Issue 26

A Commoner’s Latent Love of Cheesecake

A Commoner’s Latent Love of Cheesecake

Cheesecake is a dessert I assumed most people hated. The name alone is off-putting, CHEESEcake. I did not want any cheese in or around my cake. I remember as a small child trying a bit of cheesecake and becoming terribly disappointed in the wet cardboard taste, but that was the old me. I have changed. I have grown up. I have become enlightened. I have found love and understanding in the world of cheesecake.

My discovery of cheesecake was pushed upon me by my good friend, fearless leader, and Meat Wizard, Eddie Morin, of B & G Tasty Foods. I have worked for Eddie for the better part of six years and known him for much longer. When opening up the restaurant at B & G in the mornings, conversations emerge between Eddie and I. While most of the time the conversation consists of how great the movie John Wick is (it is that great), or how the Nintendo Switch is going to change the world of at-home and portable gaming as we know it (it will change gaming forever), one special morning he mentioned his love of cheesecake. I snapped into a fit of disgust. I could not believe the man I worked with everyday had the dark secret of loving such a vile dessert, such a bland tasting dessert. Cheesecake was garbage as far as I was concerned. Eddie did not take my dislike for cheesecake seriously in the slightest. He simply whispered, “I bet you have never had good cheesecake before”. I laughed at his poise and the idea of good cheesecake existing. He did not laugh however. He knew something I did not. He told me he was going to run a little errand and be right back. I knew he had something up his sleeve.

Eddie came back no more than twenty minutes later with two large plastic bags labeled The Cheesecake Factory on both sides. He unveiled a smorgasbord of cheesecakes upon me and told me to try some, and then still stand by my bold statements about cheesecake. I was in awe. I was unaware cheesecake could look as appealing as the kind in front of my eyes that day. This cheesecake was not any tasteless store-bought vanilla cheesecake. There was cheesecake covered in Oreos, some covered in strawberries and raspberries, some covered in marshmallows and graham crackers, some covered in whipped cream and chocolate. I went for the Oreo Dream Extreme cheesecake first. My eyes widened and jaw dropped from the amazing taste. Ever seen The Mask (1994) when Jim Carrey sees Cameron Diaz at the club for the first time? It was exactly like that. Each bite was a soft cushion of sweetness on my tongue followed by the satisfying crunch of the Oreo and crust. Then, I had to try the Toasted Marshmallow S’mores cheesecake. That one tasted as if the cheesecake was roasted over a freshly lit bonfire. I had to bow my head in defeat. I had been living a lie for so long. The cheesecake was beyond delicious, even the original cheesecake was great without any extravagant toppings. The graham cracker crust mixed with the creaminess of the cheesecake was just too good. I owed Eddie an apology and owed the Cheesecake Factory a little visit.

Upon entering the restaurant, rows and rows of cheesecake are right by the host stand, just taunting you to skip dinner and go straight for dessert. I pressed my face against the glass barrier that guarded all the cheesecake as if they were the Hope Diamond in the Smithsonian. I was going to get to that cheesecake, but first I had to eat. The menu at The Cheesecake Factory is reminiscent of a small novel. The menu is slightly overwhelming, but allows people to get what they are craving. The best part is one can order cheesecake at the end of any meal (or before any meal if you get down like that).

The menu has every item one could dream up. So, you want Italian? Then, have the chicken Parmesan sandwich with roasted peppers, tomato sauce and melted cheese on a freshly grilled French roll or your own personal pizza…then some cheesecake.

Oh, but you want seafood? Then, have the shrimp and chicken gumbo with andouille sausage, tomatoes, peppers, onions and garlic in a spicy Cajun style broth with cream…then some cheesecake.

Oh, but no, you really want a steak? Right? Then, have the filet mignon with mashed potatoes and vegetables…then some cheesecake. But really? For real? You want some Mexican? Then, have the factory burrito grande with chicken, cheese, cilantro rice, onions, peppers, guacamole, sour cream, salsa and black beans…then some cheesecake.

You get the point. You’re coming for the cheesecake. It’s in the name of the restaurant. You’re not going to a baseball game for the game, you’re going for the hot dogs and nachos. Right? Or is that just me? Regardless, do not come to the Cheesecake Factory and cheat yourself and not get the cheesecake. I have been cheating myself for over twenty years and I am still searching for the day I will forgive myself for the time I wasted with my vendetta towards cheesecake. I was young, naïve and a punk. Never again will I judge something so carelessly. In the kitchen of B & G I found a new love, appreciation and understanding for cheesecake, thanks to Eddie and the wonderful folks at the Cheesecake Factory. Also, Thanks to Eddie I found a love for pears, the McRib, Mediterranean food, and bananas and peanut butter, but those are a whole different story…


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