44 PM
Response to Reply #1
25. Process government cheese must meet high quality standards
Unlike normal processed chesse production, the USDA inspector is there the entire time and inspects the cheese going into the product. Several different finished loaves are also tested after each run. The result is that government cheese is above average compared to other brands.
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burn the bush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 04:22 PM
Response to Reply #1
42. lol I had this conversation with someone about a month ago
about remember the government cheese? Yeah, that was some good chesse wasn't it? Thats too funny.
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AuntiBush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 04:23 PM
Response to Reply #1
44. Same here!
Thought it was just our cheese. An elderly neighbor insisted I try some, remembering how good it was. :9

And with response to your question, I honstly don't know what happened to that surplus... maybe the same thing that happened to our SSI surplus.

:crazy:
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BlackVelvetElvis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 05:12 PM
Response to Reply #1
49. That cheese was good.
That takes me back. My great aunt always liked to give me something when I visited. It could be a dollar or a brick of that cheese. I miss her.
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CottonBear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:02 PM
Response to Original message
6. Govt. Cheese.
Sounds like a good band name.
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geniph Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:04 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. They'd come right before Gov't Mule in the alphabet
and Gov't Mule is a great band! Good name, too. :-)
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CottonBear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:24 PM
Response to Reply #9
21. They are a good band.
The bass player, Dave Schools, is from the city where I live.
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LeftyMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 04:15 PM
Response to Reply #6
37. Too late, somebody beat you to it.
Some band by that name opened for Bad Company at a show LeftyDad saw in Tennesee in '91.
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MARALE Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:03 PM
Response to Original message
7. Exactly about the humiliation part
I was on welfare for a while and went to one of these places to get some food. I was in the middle of a divorce and my husband had stolen my food stamps. I did not care about being humiliated and the rest of the people there were in situations just like me, so it was even better. People who cut down welfare as for lazy people, there are very few. Most are moms getting out of a bad situation and are not on it for long. I was lucky that the programs did not get cut and they were trying to help people on welfare instead of focusing on how to kick people off of it. There is a big difference!
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SmokingJacket Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:04 PM
Response to Original message
8. It wasn't that long ago.
And food stamps have been around for a very long time. My parents got them in the seventies, when they got tired of shooting rabbits for dinner.

I remember the cheese and peanut butter line at the school when I was teaching, round about 1992.

And shortly before that, lots of my friends had those big old blocks of government cheese. Good thing they didn't go bad... because they took a while to eat.

Now foodstamps come in card form. It's hard to distinguish who's using a food card and who's using a credit card, now.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:06 PM
Response to Original message
11. In Ky, on commodity day...
Edited on Fri Feb-11-05 03:30 PM by kentuck
We got cheese, rice, yellow corn meal, flour, butter, powdered milk, peanut butter in cans, and beef and gravy in 2-lb cans... It tasted pretty good when you didn't have anything else. My Mom was a magician. She would take the powdered milk which nobody cared for and she would mix a gallon with a quart of store-bought buttermilk and make a gallon of really tasty buttermilk, which was much better than the original powdered milk. It was like she made water into wine. :)

(edited to add the peanut butter)
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KissMeKate Donating Member (741 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:19 PM
Response to Reply #11
18. yeah if you mix powdered milk with regular milk and let it sit for 24 hour
24 hours in the fridge it will taste the same- its because of the bacterial action in the milk. Half and half.

I keep powdered milk around for mashed potatoes, gravies, sauces, etc and when we run out of fresh and are too lazy to go to the store and buy it because we wanted to make a cake or something, lol.

Theres a book called the Frugal Almanac that has tips like this.

I admire those homemakers who quietly were heros to their families with their skills- they dont get any medals, but lots of kids grew up grateful for them.
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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:19 PM
Response to Reply #11
19. During the year long steel strike Mom would be given that awful powder
Edited on Fri Feb-11-05 03:20 PM by papau
milk- and she would combine wit ith real milk !

Now we have to pay extra for 1% fat milk!
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Richard Steele Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:07 PM
Original message
Everyone loved that cheese!
We qualified for a few months when my dad was laid off once...we were all pissed to discover that we couldn't BUY that cheese anywhere!

Best...GrilledCheeseSandwich...Ever!

And yes, the program got shot in the back because corporations weren't getting a cut.
So now, instead of GIVING food to people, we give them vouchers to BUY it from some corporation, at retail prices, generating PROFIT for the business.

ALL welfare is 'corporate welfare' these days, it just varies by degree of profit margin.
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geniph Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:50 PM
Response to Original message
28. Exactly, dicksteele,
the big difference for the needy is the difference between getting the food wholesale, via the distribution programs, and having to pay retail with food stamps. You get a whole hell of a lot less value for your benefit. I forgot to put that in my original post, so thanks for reminding me.
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SmokingJacket Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 04:00 PM
Response to Reply #28
34. Good point.
If gov't is going to pay for food... might as well cut out the middleman.
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Modem Butterfly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:07 PM
Response to Original message
12. My hometown was hit hard by the Reagan recession
Most kids I knew got government surplus, and everybody knew when and where. The cheese was, in fact, quite tasty.
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KissMeKate Donating Member (741 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:10 PM
Response to Original message
14. mmmmm, government cheese
lol I remember government peanut butter, my mom put it on toast in the morning for breakfast. I still eat it that way every once in a while (er, except now its jif or some other kind.)

These programs started because when they started physicals to test young men drafted to fight in world war two, they realised there were ALOT of stunted, malnourished guys out there (who had grown up during the depression) so they thought, hm, lets subsidise the farmers and at the same time help out our future soldiers!

And school lunches and surplus food programs were born.
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catmandu57 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:15 PM
Response to Original message
15. They still give out commodities
The program has been cut to the bone, but once a month here at the senior center they pass out government food bags, some cheese, canned vegatables, pasta, dried milk is mostly what they give.
My father in new mexico gets the same thing, I'm not sure how one goes about getting on the program though.
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ET Awful Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:15 PM
Response to Original message
16.  The cheese was great :)
Edited on Fri Feb-11-05 03:16 PM by ET Awful
It wasn't that usable as just plain cheese (too hard to slice and kind of sticky), but it melted real nice. Made great nachos and great grilled cheese! It was totally worthless if you needed to grate it for anything though, too soft and sticky.
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shraby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:23 PM
Response to Reply #16
20. Schools used to get surplus for their school
lunch programs too, which made great affordable lunches for kids. Our cook whipped up some pretty good lunches with surplus.
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Red State Rebel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 04:22 PM
Response to Reply #20
41. Raisins in everything at school!!
I remember the schools getting surplus raisins and you saw them in everything! You would see pudding on the menu and think "great" what it ended up being was a little paper cup with 2 inches of raisins and a 1/2" of pudding spread over the top :)
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independentpiney Donating Member (966 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-05 11:58 AM
Response to Reply #41
106. OMG the raisins!
I remember that now. The pudding, carrots and raisins.. you're right, they were in everything.
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Red State Rebel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-05 08:24 PM
Response to Reply #106
108. We swore we could even see them in the hamburgers! n/t
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rox63 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:16 PM
Response to Original message
17. We got surplus food when I was a kid
Yes, the cheese rocked. We also got butter, rice, peanut butter, canned meat, powdered milk. It really helped when my dad was out of work. The cheese made the best grilled cheese sandwiches, and it also made kickin' macaroni and cheese.
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ultraist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:56 PM
Response to Reply #17
32. Those food surplus programs were post food stamps
Edited on Fri Feb-11-05 03:57 PM by ultraist
The first food stamp program started in 1943 by Henry Wallace, a Democrat and a farmer.

Pilot programs followed under President Kennedy and by 1964 the food stamp program was enacted by President Johnson.

Spin off food subsidy programs came later.
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More Than A Feeling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:35 PM
Response to Original message
22. The only thing I know about government cheese...
is that you eat it while living in a van down by the river! :shrug:
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geniph Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:57 PM
Response to Reply #22
33. There were a lot of us
whose parents were both working, who rented cheap houses, and got government surplus produce because we were still below the poverty line.

A lot of us have come out of the woodwork on this thread. I had wondered if anyone else remembered these programs. Comparing the two head-to-head, I can unequivocally say that, of the two, I FAR preferred the commodities distribution to food stamps.

(And I haven't qualified for either in 40 years.)
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ultraist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 07:08 PM
Response to Reply #22
63. huh? Are you attempting to be funny because it's not working
That's great that you never had to eat gov cheese. Good for you. You must be really "blessed by the Lord."

Love your bible quote on your sig line
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More Than A Feeling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 08:10 PM
Response to Reply #63
70. You are right. My most sincere apologies. Forgive me?
Edited on Fri Feb-11-05 08:11 PM by Heaven and Earth
How insensitive of me. Naturally, apologies all around for anyone else who was offended. I'm sorry.
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KissMeKate Donating Member (741 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 10:11 PM
Response to Reply #70
79. oh I thought that was some song lyric! lol eom
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Chef Donating Member (453 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:41 PM
Response to Original message
23. Nice Theory
But, believe it or not, George McGovern and Bob Dole (two farm state senators)were instrumental in getting the Food Stamp Program started. First, the stamps allow for more variety in the diet. You must admit the commodities were a little heavy on the carbs. There was quite a bit of theft of the commodities, especially the butter. Today, the physical stamps have just about been eliminated by electronic benefits transfer cards which are a debit card, so stigma problems are reduced. Finally, while the cheese was tasty, if you knew how it was processed, you might not be so fond of it. It is stored in large blocks in limestone quarry caves. Every so many years, it is brought out of storage and "reprocessed". Melted down, formed back into blocks and restored. When some is needed (like for prisons or schools) it is processed into family sized blocks. Since a few agricultural industrial firms (ADM and CONAGRA) control the food supply, it far more lucrative to ship food out of the country so there is no surplus to "rot in the fields".
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ultraist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:49 PM
Response to Reply #23
26. Food stamp program history
Edited on Fri Feb-11-05 03:58 PM by ultraist
excerpts:

http://www.fns.usda.gov/fsp/rules/Legislation/history.h...

The First Food Stamp Program (FSP) - May 16, 1939-Spring 1943

The idea for the first FSP has been credited to various people, most notably Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace and the program's first Administrator Milo Perkins. The program operated by permitting people on relief to buy orange stamps equal to their normal food expenditures; for every $1 worth of orange stamps purchased, 50 cents worth of blue stamps were received. Orange stamps could be used to buy any food; blue stamps could only be used to buy food determined by the Department to be surplus.

Pilot Food Stamp Program - May 29, 1961-1964

President Kennedy's first Executive Order called for expanded food distribution and, on Feb. 2, 1961, he announced that food stamp pilot programs would be initiated.

Food Stamp Act of 1964 - August 31, 1964

On Jan. 31, 1964, President Johnson requested Congress to pass legislation making the FSP permanent. Secretary Orville Freeman submitted proposed legislation to establish a permanent FSP on April 17, 1964

WALLACE, Henry Agard, a Vice President of the United States; born on a farm near Orient, Adair County, Iowa, October 7, 1888; attended the public schools; graduated from Iowa State College at Ames in 1910; served on the editorial staff of Wallaces Farmer, Des Moines, Iowa, 1910-1924 and was editor 1924-1929; experimented with breeding high-yielding strains of corn 1913-1933; in 1915 devised the first corn-hog ratio charts indicating probable course of markets; author of many publications on agriculture; appointed Secretary of Agriculture in the Cabinet of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933 and served until September 1940, when he resigned, having been nominated for Vice President; elected in November 1940 as Vice President of the United States on the Democratic ticket with President Franklin D. Roosevelt and was inaugurated January 20, 1941, for the term ending January 20, 1945; unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1944; appointed Secretary of Commerce and served from March 1945 to September 1946; unsuccessful Progressive candidate for election as President of the United States in 1948; resumed his farming interests

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KissMeKate Donating Member (741 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:50 PM
Response to Reply #23
27. cheese stored for years in caves and then melted down and "reprocessed"?
can you give me information about where I can find that information please?

I agree, whatever the program, it always profited Archer Daniels Midland and Conagra somehow.
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geniph Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:54 PM
Response to Reply #23
30. You're going to have a hard time convincing me
Edited on Fri Feb-11-05 04:17 PM by geniph
that poor folks are better off paying retail via food stamps than getting their benefits wholesale via the commodities distribution programs.

The farmers initially supported the program - they thought they'd be getting more money for their surplus produce. That, in fact, turned out to be true for the large firms you mention - Conagra, especially - but it most certainly was NOT the case for the small truck farmers. (My dad was one of those small farmers who did better when the government bought the excess.)

Everyone was sold a bill of goods on the food stamp idea, but adding for-profit middlemen in the cycle benefited only the middlemen.
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ultraist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 04:23 PM
Response to Reply #30
43. There are very few small farmers these days
Most farms are big corporate agribusinesses.

Was produce provided under those programs? Who can live off of just cheese and milk?

It's my understanding that those who could not qualify for food stamps, because their income was over the limit, could still qualify for these subsidy programs.

Regardless, farm subsidy programs pretty much did away with these. It was not the food stamp program that brought these later programs to an end.
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SmokingJacket Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 04:03 PM
Response to Reply #23
35. Storing cheese in caves is not a bad idea though...
I believe that is how roquefort is made.

(but I get your point! :) )
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KissMeKate Donating Member (741 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 04:16 PM
Response to Reply #35
38. mmmm stinky cheese. lol
eom
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DemBones DemBones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 07:44 PM
Response to Reply #35
68. My thoughts exactly -- yum, bleu cheese!

:9
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Jack_DeLeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 11:36 PM
Response to Reply #35
96. If there is ever a nuclear war...
and I'm a survivor I'll definately try to find one of these caves.
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Jack_DeLeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 11:33 PM
Response to Reply #23
95. So why would that make me think any less of the cheese?
Yeah my family too got a few blocks of cheese back in the day because my great grandmother was getting it.

Sounds to me like all that cooking, and melting, and whatnot would just mean that the cheese is extra cooked without any bad stuff growning in it.

Also why should I care how something is made as long as it tastes good. I obviously know chickens and cows die horrible deaths and whatnot, that doesnt mean I'm all of a sudden not going to like the way they taste.

BTW do you know where these mythical cheese storage caves are. It might be useful information to have if its ever "the end of the world as we know it."
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Chef Donating Member (453 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-05 02:13 AM
Response to Reply #95
102. Caves
The "mythical" USDA storage facilities I am aware of are mostly in Missouri in the Kansas City area along the Missouri River. The "caves" are actually former limestone quarries which have been converted to many uses. You can drive a truck into them. The constant temperature on the 50s make them ideal for storage.
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4_TN_TITANS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:42 PM
Response to Original message
24. You'd never hear Freepers
extolling commodities.... Maybe it was because we were just grateful or maybe it was that good, but the cheese and the peanut butter kicked....
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KissMeKate Donating Member (741 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:52 PM
Response to Reply #24
29. freepers think anyone who isnt a millionaire is inherantly bad.
eom
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trackfan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:54 PM
Response to Original message
31. I think I first started to like cheese when we got those blocks!
Before that, I wouldn't eat it.
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davsand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 04:11 PM
Response to Original message
36. BEST* Cheese* EVER!!!!
Lord but we ate a lot of that cheese. Mac and Cheese and Grilled Cheese were regulars for us.

We ate a fair amount of the peanut butter too. (If you mixed in a jar of honey that was the BEST peanut butter known to man--you didn't need jelly with that!) There were quite few times I chose that peanut butter for lunch instead of the school lunch...


Laura
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geniph Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 04:17 PM
Response to Original message
39. By the way, the next time I hear someone going off about liberal elitism
I'll remember this thread. Liberal elitists, my left butt cheek. Look how many of us were hard up enough as kids, or as adults ourselves, to be the recipients of this program. As the youngest of 13, I can assure you my family wasn't just scamming the system, and I'll bet neither was anyone else here.

Obviously, despite freeper stereotypes, all liberals aren't upper-middle-class or wealthy urbanites.
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KissMeKate Donating Member (741 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 04:20 PM
Response to Reply #39
40. didnt you know limosine liberals LOVE eating govt cheese with caviar?
Why, thats how I eat it! I also melt it and put it in my canapes when I have my daily mint julep!
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Nikia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 04:56 PM
Response to Reply #40
47. Actually some rich people do eat it with caviar
It is just called by some other brand name. Like I said, the USDA assures that it is good quality stuff.
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ultraist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 04:29 PM
Response to Reply #39
45. Majority of upper middle and upper voted Bush
Kerry got the majority of poor, lower and middle income. This is a long term trend. If the freepers are saying something other than this, they are ill informed. There is a lot of data to back this up.

This is not to say though, that there are NO upper mid and upper income Democrats. And we know there are some very wealthy Democrats.

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KissMeKate Donating Member (741 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 05:29 PM
Response to Reply #45
52. that was me being sarcastic :)
I dont even know any rich democrats- I think Con jobs make them up.
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ultraist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 06:35 PM
Response to Reply #52
60. I know, I was responding to the first liberal elite remark, lol
I do know many upper middle class and a few upper class liberals though! We also have some very wealthy Democrats in our state and I don't mean the elected ones! LOL!

Sad thing is, I don't know of any poor elected Democrats on a national level. Is there such a thing? Maybe Kunicich.
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LosinIt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 04:53 PM
Response to Original message
46. Ronald Reagan Cheese Rocked!!
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HippieCowgirl Donating Member (242 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 05:07 PM
Response to Original message
48. One more for the Government Cheese
I can't remember which comedian said it, but it was hilarious, because I lived it. "We were so poor, we thought 'Government Surplus' was a brand name."

I pay my taxes glady, and throw my support behind welfare programs. The taxpayers of the 70's and 80's kept me from being cold, hungry and homeless while I was growing up. It's now my turn to keep someone else fed, clothed, and hopefully, housed.
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cmd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 05:14 PM
Response to Original message
50. I was a commodity kid
Dad was out of work for quite a while in the 50's. The commodities kept us out of bankruptcy.
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cmf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 05:17 PM
Response to Original message
51. Government cheese rocked
We'd have that at school and at my grandmother's house. I always wondered why my mother would always get the inferior Kraft singles instead. 20+ years later I still crave grilled sandwiches made with government cheese.
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KissMeKate Donating Member (741 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 05:30 PM
Response to Reply #51
53. clearly we need to bring government cheese to the market!
whos with me?
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Nikia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 07:52 PM
Response to Reply #53
69. It is already on the market
At least one incarnation of it is sold at delis under the brand name (sorry I can't actually tell you) and is sold for $5.99/pound.
The government has high quality standards so plants often use the same formulation for it as they do other products.
Plants with government contracts are kept secret, of course, but I believe that they are usually given to smaller companies. If you want to find cheese similiar or the same as government cheese, try out different brands.
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yella_dawg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 05:39 PM
Response to Original message
54. I had a neighbor getting commodities last year.
including fresh meat. She dropped off a leg of lamb at the house because she didn't like lamb. (So why did she take it? She's weird anyway.) She was bagging all kinds of goodies. Don't know if the cheese was still around.



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GetTheRightVote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 05:48 PM
Response to Original message
55. I remember and I am not even that old, the surplus were great
Edited on Fri Feb-11-05 05:49 PM by GetTheRightVote
and help my family out of proverty, put food on our table but helped the farmers as well. All involved were helped.

:kick:
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bread_and_roses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 05:53 PM
Response to Original message
56. Why should "the poor" not have control over what they eat?
We, too, ate surplus. And I remember the Steel Strike too. The cheese was good; in fact, most of the food was good. And my mother could make good meals from it. However, my mother was at home until her youngest went to school. Meals from commodities take a lot of time to prepare. The working people on Food Stamps don't have time for that sort of preparation. And the very poor, who are not working, sometimes do not have the equipment, storage, and supplemental ingredients required to make good meals from basic food items.

But that is not the point. The point is that just because someone is poor it does not follow that s/he should have his/her food choices dictated. Such a position can only follow from the premise that poverty is always an individual failing, and as such deserves the punishment of limited rights. In reality, most poverty is structural and built into our system - that's why we have artificially low government poverty thresholds and why we never talk about Capitalism's need for a disposable labor force, or our need as a society for low-skill jobs.

We don't have to have the kind of poverty that requires government distribution of food. We choose to have that kind of poverty. And most of the problems of "the poor" would be remedied by some more money.

We are rich. We just choose Corporate welfare and bombers over basic needs for our citizens. There is no reason at all we can't have a guaranteed national income that would eliminate the need for Food Stamps altogether.

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geniph Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 06:25 PM
Response to Reply #56
58. Of course the poor should have choice, just like anyone
Edited on Fri Feb-11-05 06:41 PM by geniph
however, those of us that received the surplus food remember it fondly for a reason; it stood between us and actual hunger. Of course it'd be better if we had more equitable distribution of assets and no one went hungry, but my main beef with food stamps is the concept of paying retail rather than wholesale.

By the way, the government surplus was never all - or even most - of our food. It was a supplement, and a very welcome one.

Your point about the very poor not having the equipment and storage to prepare meals from the food is a good one; Barbara Ehrenreich points that out in Nickel and Dimed, that all those invisible poor living in crappy motels have no cooking or storage facilities at all. For them, packaged foods are the only real option. But I remember quite a lot of the commodity food being things like cheese and peanut butter that required minimal prep. My mother always worked full time or more, so she did only the most basic cooking.

The real question is whether we, as a society, support those who have fallen on misfortune, and to what level. Some think we should provide no support at all if we provide anything less than a middle-class lifestyle, that to do less somehow will damage people's dignity. I think we owe people some kind of housing and enough nutritious food to keep body and soul together, but there are those who will oppose a tent city because it's not permanent housing, so the poor continue to live in cardboard boxes.

And others, who shall not be named here (it's like He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, naming them invokes their presence) think the poor are there through some kind of character fault, and should be provided no assistance at all. To those people, I can only say, I hope for your sake you are never there yourself.
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mermaid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 06:12 PM
Response to Original message
57. The Dignity Of The Poor??
Oh, I love it...that's rich!! (pardon the pun.)

I heard about a lady once, who paid for her groceries with Food Stamps...and some asshole guy behind her in line looked at her with scorn and said, loud enough for everyone to hear, "You're welcome!"

The lady said, "Welcome for what?" The guy, still in a loud voice, "Don't you know to say thank you when someone ELSE pays for your food?"

Just absolutely a vicious, hateful, disgusting man who would do that. But I'd sure like to see that guy try it on me...I'd have an answer for him...

I'd give him a cold stare, and in a chilling voice, also loud enough for everyone to hear, I would say, "Thank you, sir. Thank you for showing me what Christian charity is all about! You, sir, are a fine Christian gentleman...so fine that you resent helping your fellows in need - I just BET you voted Republican, too...didn't you?"

And then take my groceries and walk off.
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hatredisnotavalue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 07:06 PM
Response to Reply #57
62. A story I think you might find insightful
The custodian at my kid's HS had a bumper sticker on his truck that read: "Work harder, millions on welfare are depending on you".

He was diagnosed with cancer a year ago. My daughter and her blue grass band held a benefit to raise money for his medical expenses.

A week later, the custodian didn't have that bumper sticker on his truck any longer. Take from this story what you will.... :)
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KissMeKate Donating Member (741 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 10:02 PM
Response to Reply #57
75. I would be tempted to reply
ah well thanks! I usually sell my food stamps for booze but I found a steady john so now I can buy twinkies with my food stamps instead! thanks for the twinkies!
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Betsy Ross Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 06:32 PM
Response to Original message
59. commodities
white beans
white rice
white corn meal mush
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hatredisnotavalue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 06:52 PM
Response to Original message
61. ME! What a blast from the past!
My mother was too embarrassed to go pick up our monthly allotment at the Town Garage next to the dump so I took a taxi and got it. This was when I was in seventh grade. Also learned to cook at that age. Chicken in a thick cheese sauce with rice, shepherd's pie with the canned beef. and instant mashed potatoes..absolutely great food...I think there was a cake or brownie mix, I can't remember. But I do remember powdered eggs..Lots of that cheese brick went into those.

I agree, we definitely ate more healthier than what I see in food stamps recepients grocery carts this day. .But there is a program where people go to people's homes and educate them on what to buy for the month and how to stretch their food stamp dollars, which I think is wonderful. ie. My friend teaches them how to make homemade pancake batter, compared to the prepared. I honestly did not know that something like that existed. And I have been making pancakes every Saturday morning for 35 years. I also did not know that grocery stores sold frozen ones.
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ultraist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 07:25 PM
Response to Reply #61
64. LMAO!!! You went to pick it up? LOL
Those surplus programs started off well but later, subsidy money was given directly to farmers and the gov bought up less of the surplus food. It was and still is a big welfare program. Guess who really benefits from it now? The top 1% of farmers who received an average of $616,000 each.

Bush just cut some of those farm subsidies and I'm sure those RED agribusiness owners/voters are not pleased.

http://www.mindfully.org/Farm/Growers-Farm-Fed-Funds.ht...
Over the last four years, the top 1 percent of farmers in this county -- about 15 farmers -- received an average of $616,000 each from the government. The top 10 percent -- about 150 farmers -- were paid an average of $308,000 per farmer over the last four years. These numbers do not include the record payout for the year 2000.

"It has created some huge dependencies, no doubt about it," said Wiley Good, a Chouteau County grain farmer and businessman. "It's easy to say, 'All this cash is out there, now what can I do to farm the government.' " Good has a comfortable life in a big house, travels to Europe on long vacations and derives most of his farm income from various government programs.

He shrugs at the fact that the free enterprise system has virtually disappeared from the farm economy of Montana, the nation's No. 2 farm state by amount of acreage. "It'd be nice to go to the local grain elevator and sell your stuff for a price close to what it cost you to produce it," Good said. "But it's just not in the cards."

Though the aid programs go against their market-oriented philosophy, Republicans have been reluctant to criticize the swelling farm aid programs because a majority of the money has been sent to states that traditionally send Republicans to Congress . The farm aid map is less favorable for Democrats.

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KissMeKate Donating Member (741 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 10:05 PM
Response to Reply #64
76. thats a great website, ultraist! eom
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sarahlee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 07:27 PM
Response to Original message
65. Here on the reservation
they still get "commodities." You have the choice of commods or food stamps. In recent years, some fresh veggies have been added to the commodities program to counter some of the high salt content of the canned goods and the high incidense of diabetes. Still get the big blocks of cheese.
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DawgHouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 07:35 PM
Response to Original message
66. Yummy Mac and Govt Cheese
Oh, those were the days!
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orpupilofnature57 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 10:31 PM
Response to Reply #66
83. Govt cheese rules!!!!!!!!!!!
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HeeBGBz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 07:39 PM
Response to Original message
67. We used to get that
Cheese. Pork in a can. Peanut butter.
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DemBones DemBones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 08:15 PM
Response to Original message
71. When I taught in an Appalachian poverty area twenty years ago,

95% or more of the kids were on free lunches and on welfare of some sort but apparently they were ashamed of eating commodity foods because they'd pitch a fit when the lunchroom ladies cooked pinto beans or macaroni and cheese. "I don't want no welfare cheese" was a common remark. These were 6th, 7th, and 8th graders I was teaching.

That was my only experience with government cheese and it was fantastic. I could have eaten that mac and cheese every day for lunch!

My own family went through some hard times financially when I was small but we were a military family so we may not have been eligible for commodities. When I was very small, we had a big garden, chickens, rabbits,and a pecan tree, and we went fishing and crabbing a lot, plus my mom made my clothes out of the feedsacks the rabbit & chicken feed came in. When we got transferred to an urban area, I think we lived in public housing for a time and got Navy Relief.

It seems to me that most families in this country have a hard time making ends meet, and that this goes back generations.
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KissMeKate Donating Member (741 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 10:07 PM
Response to Reply #71
77. wow Dem Bones
your parents were really resourceful.
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DemBones DemBones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 10:30 PM
Response to Reply #77
82. Well, they grew up during the Depression but also

my dad liked to garden and raise animals and my mom liked to cook and sew. Crabbing and fishing was family fun, as was helping in the garden. If they hadn't known how to do those things, it would have been difficult for us. But I think many people lived that way then because I never felt poor. My parents frequently hosted and attended canasta parties so they had a social life of their own, too. People just didn't eat out much back then and movies were a rare treat. TV didn't exist yet. But I don't think anyone felt deprived. People had more time to visit with their neighbors and that was a good thing. It was a great time for kids.
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KissMeKate Donating Member (741 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 11:07 PM
Response to Reply #82
88. I dont mean to romanticise it,
but it almost sounds like the good life.
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DemBones DemBones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-05 09:39 AM
Response to Reply #88
104. Those were the best years of my childhood! But we were never

evicted or otherwise made homeless, my dad always had his job, and medical care was always available through the Navy hospital. We never went without food, either, though that was partly due to our garden and the river. So we didn't suffer as the truly poor do, we just hovered near the edge of poverty. I'm sure my parents worried but they seemed to enjoy life, too.

I remember that getting a new toy was always special, because I'd usually dreamed about it for months in advance, instant gratification being an unknown concept at the time! This actually continued throughout my childhood, long after my dad had been promoted and steak became a regular menu item for weekend breakfasts as well as dinners. Not being caught up in consumerism is always a good thing. :-)
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ultraist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 11:20 PM
Response to Reply #71
90. There is still a LOT of poverty in the Appalachians
What town were you in?

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DemBones DemBones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-05 10:24 AM
Response to Reply #90
105. Yes, there is, and a lot of poor kids drop out before high school.

When I taught high school biology in another town nearby, we shared a cafeteria with the middle school, where I used to see a lot of eighth graders who wore obvious hand-me-downs, had apparently never had a professional haircut or any dental work, in short, kids who looked poor. I noticed that those kids, all of them white, never showed up as high school students. I always thought there should be a program to help poor kids get clothes, haircuts, dental care, because I suspected it was shame over their appearance that made them drop out. A lot of poor white parents would have nothing to do with "welfare," though, beyond free lunches and breakfasts. Black kids often shared clothes with friends and cousins, learned how to cut each other's hair in cosmetology classes, and I'm sure would have welcomed more help in looking stylish, though they already did pretty well on their own. Black kids showed more pride in their appearance and always had clothes that were in style, even if they were cheap clothes. I think it all starts with the parents. Not that all white kids looked like something the cat dragged in, but there was a subset of them whose parents apparently were too proud to get welfare and couldn't afford to buy the kids new clothes, or were too inept to figure out how to get to a discount store where they could afford new clothes. Whatever the cause, they let their kids look ratty, and not stylishly ratty -- these were definitely not kids going for the grunge look.

I taught in three towns in two Appalachian counties of Georgia.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 08:19 PM
Response to Original message
72. Two DIFFERENT programs, very important
Pre-food stamps, government commodites were NOT that of the free cheese type.

I've known people who got food from those places, my husband's family did, and every one of them said they were horrifying. This is PRE food stamps. Awful food, not enough to live on, just horrible. THAT is why we got food stamps.

The government surplus program of the 80's was totally different and that's the free cheese so many people know about. And that's the one that Kraft got in an uproar about.

We DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT want to go back to pre-food stamps govt commmodiites. Icky Icky NO NO
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KissMeKate Donating Member (741 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 10:08 PM
Response to Reply #72
78. its krafts fault!
bastards! they took away my cheese! lol
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ultraist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 11:25 PM
Response to Reply #72
91. Yes, I posted some history info above, you are correct
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ebayfool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-05 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #72
107. I'm dating myself here, you're right - @ 1960 my mama got the commodities
Edited on Sat Feb-12-05 01:30 PM by djmaddox1
you're referring to & they were nasty! Canned meat so fatty it was like chewing rubber, the stuff just wouldn't go down! LOL! Lots of fat & carbs, no veggies to speak of, but we didn't go to bed hungry anymore. That was a shock to our systems in itself. I don't think people are aware, anymore, of how many kids used to be so skinny & malnourished. The government programs that provide food to those that just can't get enough are, IMHO, one of the things this country should be most proud of. My mother worked 2 jobs, waitressing, to try to feed & support 3 little girls. I've been hearing an awful lot of bitching @ food stamps & the like, lately - & it raises my ire to maximum intensity. Do people really think that cutting back on food programs will solve all their complaints @ tax $$ waste? Do they really want to see a generation of children underweight along w/all the illness that comes w/it? Or overweight kids from high calorie/cheap foods that leave them bloated & malnourished but fat? I remember my mom crying every time she watered down ketchup from one of the diners she worked at & called it soup. I never want to see that kind of despair on another mother's face again!

Commodities can be a welcome addition to the desperate, but they were in 'my time' also a place for below standard goods to be dumped. If the poor are to be fed, it shouldn't be w/junk others would gag at eating. Reading this thread seems to be invoking 'comfort food' feelings in alot of people, I think I was must have not been fed by the same program. It's good that it was improved enough to not invoke the same reaction as mine.

So to invoke the wisdom of sandnsea -
We DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT want to go back to pre-food stamps govt commodities. Icky Icky NO NO

edited to add: The working poor are not that way because of laziness, as so often repeated in this country. My mother died from bleeding ulcers at the age of 27. She looked 50. She worked like a dog to feed us. Income is not always commensurate with effort.
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MountainLaurel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 09:25 PM
Response to Original message
73. Indeed
Edited on Fri Feb-11-05 09:33 PM by MountainLaurel
I can remember as a child walking across town with my grandmother to go to the town hall, where she picked up her "commodies" food. A lot of her share ended up in my brother's and my bellies, since we stayed with her before and after school and during summers while my mom worked. (I always had a feeling that the town women responsible for distribution always stuck some extra in gram's bag for that reason). As mentioned, nothing made better grilled cheeses, and I think I eventually got used to powdered milk on my cereal.
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JitterbugPerfume Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 09:48 PM
Response to Reply #73
74. if it hadn't been for gov't commodities
my daughter and her two oldest children would have gone hungry Times are better for them now but I was VERY grateful for that cheese and butter back then I was working barely making ends meet for her younger siblings and there was no way I could help her

That cheese WAS GOOD (but the peanut butter was nasty ) they ate it any way , and was glad to get it
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jdj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 11:02 PM
Response to Reply #74
87. that's what I've heard, even though some here are saying
the p-nut butter was good.

I read a poem once called "Gov't peanut butter", which wasn't really about peanut butter, but in it a little girl feeds it to a stray cat and she says something like "his eyes bulged out and he spit it out and looked up at us like, 'are you serious'". I thought that was funny.

LOL, about 4 or 5 months ago a food train derailed in NC and one of my relatives brought us a great big block of cheese and tons of butter, which we still haven't used yet.
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KissMeKate Donating Member (741 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 11:11 PM
Response to Reply #87
89. well govt peanut butter as I remember didnt have as much sugar as brand
name peanut butter. They puyt tons of sugar in peanut butter nowadays.
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davsand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-13-05 10:19 AM
Response to Reply #74
109. You had to mix in a jar of honey.
Edited on Sun Feb-13-05 10:21 AM by davsand
The peanut butter by itself was low sugar and fairly stiff--but if you had a jar of honey and mixed THAT into the peanut butter it was great. My Mom would put the entire container of peanut butter into a bowl and then put in a jar of honey and mix it with her mixer. It was creamy and sweet and just perfect by the time she got done with it.

My mom was a hero with the kids at school when she taught the lunch cook to do that with the school's peanut butter.

My parents were both depression era kids, and as a result I grew up eating a lot of depression era foods (should read that as cheap) and never realized it. We had a garden and we canned everything. We had fruit trees and berry bushes and strawberry beds. We had home canned beef that is to die for (not at all like the government stuff,) and we even made our own tomato juice and syrups every year.

We knew we didn't have a lot of cash--Dad farmed in the days of the tractor march on DC when farmers were asking for "Parity not Charity"--but we never ate badly. We ate a hell of a lot of game and chicken (It was REALLY cheap then) and beef that was raised by one neighbor or another and then processed at the local meat locker.

Our diet then was minus a lot of chemicals and what we ate was largely stuff that we knew EVERYTHING that was in it. To this day, I still make a lot of stuff from scratch simply because THAT is how I learned to cook. My Mom, STILL refuses to buy "convenience foods" like noodles because hers taste better. Her only concession to increased wealth has been pie crust that is ready made. (She hated making pie crust.)

To answer a question somebody else posed a while back, I do know there were a few classes out there to teach low cost cooking. Our local university has a cooperative extension (thru the Ag dept) that taught free community classes on that subject.

I remember my Mom going out and teaching a few of those classes and marveling at the idea that ANYONE would ever pay for cake mixes and Hamburger Helper type stuff...


Laura
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 10:13 PM
Response to Original message
80. I actually thought food stamps preceeded the surplus food
I remember it well since my grandfather qualified based on age but couldn't eat either the butter or cheese. I still love real butter to this day and the cheese was just terrific.
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ultraist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 11:28 PM
Response to Reply #80
92. They did have a surplus type program pre food stamps
But the gov cheese everyone is talking about was a commmodities post food stamps program.
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tyedyeto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 10:14 PM
Response to Original message
81. I used to help out at those distributions.........
In the small rural town I lived in at the time, there were so many people on subsistance (welfare, Social Security disability or survivor benefits). I would go to the local community center (as a volunteer) on 'food give-away day' and check people in. Often, people would come in and not have the proper 'financial' paperwork.

I'm proud to say that we would give them the items we had on hand that day anyway as many really needed the cheese, peanut butter, butter, powdered milk, etc. to live on. So what if they were only over the alloted income by a couple hundred a year, they needed those food items more than I ever did. I qualified at that that time, but I only received whatever was leftover after all the others had received their food items.

Just another reason I'm a Dem..........smile

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WLKjr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 10:32 PM
Response to Original message
84. I hear a stuck up republican I work with bitch about FS, WIC and Welfare
all the time, and the 'people' that use them. It's priceless to hear what she says about them, I just hope she ends up on them once in her life so maybe she will understand what it's like......
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ultraist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 11:30 PM
Response to Reply #84
94. About half of the people in poverty are white, if that's what she means
People seem to think that MOST people in poverty are black. Not so. There are a disproportionate number of blacks in poverty, 24% opposed to 8% of whites. But there are far more whites in real numbers.
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charlyvi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 10:37 PM
Response to Original message
85. The peanut butter rocked, too.
I made peanut butter cookies, peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter pie, chocolate covered peanut butter balls and, finally, just plain peanut butter sandwiches. Helped me get through college.
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OnionPatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 11:01 PM
Response to Original message
86. This is great!
I can't believe how many people remember that cheese! We used to get it on a long lay-off from the steel mill. And no, it wasn't humilitating to stand in the line because all your fellow workers were in line too and everyone was joking around and having a good time.

My sister made the best cheese shorties with that cheese! :9
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 11:30 PM
Response to Original message
93. Free cheese for middle-class Mom..
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...


SoCalDem (1000+ posts) Fri Feb-11-05 08:52 PM
Original message
Middle class woman gets government cheese, and lives to tell the tale..


The year is 1982..

The mother encourages her children to read the paper and watch the news. In fact the oldest boy ,once.... only 5 at the time proceeded to shussshhh adults in the room so he could hear what CNN was saying about Anwar Sadat.... "Sadat?? Who's HE? someone asked...President of Egypt..just assassinated, chimed the youngster".. but I digress..

back to 1982...

Mom & the boys are out shopping and going to the bank. On their way they pass St Vincent's Thrift shop.. Having things to donate already in the car,(leftover from another shopping foray..and all but forgotten) they decide to drop them off as well..

FREE CHEESE... FREE CHEESE... The banner fairly screams...

The mother enters the store and puts down the box of clothes, toys and assorted cast-offs..

"Here's your cheese", says the woman at the counter..

Back to the car, which is bouncing from the antics of the pinching, pushing, not-so-patiently waiting boys...

Errands completed, they all head home and of course.. what do the boys want for lunch??

TOASTED FREE CHEESE SANDWICHES

as they settle in to eat lunch, the oldest peruses the paper... Page Two top right..

Free Cheese Giveaway to the poor...Today at St Vincent's....


...."Mom , are we poor?".....

My sons still kid me about the FREE cheese :)

........

SoCalDem (1000+ posts) Fri Feb-11-05 08:57 PM
Response to Reply #1

4. Picture a 5 pound box of velveeta


The sad part is that the damn stuff molded before we ever finished it

and the oldest blabbed to Dad the minute he walked in the door that night..


"Daaaaaad.. Mom got Free cheese today.. Poor people's cheese".. :grr:


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ultraist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 11:37 PM
Response to Reply #93
97. I don't remember the cheese but we were very poor when I was little
Edited on Fri Feb-11-05 11:38 PM by ultraist
My parents divorced and my mother supported 3 kids, with no child support, on a secretary's salary. She must have gotten food stamps but I don't remember that. She did not let us go to the grocery store with her. I do remember going hungry and living off of Swiss Miss and Instant Breakfast. I was one skinny minny!

I'm 40 now and my husband have been very fortunate with our business. I'm glad my kids don't have to go hungry but it's heartbreaking that so many do.

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drthais Donating Member (771 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 11:41 PM
Response to Original message
98. It's still around....
it's called the 'gov't commodities program'

they still do it
they give out 'govment cheese' etc

I know this because I volunteer with a food pantry
and have been around the block on this issue

there's not a wide variety
but that rockin cheese is still in the mix
just depends on what is available at the moment
people line up at the distribution center
and everyone is given the same amount of whatever

and, even though I know it sounds demeaning
the poepl that get it are not so embarrassed, really
they are grateful more than anything else
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-05 01:24 AM
Response to Reply #98
100. That's interesting
I haven't heard of anybody getting cheese in eons. Except maybe reservations, they always got more commodities than the standard distribution. Could that be why?
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geniph Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-14-05 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #98
110. There must be a lot of variance state-to-state
I've heard a number of folks talking about existing programs, and programs that existed before the 60s, etc. I suspect there's a lot of difference in the way different states and/or localities administer this and their food stamp programs.

Thankfully, I no longer qualify for either, but I am almighty grateful they were there when we needed them. Might not have been the healthiest food in creation, but there's nothing terribly healthy about malnutrition, either, and as the youngest of 13, I could have been very intimately acquainted with it had we not had commodities distribution.

Maybe I don't remember food stamps because my mother wouldn't consider them as an option, but just going to pick up food for her kids was different in her mind. She would have considered either welfare or food stamps to be degrading, but surplus food distribution when we hadn't anything to eat was different, at least to her.
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Daphne08 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-05 12:00 AM
Response to Original message
99. My grandparents got the cheese and butter. It was quite good.
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KT2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-05 01:49 AM
Response to Original message
101. Cadillacs and free cheese
somehow there was always someone who "saw" a Lincoln or Cadillac at the cheese give-away.
Found out that might be true from an ex-repub. Her rich cranky RW uncle was so pissed that people were getting something for nothing that he would go every month to pick up his free cheese - in his Cadillac.

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PsychoDad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-05 03:01 AM
Response to Original message
103. I loved the canned chicken
Made for some great BBQ :) And yes, the cheese did rock. Our family also recived blocks of real butter.

It's a shame the program ended... Although we still receive some USDA food stuffs from the local food bank such as canned veggies, jucies and such.. Nothing quite as good as the butter and cheese.

Nowadays it's mostly expired or unwanted surplus from the grocery stores. :(
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noonwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-14-05 01:41 PM
Response to Original message
111. I worked in one of the programs in college for my field work
We did other programs, too, like Head Start and Targeted Fuel Assistance (no longer exists).

It was a great program. It still exists, but is generally administered either by a private organization (FOCUS: Hope, in Detroit) or by a county government or CAPS agency.

What was great about it in K-Zoo County was that we always had more food than eligible people. So we were able to have more generous eligibility guidlines. Basically, anyone who got a medicaid card was eligible. That meant a lot of elderly, all foster parents, and all welfare recipients were able to supplement their food with some basic staples every month. We got to where pretty much all the elderly who weren't wealthy were getting our assistance, as were all the people who had been de-institutionalized from the state hospital.

In Michigan, sometimes the surplus cheese was from Win Schulers. Those were the best months.
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