The Coronavirus Cheesecake
today at 1:02 pm
When the coronavirus seeped into life cloistering both friends and family, my original plan for my husband’s very special 70th birthday broke like a fresh merengue dropped on the floor. No longer would his sister roll over from the neighboring Berkshires for dinner and a dessert from her favorite bakery’s very special cheesecake of various flavors.
She was hunkered down, as were we. But, no worries, I thought. I’d just do what I (and Indiana Jones) always did in these life moments. Make it up as I went along. In my less experienced cooking days, I would use a store-bought mix, but given this was my husband’s 70th birthday–I decided to step up my game.
Diving into the internet to find the best cheesecake recipe ever, I soon stumbled across the Deluxe Cheesecake by Craig Claiborne of New York Times. With one quick glance I confirmed it was richly special enough to cause us to flunk a cholesterol test the morning after, but neither of us had any blood work planned.
And anyhow, I only planned to make HALF the cheesecake.
Next question was whether I would get an Instacart delivery in the nick of time, for these had been as rare as common sense in these early days of Covid-19? With a lucky roll of the algorithm, I won a delivery slot for the morning of my husband’s birthday.
After all, surely a delivery received by noon would be enough time to make the cheesecake.
The night before the Instacart delivery I gazed into the emptying refrigerator in sugary expectation of the many ingredients that were to come, completely forgetting something as mundane as a birthday card for him.
Awake before the husband on the morning of his birthday, I made a homemade card. After all, it’s the thought that counts, or so they say, at least my husband did.
If a watched pot takes longer to boil, a watched clock makes time slow down. Re-reading the recipe, I found I hadn’t considered that I no longer had a springform pan to make cheesecake in. Moving from a larger place to smaller, my Marie Kondo downsizing had donated the springform off to Goodwill.
What would I have done while living abroad? Make do, of course. Reviewing the glass and silicone baking containers, I fell upon the idea of using a round silicone container. Might make it messy to cut the cheesecake out, but what the heck. I wasn’t known for my beautiful baking goods.
Wasn’t my apple pie infamous? As my 7-year-old son described it to a visiting school friend in Guayaquil, Ecuador described it, “It looks like a horrible mess, but is YUMMY!”
Then the messages began to come from Instacart. Due to a surge of orders, but a limited number of shoppers to fill them–my grocery order would be delayed. Then delayed again, as the Instacart shopper got held up outside the grocery store that was maintaining limited numbers in the store.
I went to re-read the recipe, yet again. There wasn’t time to make the cheesecake, cook it and let it cool the requisite hours. I was reminded of a relative’s birthday years earlier. With 4 daughters, the relative had a miserable birthday spent fighting with her oldest adolescent daughter. I suggested to my relative, why not celebrate your birthday tomorrow when (I hoped) the teen would be less irritating. “NO!” my relative bit my head off, saying it was her birthday TODAY.
Thankfully my husband was much more flexible and when I suggested we have his birthday dinner on the night of his birthday, and dessert the next day responded, “Great!”
After all, who doesn’t want to spread the youthful joy of a birthday over two days?
So it came to pass, that’s exactly what happened. And though cutting a cheesecake out of a silicone cake form was a mess, his fingers happily wiped the edges clean.