It turns out cheese can be political! Elder John Leland, from the Federalist state of Massachusetts, wanted to show his support for President Jefferson and others of the Democratic-Republican Party. He did so by creating a massive wheel of cheese, which he then drove from Massachusetts to the White House in 1802. Several years later, in 1835, some farmers from New York outdid Leland, delivering an even larger cheese to President Jackson. We can’t help but wonder if any more “mammoth” cheeses are in the United States Government’s future!
Leland enlisted the ladies of his Baptist congregation to make the giant cheese. He reportedly barred milk from “Federalist cows” from being used in the cheesemaking process. Using milk from 900 Republican cows, they used a large cider press to form the cheese. Leland also carefully ensured that no slaves were used to make the cheese.
Leland’s followers were Baptists in the decidedly non-Baptist New England, and the cheese was seen as a symbol of religious freedom and diversity. The cheese was engraved with the motto “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.”
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