National Cheese Cake Day!
Oh yes now here is an obscure observance I can get behind! Anyone who knows me knows I would rather eat cheese cake that breath. I have no idea who invented cheese cake but they should be a canonized a Saint!
So let’s see what I have found out about what is affectionately called CHEESE CRACK in my house. The historical evidence shows that 4000 years ago the ancient Greeks served it to its Olympic athletes at the first games in 776 BC, and it also says that brides and grooms were served it at the wedding feasts. The writer Athenaeus is credited for writing the first Greek cheesecake recipe in 230 A.D. this is the oldest known surviving Greek recipe! It was also very simple, pound the cheese until it is smooth and pasty, mix the pounded cheese in a brass pan with honey and spring wheat flour – heat the cheese cake “in one mass” – allow to cool then serve. Simple
Of course the Romans conquered Greece and with all things the Romans acquired they kept the things that were useful and put aside those that were not. Luckily cheesecake made the cut. (sorry I couldn’t resist.) They modified it of course to including crushed cheese and eggs. These ingredients were baked under a hot brick and it was served warm. The Romans called their cheese cake “libuma” and they served it on special occasions. Marcus Cato, a Roman politician in the first century B.C., is credited as recording the oldest known Roman cheesecake recipe. As the empire expanded, the cheesecake went along for the ride, to Europe, and Great Britain each culture began experimenting with ways to put their own unique stamp on the cheesecake, using ingredients native to each region. In 1545, the first cookbook was printed. It described the cheesecake as a flour-based sweet food. In 18th century cheesecake started to look like the cheesecake Americans would recognize. Around this time, Europeans began to use beaten eggs instead of yeast to make their breads and cakes rise. Removing the yeast flavor made cheesecake taste more like a dessert. With immigration to America, cheesecake was on the road again.
Cream Cheese the great American food accident, (well one of them.) In 1872, a New York dairy farmer attempted to make a French cheese called Neufchatel. Instead, he accidentally discovered a process which resulted in the creation of cream cheese. As the say the rest is history, three years later, cream cheese was packaged in foil and distributed to local stores under the Philadelphia Cream Cheese brand. In 1928 Kraft acquired the brand.
Well now we come down to it, New Yorkers own the cheese cake they claim it as their own and everyone else’s is just a weak imitation. I am not going to get into this, I love them all equally. But I am a purest, I want the cake only the cake I don’t want chocolate, or raspberries or caramel or cookies and cream don’t come near me with white chocolate cheesecake or you might get hurt. I don’t want short-bread crust if I want a crust at all it has to be graham cracker, if I want a topping it must be strawberry, not that I have anything against raspberry, I just don’t like raspberry anything. So if you come to my house for my birthday you will get cheesecake, toppings on the side.
Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson, MD
Strawberries and Blackberry Cheesecake by Leandus Poe
The Cheesecake Bible by George Geary
Olivia’s Cheesecake Chronicles by Olivia De Berardinis
For Love and Cheesecake by Misty Simon
Cherry Cheesecake Murder by Joanne Fluke