Thursday, June 24, 2010

Andrew Jackson's "Great Cheese Levee" of 1837

In 1835, a New York farmer presented Andrew Jackson with a gigantic wheel of cheddar cheese. Weighing more than 1,400 pounds, it was four feet in diameter and stood nearly three feet high. Jackson let the gift sit, aging, for two years in the vestibule (lobby) of the White House.

A few weeks before leaving office, he invited the public to a reception in honor of George Washington’s birthday. According to newspaper accounts, more than 10,000 well-wishers swarmed to the White House, hoping to get a glimpse of the departing president – and a piece of the cheese!

When the last guests finally left, all that remained of the cheese were the pieces that had been ground into the carpet, smudged across the walls, and smeared on the satin couches and curtains.

If you're in the mood for something cheesy today, this recipe for Extra Cheesy Cheddar Cheese Bread is a great addition for large social gatherings and is a cinch to make at the last minute!!

1 pound shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 stick butter, softened
1 large loaf of French bread or biscuits

In a bowl, mix together the cheeses Stir in mayonnaise and sour cream. In a separate bowl, blend butter and garlic. Add butter mixture to the cheese mixture.

Preheat broiler. Slice loaf of bread in half horizontally and lay crust side down on an ungreased cookie sheet. Spread cheese mixture over the bread. Place under the broiler until golden brown, about 5 minutes.

Remove from broiler and let sit for 4-5 minutes. Serve warm and enjoy!

Credit: Jackson's Great Cheese Levee, painting by Benjamin Perley Poole (1886)