Boyfriend’s birthday was a couple of weeks ago and I decided to prepare his favorite comfort meal. He has simple Midwestern tastes and seriously loves the “home-style” cooking his mom used to prepare for her medium size, Catholic family. That means some sort of meat and potatoes dinner.
Since I’m vegetarian, I don’t trust my meat preparation skills. So I cheated and bought pre-roasted chicken pieces at the supermarket deli. There was one more caveat, BF won’t eat cake. Initially I planned on baking a meringue pie, but the summer heat made turning on the oven an unpleasant proposition. Then I remembered that there is one type of cake he loves–his mom’s basic cheesecake. His mother swears by “Jell-O No Bake” cheesecake mix. So, I put a box of the cherry variety into the shopping cart along with the rest of the dinner supplies.
His birthday meal turned out to be as close to Midwestern small town wholesome simplicity as I could muster. It was food that Barbara Billingsley might have served to Jerry Mathers, Tony Dow, and Hugh Beaumont on the “Leave It To Beaver” show. The meal was topped off with the cheesecake and a candle.
Cheesecake is one of the few food indulgences I allow myself. It’s a once or twice a year treat so as not to stress my blood sugar levels too often. My one slice of BF’s birthday cheesecake counts on that annual tally. Indulging in a guilty pleasure, such as cheesecake for a special occasion, makes the rare, rich dessert OK.
I don’t know who came up with the commemoration or why National Cheesecake Day is celebrated on July 30th each year. The dessert certainly deserves a special day. Even though I’ve already had my summer slice of cheesecake, I can still salute the dessert that has an ancient pedigree.
The Ancient Greek writer, Athenaeus supposedly composed the very first simple cheesecake recipe. His listed ingredients were cheese, honey, and flour. During the Roman era, Greek cheesecake recipes became more sophisticated with the addition of eggs into the cake; plus berries began to be used as toppings. As time has passed, the simple cheesecake has evolved into the variations we enjoy today.
If rich desserts are your thing, I hope you enjoy a generous slice of cheesecake on National Cheesecake Day, today.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes the late actor and director Stephen Furst. “I’ll make a diet cheesecake, but I’ll put it in a Sara Lee box. Or I’ll have a huge bowl of pasta, but it’s actually just a cup of pasta–the rest is vegetables. It makes me feel less deprived.”