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White House Is Bringing In the Big Cheese


Head to the supermarket and pick up an assortment of your favorite cheeses in the name of democracy because tomorrow the White House is bringing back Big Block of Cheese Day.

It’s only half as ridiculous as it sounds. Last Friday, the White House blog announced it would reserve tomorrow, January 21st, for the second annual Big Block of Cheese Day. In one of the more humorous videos released on behalf of diplomatic public relations, the cast of The West Wing, a hit political drama that ended its seven-year run in 2006, reunited in a skit to deliver the message. Technically, the White House tried to do this event last year but, as the video says, “We want it to be feta than last year.”

“What exactly is Big Block of Cheese Day?” you may be asking. The tradition is embedded deep within American history. Back in 1837, Andrew Jackson—a president with both a passion for pecorino and discussing politics with people—decided to combine his two interests. On February 22nd, 1837, he hauled a massive (and probably majestic, in my opinion) 1,400 pound block of cheddar into the main foyer of the White House. He then held an open house, inviting the public to come talk about public issues and other political topics over a feast of fromage.

Big Block of Cheese Day!

Now, The West Wing is specially qualified to deliver this specific announcement on behalf of the White House because the show actually aired numerous Big Block of Cheese Day episodes. This annual event allowed organizations normally barred from talking to White House staff to discuss their interests with top-tier staff members. For instance, in one notable episode, White House Press Secretary C.J. Craig (played by Allison Janney) hears from a group of environmentalists (including a surprisingly young Nick Offerman AKA Ron Swanson of Parks & Recreation) tell the story of Pluie the Wolf in an attempt to secure funding for a Wolf Superhighway:

Since we can’t resent the White House forever for discontinuing the event for so long, we may as well thank them for coming back to their senses and re-installing the tradition. To participate in the productive communal discussion of Big Block of Cheese Day, ask the Obama administration questions via Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook using the hashtag #AskTheWH. Round out the day by sticking to history and eating a Crowley Sharp Cheddar or an Aged Kerrygold Cheddar while you send in your questions.

Aren’t you proud to be an American?

Feature Photo Credit: whitehouse.gov

Jacqueline Roman

Jacqueline Roman is an Emerson student in Boston who never misses an opportunity to make a cheese pun and utilizes her social media accounts to post pictures of her pride and joy: cheeseboards. She has other interests but does not brie-lieve they are as gouda.

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