April 23, 2013

National Cherry Cheesecake Day

“He who likes cherries soon learns to climb." - German proverb

It's National Cherry Cheesecake Day!

The oldest surviving cheesecake recipe was written by a Greek man named Athenaeus. The ingredients were simple: cheese, honey, and flour (which, actually, doesn't sound awful). Sometime between then - we’re talking around the same time the first Olympics were held in 776 B.C. - and now, cheesecake as we know it as come a long, long way (especially given that cream cheese wasn't technically invented until the late nineteenth century by Chester, NY native William Lawrence).

I'm sure the Ancient Greek's could have never anticipated that one of their go-to snacks would become the inspiration behind a mega chain of restaurants, aptly named The Cheesecake Factory. Or that their simple trio of ingredients would eventually evolve into flavors like key lime, red velvet, peanut butter cup, pina colada, dulce de leche, tiramisu, pumpkin, peppermint, turtle, and blueberry. Even I'm impressed at some of cheesecake offerings available these days.

But today is about a simpler flavor: cherry. Some bakeries dollop sweet, bright red cherry pie filling on top of an ordinary slice of creamy, white cheesecake; others bake real cherries or cherry swirls into the cheesecake itself. And I know vegans who like to simply smear graham crackers with (soy-based) cream cheese and cherry preserves and call it good, too (which is exactly how my night went down). Honestly, I don't think there's a wrong answer today as long as you're indulging somehow!

Happy National Cherry Cheesecake Day!