When I was very young, mum often made cakes and puddings for afternoon teas and for sweets after dinner.
We were on a tight budget, so these cheap treats were a good way to fill small tummies when the breadwinner got the largest portion of the main meals. Often enough, sweets,(dessert) was a slice of bread and butter sprinkled with brown sugar, or jam and cream.
Half of our backyard was a giant veggie patch too. I remember planting radish seeds along with carrots because the radishes would be ready first and as we pulled them we'd be making room for the carrots to mature.
The puddings were often a chocolate custard with sprinkles, or a semolina made thick enough to set, with sprinkles. Lemon sago pudding with custard was a favourite too and I still like it.
Or canned fruit with custard.
Most often would be cake.
Mum would make a basic butter cake mixture, pour it into a slab tin, top it with sliced apples or plums, sprinkle the whole thing with sugar and bake it.
There were sandwich cakes, sandwiched together with plum jam, or chocolate cakes.
Apple strudels with whipped cream.
None of these options ever contained cheese.
We had never heard of cheesecake.
Not fruitcake either, to us, fruitcake was that heavy stuff English people ate at Christmas.
When I was thirteen, my best friend E had an older sister who was engaged to be married, so their mum was teaching her to cook. Releasing all the hints and tips that made recipes better.
On the way to school one day, riding our bikes, E mentioned that S had made her very first cheesecake.
I immediately said I didn't like cheesecake...it was so...cheesy.
E had no idea, and I didn't enlighten her, that I had no idea what a cheesecake was.
A cake with cheese? That's odd. Why would anyone want to eat such a thing?
In our house, cheese was that mild flavoured yellow wedge bought weekly at the corner store where the shopkeeper would slice the wheel with a giant knife. Three shillings worth of cheese was enough for a week. Or there was quark, the "cream cheese" that mum made. Which hung to drip in its muslin bag on the back porch. Awful stuff which I refused to eat. Later there was Kraft cream cheese in jars. Still awful.
No more mention was made of the cheesecake and I forgot about it.
My own children were raised without cheesecake, I don't recall ever seeing it in the shops when buying groceries. Possibly because it never occurred to me to look for it. I was on a tight budget....
Now, of course, I know what cheesecake is and buy it way too often.
I've even made a few myself.
From packet mixes, the recipe on the back of the Philadelphia Cream Cheese packet, and recently my younger daughter made a baked cheesecake.
Which was very nice. And lemon flavoured. I do like lemon.
And I buy frozen cheesecakes.
I still don't remember how or when I first came across this delicious treat. A cake, made from cheese.
I think it may have been when my older daughter made one after her mother-in-law showed her how.
Possibly it was sooner, but I have no memory of having it before then.
Of course I also know about cream cheese frosting now too.
The Jewelry Box (Part 1)
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