Just Saying . . .: Let’s Talk Cheesecake
Thursday, March 23, 2017 10:42 AM
I am aware that there are people who do not care for cheesecake. That’s okay. You are excused because we will be discussing the pleasures of cheesecake and there is no need for the non-appreciative to suffer, make faces and generally disagree. So spend your time reading something you find pleasant. We love you dearly, we shall talk again soon on another matter, and thanks just the same. Off you go, then.
Contact the author by sending e-mail to email@example.com. The author requests not discussing this column or his new diet if you happen to meet up with his wife. © 2017, Tom Sadowski
Now that we do not have the cheesecake non-lovers around to sneer or protest, let’s talk cheesecake. You can’t help but to feel sorry for the cheesecake haters. Perhaps it’s not their fault, as scientists recently found that most people who hate cilantro (because they think it tastes like soap) actually have a gene mutation that cilantro lovers do not have. It could be that cheesecake haters have a mutation that does not allow them to enjoy the most erotic food ever devised — which might go a long way toward explaining why they also hate ponies, chocolate, rainbows and kittens. Not all of them, mind you; some do like chocolate.
Anyway, as a child I thought that cheese and cake were incompatible. The thought of cheddar topping a birthday cake was enough for me to snub the idea of cheese-cake in its entirety. There is a time for cheese and a time for cake.
When it’s time for cake, I am never thinking, “I hope there’s a nice slab of smoked Gouda or Gorgonzola topping that cake.” As a matter of fact, Gorgonzola, with its veins of blue-green mold, is the antithesis of cheesecake. It’s what sausage is to ice cream. Gorgonzola makes children delay any interest in cheese, sometimes for years.
My misunderstanding stemmed from the wide world of bacterially created milk products that fall under the broad name of “cheese.” This lumps Limburger with cream cheese. It’s possible that yogurt was once a cheese, but some smart marketing people gave it a different name so that we wouldn’t associate it with cheese. However, they weren’t smart enough to come up with a better name than “yogurt”: a word that contains both “Y” and “G.” It’s quite an unpleasant word and only serves to remind me of other words containing Y and G that you wouldn’t want to eat like doggy, gymnast, boogeyman, gynecologist and clergy. Also, rearranging the letters of yogurt spells “guy rot.”
I remember that I had to be cajoled into tasting my first cheesecake. I soon realized that the cheese in cheesecake is really there to scare you a little bit. It’s like the waitress warning you not to touch the hot plate. It’s like the forbidden allure of death by chocolate. It just makes the cake that much more appealing when you discover that flawless luxury of self-indulgence.
The enjoyment of cheesecake has deep historical roots. The Greek physician Aegimus, in the 5th century BC, took time out from his musings about pulse and heartbeat to write about making cheesecakes. A physician had a lot more leisure time back then as paperwork was in its infancy and student loans for medical school had easy payment terms. This is one reason that the Greek economy is in such a mess today. But Aegimus was onto something and was obviously exploring the profound pleasures of the palate.
With cheesecake, even a small morsel is like a short chapter in an extremely good book. As you read you slow down so as not to get to the end of the chapter in too much of a hurry lest you miss some of the nuance of texture and the components of the flavors.
There is somewhat of a surprise for your taste buds in each bite. It’s as if your mouth expects a certain something from that white creamy cake and, even though you had a bite a minute ago, you don’t remember exactly what it was like — and here it is again — a taste you can’t remember but can only experience in real time that is so, so very, very good.…
Uh, wait, I’m sorry. I sort of forgot where I was going with all of this. I had a point to make I’m sure. This will all have to wait until, well, until I get back from the bakery. And I have to get some fresh ground coffee too. Damn; the wife has the car. That’s okay, I have the bicycle and it’s not snowing hard. Have to go. Until next time.…