Head to the supermarket and pick up an assortment of your favorite cheeses in the name of democracy, because it’s time for another edition of Big Block of Cheese Day. For those of you not in the know, Big Block of Cheese Day is a time to ask members of the White House as well as Congress pretty much anything you want. But we think that the cast of The West Wing, the hit political drama that ended its seven-year run in 2006, explains it the best:
Here’s Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez really getting into the spirit of things:
“But, um,” you might ask, “How does Big Block of Cheese Day even exist?” 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.
And why The West Wing? The show is specially qualified to talk up Big Block of Cheese Day because it 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:
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 #BigBlockOfCheeseDay. 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