Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Famous last words

My mom is a really good cook. She can put together 6 course meals or whip up fish en papillote. She makes excellent gumbo, amazing grillades and grits, and has mastered the art of producing fluffy matzoh balls. She is the queen of her kitchen. While my mom enjoys spending time in the kitchen, she does not like baking. Unfortunately for her, however, a tradition started decades ago when she baked an award winning cheesecake for one of my dad's customers around the holidays. I am almost certain that if she could time travel, she would go back to that December, put some cookies in a tin, and be done with it. But alas, her fate was sealed by that cheesecake.

Now this is not any ordinary cheesecake (or so I've been told- I don't know, I don't like cheesecake). People go nuts over this cheesecake. Back in the 60s, my Grandmother would sell these cheesecakes at fundraisers for $20. That's the equivalent of over $100 today. For a cheesecake. Cream cheese and sugar. And eggs and butter. My Grandmother did not give my mom the recipe until she and my dad were happily married. Oh yeah- it's that good. (Or so they say).

Throughout the years, my mom saw the list of loyal customers who were to receive cheesecakes grow. The once coveted family recipe became the cornerstone of our holiday kitchen activity as we would churn out literally 12-15 cheesecakes every December. My mom and I developed our own assembly line of crust making, egg separating, and flour measuring.

In recent years, things have changed and now only the very select few get a cheesecake. This year some of those select few included my coworkers. I went home one weekend to partake in the cream cheese sweat factory and to have my mom's support while putting together my own cheesecakes. Since the kitchen is HER room and she has made a gazillion cheesecakes over the course of time, she had an overly watchful eye on my doings. She was particularly attentive when I began assembling her Cuisinart Elite Food Processor (insert awe here) and I finally snapped when she told my dad just to grind the cookies for me.


She put her hands on her hips, raised one eyebrow and hesitantly relinquished some of the kitchen power.

I dramatically sighed and turned to back to the food processor. I put the cookies in and mashed the button. Nothing. I shifted the top and tried again. Nothing. I started getting nervous at the thought of replacing the expensive machine that magically broke when I touched it when I realized it wasn't plugged in.

I tried to play it cool and plug it in without anyone noticing. But my parents saw. Oh yeah- they noticed.

Two degrees.

But neither in cheesecake making.Or how to plug stuff in.

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