Cherokee Tribal Food Distribution Program

Commodity Cheese Dip Platter

Commodity Cheese Dip Platter

The most renowned and coveted of the U.S. Government food aid items, known to all natives as the Gold Standard of processed dairy products, is of course, Commodity Cheese, in loaf form. While not the most healthy, it is among the most flavorful ingredients and its melty, gooey consistency makes for a lovely mac and cheese dish. In this case, we’re going to make a party platter and make a cheese dip to go with crackers, chips or any other snack you’d care to dip it in. A surprisingly good item to pair along with mixed nuts, and some minute pickled vegetables, fresh fruit or cold cuts. Once again the attention is more on the serving and plating method than the complexity of the ingredients.  Simple is and always will be good, and it makes a nice base to build off of. I hope you and your company enjoy this for your next game night or event. Being a dip, you can enjoy it all evening and not make yourself sick, while also getting to pair it with whatever other snack foods you enjoy.


  • 1 cup commodity cheese shredded
  • 1 canned tomato or 1 can tomatoes with green chile
  • chili powder or cayenne
  • ½ cup milk
  • small baked potatoes
  • blue corn chips
  • fresh carrots
  • thick crackers
  • toast


  • Pour a bit of milk into a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer.
  • Slowly work the shredded cheese into the sauce, pouring it in a bit at a time, and mixing until smooth and as thick as you like.
  • Add tomato and spice until warm enough for your liking. Plate hot. Make this item last for your platter so the sauce remains warm and creamy while being served.
  • Enjoy in moderation.


Native America & Dairy Products: A Troubled Relationship
Many natives are to a degree, lactose intolerant. This isn’t an allergy, but does mean native people have trouble digesting dairy as a product, along with milk solids and their related foods. This is because dairy products are a fairly recent addition to the overwhelming majority of native diets, and as a result, commodity cheese, while a favorite food in Indian Country, isn’t always the best for us. It is best to eat it in moderation, and with consideration for your wellbeing, as these stomach issues can become longer term problems if dietary changes aren’t made.
That said, many natives have it in their household, and cook with it regardless. As such, it has been seen fit here for the sake of using what we have, and making something decent, that one recipe using it has been featured here.
It’s important to know about the food we consume, because food in its most basic form is medicine, and when we eat foods that aren’t good for our bodies, it will continue to harm you in the short and long term. So like all things, food needs a bit of moderation. Eat your fill and enjoy what you like, but even the basic act of considering digestion or nutrition is something that helps not only yourself, but others.
Instead of thinking of something as just food, it pays to think about what the food is doing for you. While you don’t need anything as meticulous as notes or complex diagrams and charts, knowing when to say “I need to cut back on sugar today” makes all the difference in the world, and it is something all of us can do together. All that said, the next recipe is something homestyle that makes the body and soul feel good, and will hopefully find its way into your kitchen.

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