Friday, November 30, 2007

Cheese Cake

#327 Cheese Cake

It’s come to this. We bought a cheese cake from Home Shopping Television. A big, gooey, high-calorie, high-fat, high-cholesterol, three layer, cracker crust three pound cheese cake.


Every restaurant, supermarket, convenience store, inconvenience store and –if they had any here in the sticks – bakery offers “New York Style” cheesecake. And “New York strip steaks” and “New York bagels and New York pizza, and it’s all lies. Lies, lies, lies.

A recent posting here decried New York of 2007 as Jalalabad On the Hudson. And it is. But these things – OUR things – haven’t changed and can’t be exported.

The only people who believe in the offerings of New York cheesecake, steak, bagels or pizza have never had New York cheesecake, steak, bagels or pizza, or at least haven’t in so long, they’ve forgotten.

There is no hope for pizza or bagels where they have water like they have here in Stonewall County. It’s hard. Big business around here is selling water softening machines, which you buy as soon as you realize the water is putting fairly permanent white spots on utensils that should never have fairly permanent white spots.

That water can’t make a bagel or a pizza crust worthy of the name. Understand, the stuff’s not BAD, it’s just not authentic. New York had its own water problem decades ago. Most of the good local beers were made across the river in Newark. Newark had water that today you’d get fined or even jailed for pumping. When Newark water got “better,” the beer tasted like water. And away went Piels, Knickerbocker, Rheingold and Ballentine’s – they crumpled like an aluminum beer can. And, yes, some of that stuff started in Brooklyn, but they all hit their stride with New Jersey water, or whatever that stuff was came out of the taps of Essex County.

But the bagel water and the pizza water – that was delicious once you let a glass of it settle for awhile. New York City water is cloudy, almost carbonated. That’s not because it’s unsafe, it’s because of pressure in the lines.

The steak… well, that’s just a matter of buying what the New York restaurants buy and where they buy it. Anyone can make a decent New York Strip Steak, all it takes is some decent research,

But cheesecake, that’s a different story. It’s more than the water. It’s the ingredients (some of which you can’t pronounce, let alone spell.) It’s about texture and sweetness and temperature. And it can’t be duplicated.

Here in town, they have FancyMan’s Supermarket, which fancies itself a gourmet palace, which in many ways it is. They have their own special “New York” cheesecake. Feh!

At Magic Mart supermarket, the working family’s friend, they have a white, brittle, sweet entity that’s called “New York Cheesecake.” Nope.

And at the Intermediate Shop, they have “Italian Style New York Cheesecake.” You know before you buy it you’re being lied to. Real Italian cheesecake is so heavy you can’t life a whole one alone. Not this stuff. It’s also supposed to be drier than “regular” cheesecake, without sacrificing tape. They got it half right. It crumbles.

So, we order through the mail and hope that whatever comes (and it ain’t cheap,) both tastes and feels like the real thing.

Home Shopping Television disappoints more than it satisfied. But what harm could a little optimism do?

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2007 WJR

1 comment:

pipskippy said...

Wes - I was hoping for the confessional on the obscene cost of a cheesecake ordered on TV, but I may have missed it. I've seen steak and seafood over the internet, and it made me cry to think that people ordered it. It's rude for me to ask, but with the lack of authenticity aside, was it a good deal?

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