Brickbat: Stop Cutting the Cheese


At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture granted California a waiver to the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, which provides boxes of food to low-income households, allowing the state to remove cheese from the boxes. Cheese is the only food in the box that needs to be refrigerated, and removing it allows the boxes to be delivered to seniors who have been advised to shelter in place rather than forcing them to come in to pick up the boxes. But that waiver has expired, and the USDA won't renew it, saying cheese is a vital part of the boxes. It's also a vital part of federal efforts to bolster the price of cheese by buying it from farmers and giving it away. The state reports that the number of seniors getting the boxes has dropped 30 percent since the waiver expired.

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  1. MMM, cheese.

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  3. against the community guideline..READ MORE

  4. I figure wearing a mask has a beneficial side effect when someone nearby cuts the cheese.

      1. I want you to say my name, Bot.

  5. Government cheez has to be refrigerated? What happens to it if it’s not refrigerated? Does it get all icky and gross where nobody would want to eat it? How hard would it be to hand out the boxes with a note not to eat the icky, gross cheese?

    1. And if the point of including cheese in the boxes is to take cheese off the market and thereby boost the price of cheese, couldn’t you just throw the cheese away and accomplish the same goal? I realize if you just throw the cheese away, you might have fewer cheese inventoriers and fewer cheese inventorier supervisors and fewer cheese inventorier supervisor supervisors, but you could just pay those people to stay at home and they’d do just as much good as they’re currently doing. Or, here’s a radical idea, why not just throw the milk nobody needs out without going through all the trouble of turning into cheese that nobody needs?

      1. Can we eat the cows that we don’t need to make the milk we don’t need to make the cheese we don’t need?
        I can grill in the backyard while everybody stays six feet away. It means I will have to eat the steak all for myself, but it might save one child.

        1. You can, but the cows breed for dairy taste horrible

          1. Actually, cows bred and used for dairy taste fine. I used to eat them in the summer at my uncle’s dairy farm.

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        2. Or we could just salt the fields the cows would graze on, and not raise cows on them. Or we could pay people to not be farm workers.

      2. Actually throwing the cheese or milk away would achieve that result better, since giving it to low income households would cause them to buy less cheese or milk.

      3. They did that before, and it went bad in warehouses. Then someone shamed them into releasing it to the poor directly, whoever wanted to pick it up could get some. This was 30 years ago.

    2. Yeah, I think government cheese, in it’s sealed package, would be fine for days if not longer. Even real cheese is fine at room temp for a pretty long time.

      1. The fact that it keeps for a while without being refrigerated is why cheese exists in the first place. Ditto butter. These were both around for centuries before refrigeration existed. What they didn’t have in the long long ago was milk just sitting around.

        1. Raw milk sitting around ferments and turns into delicious sour or clabbered milk.

          1. Sometimes. Sometimes it turns into something so bad you have to buy a new refrigerator.

      2. That depends on the type of cheese.

        Dry, hard cheeses like cheddar will do okay at room temperature.

        Softer cheeses, not so much. I like Swiss cheese. It does not do well at room temperature much beyond a couple of hours.

        1. It’s American process cheese in these giveaways, like mild cheddar but cheaper. It will keep for quite a while. The problem is that the government ties itself up in knots with overregulation. Because un-refrigerated cheese might spoil in weeks, the regulations say it has to be refrigerated – but that is interpreted to mean ALL THE TIME until it leaves government hands. A few hours in a delivery truck would do no harm, but the regulations make no distinction between cured cheese and something that spoils in a few minutes.

    3. Who would have thought that plastic needed to be refrigerated?

      1. When I was in high school, a few friends would take the weird orange government cheese out of their sandwiches every day and throw it up to the ceiling where it stuck. Some of it stayed there for weeks, apparently unchanged.

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  7. Just tell the old farts it’s that disgusting stinky moldy cheese the frogs seem to love so much.

  8. Cheese, Grommet, there’s NO CHEESE!

    1. I Hanker for a hunk o cheese!

    2. Moe, Larry! The cheese!

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  10. Funny when you consider that cheese was invented or should I say discovered thousands of years ago. as a way to preserve milk. But government cheese isn’t really cheese.

    1. Americans are kind of pathological about refrigerating things. Lots of things don’t really require refrigeration. Except for very fresh cheeses, there is nothing wrong with leaving cheese unrefrigerated for several days.

      1. I think you’ll find that cheese connoisseurs will tell you that to fully enjoy the flavor of cheese it should be served at room temperature and I, frankly and found this to be so.

        That said, I generally store cheese in the fridge mostly because I don’t like cutting the mould that sometimes starts to form after a week or so. If I think of it I’ll let it warm up to room temp before eating but as often as not I’ll eat it straight out of the fridge.

        But, basically, the worst thing that will happen to most cheese is the surface mould that can form and if this is trimmed off the rest of the cheese is just fine.

        I cannot imagine what kind of cheese this is that cannot stand relatively high temperatures for the time it takes to get from the warehouse to some geezers house. Especially if it is sealed in plastic or some other airtight packaging. Furthermore as a geezer myself, I’m pretty sure most of my age cohort have no problem with a little surface mould on cheese having seen it fairly often in their childhood.

        Sounds to me like someone doing a CYA for a bureaucracy afraid that some lawyer will win a huge settlement for some family by convincing a Mississippi jury that grandma died from eating “bad cheese.”

        1. Government health regulations are based on taking the most extreme measure scientifically justifiable and then adding on a significant safety measure.

          I am not joking when I say that mercury standards in rivers was based on pregnant, subsistence fisherwomen. After calculating the exposure for this fictional pregnant woman who ate fish daily from the highest concentration of the stream for her entire pregnancy, they took the calculated number and divided it by 10.

    2. You’re right. I’m not sure what “government cheese” actually is.

      1. So it’s not real cheese but blocks of that processed stuff wrapped up as singles? The one government forbids from being called cheese so must be called cheese product, made from actual cheese?

        1. Unless it’s changed from back when I was supporting a family on E-2 pay, government cheese comes in big 5 or 10 pound rectangular blocks. A slice off the end is the right size for a sandwich, but you have to cut it.

  11. Umm. Covid killed off that 30%. Duh. Dead people don’t eat even free cheese.

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  15. Melissa McCarthy told us all that cheese doesn’t go bad!

  16. Bots are a problem here

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