Memories of cheese cake

More food for the soul

Food – yet again. I can’t seem to get away from it. I’d made a cheese cake earlier in the week for a shout at work and had bought far too much of the essential ingredient. I  promised the family that I’d use it for their benefit over the weekend, so got to work this morning wanting to make the most of everyone being around for two eating opportunity days.

As I was making good on the promise, I got to thinking about yet another family tradition – the cheese cake. As with most of the other food we ate growing up, our love of cheese cake was well ahead of New Zealand time! Of course it was always devoured with great relish…we weren’t stupid!

Several years ago I received a hand-written letter in the post. It was from a woman, who as a teenager had lived next door to us, and had babysat for us on many occasions. Her letter introduced herself (I was far too young to remember her babysitting – but I did remember her name) and went on to say that when she was looking after us, my mother sometimes left her a slice of cheese cake to enjoy. (Good on you Mum!)

She went on to say that she was hosting a dinner party in a few weeks time for the ‘Prostitutes Collective’ and could she possibly have my mother’s recipe for the cheese cake.

I must admit to feeling quite taken aback – and affronted!

On the one hand, I felt incredibly flattered (on behalf of my Mum) that her cake had made such an impression upon a young teenager so many years ago. And on the other, I wondered what she would think about the dinner guests.

Now don’t get me wrong. I know that my Mum thought very highly of our babysitters and their family, and I remember raised eyebrows during discussions about their different (but interesting) paths in life – very very unconventional. Without doubt, they were a very talented family.

So, I thought she wouldn’t mind me passing on the recipe. However, as with most of her handwritten lists of ingredients and methods – nothing was exact. No quantities given…she went on texture, consistency and memory. I did as best as I could – given that I’ve never been able to replicate the cakes she made. I made approximations on her behalf, explained that the results would not live up to the memory – and sent them off.

I never heard back.

I’ve used many different recipes for cheese cake over the years and always enjoy them. However, I’ve never enjoyed them as much as the ones my Mum used to make.


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