the mammoth cheese


Thomas Jefferson and the Giant Cheese,

In the summer of 1801, Elder John Leland of the Baptist church at Cheshire, Massachusetts convinced his congregation to make a giant cheese in honor of the current president, Thomas Jefferson.  It must have been an odd experience, a pastor at the pulpit preaching that an abnormally large roll of cheese should be made for the president in honor of his republicanism and defense of religious liberty.  But the people of Cheshire dutifully made the cheese, utilizing the milk of 900 cows and forming it with a 6 foot diameter cider press.  When finished, the cheese measured 4’ 4.5’’ in diameter and was 1’ 3’’ thick, weighing in at 1,230 pounds.  In November the cheese was shipped 500 miles to Washington, first down the Hudson River, then down the Atlantic coast to Baltimore, then by wagon to Washington.  

The giant cheese was presented to Jefferson on New Year’s Day, 1802, and was engraved with the motto, “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God”.  Since Jefferson had a policy of not receiving gifts while in office, he paid $200 for the massive cheese.  Critics in the Federalist party criticized Jefferson for the large cheese, with one writer describing it as a “mammoth” cheese, the first time in history the word mammoth was ever used as an adjective.  

Over the next three years it was served and slowly consumed at various White House dinners and official conventions.  It was last served at a presidential reception in 1805, afterwards the remainder was dumped in the Potomac River, as the cheese had gone bad.

pulsara-game-deactivated2017052  asked:

What kind of cheeses are popular in Golarion? Is it a fairly 'real world' assortment or are their some stranger cheeses? Can cheese be magically imbued like potions? These are things a Gnome's gotta know!

Cheese you say?

The cheesemongers of the Inner Sea are as of yet an unexplored territory in our campaign setting material, and given the fact that basic food-making processes are pretty unchanged, I’d definitely say you would have the normal real world assortment of cheeses available to you.

Stranger cheeses would probably be from milk-producing animals that don’t have a real-world equivalent, though the fact that megafauna still exist in Golarion means you could get your mammoth cheese…and eat it too.

As far as magical cheese

Mod’s opinion is that it would function just like Brew Potion (or if you want to make elixirs or items not limited by Brew Potion, Craft Wondrous Items), but Mod thinks that Brew Potion would work better for fresher cheeses (mozzarella, creme fraiche) rather than cheddars or other aged cheeses—that seems to be a better role for Craft Wondrous Items.

I hope your gnome can work out something with the GM to get all the delicious cheese they can eat, and mechanical bonuses too!


February 22nd 1837: Jackson’s cheese reception

On this day in 1837, U.S. President Andrew Jackson held a reception at the White House where he served a 1,400-pound block of cheese to members of the public. Elected in 1828, Jackson was the embodiment of a new kind of American governance based on the vote of the common man - Jacksonian Democracy. Many of his supporters saw his brand of politics, which was focused on an ideal agrarian republic of small farmers, as an inheritor of the nation’s third President - Thomas Jefferson. During Jefferson’s term, one of his admirers from Cheshire, MA. resolved to make the President the largest cheese imaginable. The cow-owners of the town joined together to create a 1,600-pound block of cheese, which was bought to Washington D.C. and presented to Jefferson in the White House East Room. Several years later, Jackson’s supporters decided to award him with his own block of cheese. A prosperous New York farmer named Thomas Meacham led the project, and the giant cheese was exhibited around Northern cities including New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, before being presented at the White House. During an 1837 reception on Washington’s birthday Jackson, in desperation with what to do with such a mammoth cheese, invited thousands of citizens to come and eat the cheese. Two weeks later, the increasingly feeble Jackson stepped down as President upon the inauguration of his successor, Martin Van Buren. The event resurfaced in national attention when it was mentioned in political drama The West Wing, which has inspired an annual event held by the White House where they invite members of the public to send questions to the administration via social media.

“The air was redolent with cheese, the carpet was slippery with cheese, and nothing else was talked about at Washington that day”
- Benjamin Perley Poore in Perley’s Reminiscences of Sixty Years in the National Metropolis (1886)


Mammoth Cheese: The Movie AKA my cinematic debut

This is a 100% historically accurate account of an incident that happened during Thomas Jefferson’s presidency. More info here

Mammoth Corpse Pt. 2 Cheese Powder

After Demagol (Gunslinger) scared off the chimera, the party gathers around the dead Mammoth.

Arcanite (Elementalist): I want the tusks, those are worth something I bet

GM: Okay, first of all they are huge, if you wanted to pick them up they’d weigh… *thinks for a minute* like 10 weight.

Everyone but Demagol: Okay that’s ridiculous, we need to find something else.

Lewick (Alchemist): I’m going to turn one into a feather… no wait CHEESE, I’ll turn it into cheese.

Demagol: I love cheese, that’s a great idea. Let’s do it, but only with one tusk

*Lewick rolls to transmute, gets a 5.*

GM: The tusk transforms into a cheese powder substance and fades away with the wind, spreading it all over the area.

*Demagol gets frustrated at this and just picks up the remaining mammoth tusk and carries it to the next town, having just enough weight distribution to carry it without going over his limit.


In 1836, President Jackson accepted 1,400-pound wheel of cheese from Col. Thomas Meacham, a dairy farmer near Sandy Creek, NY. The cheese was mammoth, and it sat, ripening, in the White House for over a year. Eventually, Jackson invited everyone in Washington, DC, to stop by and help consume the massive wheel. He threw the doors open, and in just two hours, the cheese was gone.

Even members of Congress went crazy for cheese and were absent from their seats. From the Vermont Phoenix, March 3, 1837:

Mr. Alford opposed the motion for a recess. He said it was time, if they intended to do any public business this session, that they forthwith set about it, for they had wasted enough time already.  As for the battle with the great cheese at the White House, he was for leaving it to those whose tastes led them there, and to-morrow they might receive a full account of the killed and slain.  The gentleman from Maine, (Mr Jarvis) could as well finish the speech he was making to the few members present, as not.

Mr. Wise remarked that it was pretty well understood where the absent members had gone. There was a big cheese to be eaten at the White House to-day, and the appetites of members had driven them there to partake in the treat. To obtain a quorum he therefore moved that the Seargent-at-arms be directed to go to the President’s house, and invite the members there to return to their seats.  [“Those that have done eating!"—exclaimed a member.] “Oh yes,” continued Mr. W. “those that have done eating their cheese, of course.”  ["And let them bring a portion with them,” said a third.]  “No, he did not want any of it—he had no wish to partake of any thing at the White House.”

A motion was again made that the House take a recess till 4 o’clock.

This true story is the basis for today’s first virtual “Big Block of Cheese Day” at the White House, which is hosting an online open house for citizens to ask questions. Sadly, there will be no physical cheese giveaway!

When we heard about the event, our archivists hunted through our records, but there are no official Federal documents relating to the cheese, probably because the cheese was a private gift. (In fact, we only turned up a handful of cheese-related records, including a recipe for making “loaf” from cottage cheese.)

However, we did find a mention of Jackson and cheese in this handwritten note (see page 4 and 5) from President Truman in 1952. The White House was being renovated, and Truman was thinking of previous Presidents and their treatment of the official furnishings.

Truman wrote, “Then old Andy Jackson and his rough, tough backwoods [illegible] walking on the furniture, with muddy boots and eating a 300-pound cheese, grinding it into the lovely Adams and Monroe carpets!”

Jackson was not the first President to receive a giant wheel of cheese as a gift. President Jefferson received on as well. There is even a monument in Cheshire, MA, to the cheese press used to make the cheese for Jefferson.

Alas, this cheese slicer was patented 30 years too late to help President Jackson get rid of his cheese more quickly….