It Ain’t Easy Bein’ Cheesy

Cheese DayMany Georgetown students were probably attentively listening to President Obama’s State of the Union address tonight, but here at 4E, we’re counting down the minutes to something that is far more important than any silly speeches: the White House’s virtual “Big Block of Cheese Day.”

“West Wing” fans, you probably just let out a chuckle. But for those of you who aren’t ’00s television aficionados, here’s what you need to know about “Big Block of Cheese Day” (which is tomorrow) and how it will affect you.

What is “Big Block of Cheese Day” and where did it come from?

Andrew Jackson, mozzarella maverick.
Andrew Jackson, mozzarella maverick.

On Feb. 22, 1837, President Andrew Jackson opened the White House doors to the public for the first ever “Big Block of Cheese Day.” He had recently received a 1,400 pound, 2-foot by 4-foot block of cheese from a farmer in upstate New York, and though Jackson had quite the “kitchen cabinet” (history pun, ha), he couldn’t eat all that cheddar himself. So he invited the public to carve some for themselves while chatting about current issues with White House staffers and cabinet members.

A little over 150 years later, the next “Big Block of Cheese Days” were held by fictional “West Wing” President Jed Bartlet. The television White House invite occurred in two episodes of the famous political drama, which aired from 1999 to 2006. (FYI: President Bartlet’s daughter, Zoey Bartlet, was a Georgetown grad. Hoya Saxa, Zoey!) See the “West Wing” clip below to catch up to speed:

That sounds gouda. But what is tomorrow’s “Big Block of Cheese Day” and why is it virtual?

On Jan. 24, the White House announced that “with a nod to history (and maybe the TV show the West Wing),” it would be holding its first-ever virtual “Big Block of Cheese Day.” In other words, the actual cheddar is gone, but the invitation to interact with White House officials is not. All day on Jan. 29, officials will be taking real-time questions from the public via TwitterFacebookTumblrInstagram and Google+ Hangout. Concerned about the economy? Foreign policy? The Affordable Care Act? Now is the time to ask the big cheeses themselves. (If you’d like to participate, be sure to use the hashtag #AsktheWH.)

As part of its “Big Block of Cheese Day” promotion, the White House even teamed up with “West Wing” cast members Bradley Whitford and Josh Malina in this “cheesy” video:

Now I’m craving cheese. What do I do?

Go to Wisey’s. And while you’re walking there, think about what questions you’re going to ask the White House tomorrow.

Photos: biography.com, thekitchenskinny.com

KP

KP

KP served as 4E's senior editor from Fall 2013 - Spring 2014.
KP

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