'West Wing' cast reunites to promote Big Block of Cheese event

Martin Sheen is featured in a promotion for 'Big Block of Cheese Day.' (Source: YouTube/WH.gov)
Martin Sheen is featured in a promotion for 'Big Block of Cheese Day.' (Source: YouTube/WH.gov)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WAFF) - The White House is hosting a virtual community get-together, and they think it would be 'gouda' you to come.

Apologies for the cheese pun - but there is a reason for it.

Called the 'Virtual Big Block of Cheese Day,' White House staffers will take to social media to answer questions from members of the public.

Why the dairy reference? The story goes back to Andrew Jackson's presidency, when Jackson was presented with a 1,400-pound block of the fermented product that had been inscribed with patriotic phrases such as 'The Union, it Must Be Preserved.'

The cheese was left to age for a further two years before it needed to be disposed of, and the idea was crafted to invite the public to partake. 10,000 partygoers later, according to this Mental Floss account, and the cheese was no more.

It was this strange tale in the annals of political and culinary history that was turned into a plot line in the premiere season of NBC drama 'The West Wing." In an episode, the Chief of Staff invites political interest groups and individuals who would otherwise not have direct access to the ears of the administration to have a few minutes of their time to discuss their concerns or ideas.

What's good enough for Hollywood is good enough in reality, especially with the blossoming of the digital age.

In January 2014, the Obama administration launched the first Virtual Big Block of Cheese Day, and got the word out by inviting two cast members of "West Wing" to help promote it.

This year, they are at it again, and they enlisted the help of the television show's fromage grand (big cheese) himself, Martin Sheen, and other lead cast to make the second effort an even larger affair.

The 2015 Virtual Big Block of Cheese Day will be held Jan. 21, one day after Barack Obama's State of the Union Address. To learn how to get your questions or comments posed to staff, click here.

There will be several points in the day in which specific topics will be featured, such as education and health care.

Click here to watch the promotional video on YouTube.

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