April 24, 2020
Let them eat cheesecake
Not interested in what I have to say? I'll try not to take it personally.
Surviving the apocalypse is about more than washing your hands and keeping 6 feet between you and another human being. It’s also about finding ways to maintain mental stability in a time when things are anything but stable.
If you’re like me, there are good days and there are bad days. On good days, I manage to convince myself that it’s just like any other day. Maybe I give myself a break from reading the news, or I have an extra enlightening yoga practice, or watch a really funny movie. I lie to myself about the fact that there are millions of people around the world that are really sick right now and somehow I believe the lies.
Then there are the days when the sun comes out and all I want to do is go for a run, or go to the park, or just walk around the freaking block without having to leap frog a thousand other potentially sick people that just want to do the same thing. These are the days when it all sinks in and I can’t help but wonder if anything will ever be normal again. Like going to the grocery store without feeling violated. Or making a trip to Target without wondering if they’ll have toilet paper in stock.
You do what you can. Maybe you sew face masks for health care workers. Or go grocery shopping for your elderly neighbor. Or donate money to that restaurant down the street that’s just trying to pay their staff. Or write a dumb blog about baking bread when you can’t find any at the store. But most of the time it doesn’t feel like enough to get you through this.
When all else fails, there’s cheesecake.
Is it self indulgent to make cheesecake during a pandemic? Probably. But every once in a while we need to do something that makes us feel normal again. Cheesecake just so happens to be my normal this week.
Now cheesecake is one of those desserts that can either be pure bliss, or a complete and utter disappointment. I’ve had my fair share of over baked, over sweetened, bland-ass cheesecakes. This infuriates me quite honestly. Cheesecake is my ‘splurge’ dessert and I want to feel dirty after I’ve eaten it. It should be rich, creamy and decadent. The apocalypse demands it!
We just so happened to have an abundance of cream cheese in our fridge this week. While y’all have been hoarding eggs and yeast and toilet paper, I’ve been hoarding cream cheese. Our elderly dog takes a variety of pills and supplements and we’ve been using cream cheese to disguise them. This all went beautifully until she suddenly decided that cream cheese wasn’t delicious enough any more. Is there a more spoiled dog on Earth? Does she know what’s happening in the world? Well, at least there’s cheesecake.
The key to a perfectly textured, creamy cheesecake is the water bath. It also helps to keep the cheesecake from cracking. So if you’re being an anal retentive perfectionist like me, this is a no-brainer. While you’re mixing your cheesecake ingredients together, get some water boiling and find a pan deep enough to hold your springform and a good amount of water. The water should be high enough to reach about halfway up your cake pan. Double wrap your springform in heavy duty aluminum foil to keep the water out.
If you have a food processor, use it to combine your ingredients. It does a really nice job of getting everything a uniform texture (because lumpy cheesecake is the worst!). Just be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom after incorporating each major ingredient.
Lastly, play with flavors. I use this one basic formula for a number of different variations. Anything from mango to peppermint to hazelnut latte.
So if everything is upside down, try making a cheesecake. Sure, it’s not going to solve the world’s problems, but it will help you feel better for a little while. And just remember, we’re all in this together and you’re not alone. We’ll get through this one cheesecake at a time. Does anyone else need bigger pants?