Monday, March 08, 2004

Started reading "Our Band Could Be Your Life" by Michael Azerrad over the weekend. I'm doing this as part of research in writing my autobiography, a chronicle of my dumb rock life. I'm not sure there will be many people who would want to read it since I'm not exactly a household name. But I think I can chronicle the struggle of the part time musician, the juggling that takes place in a new light, or at least a humorous one. "Our Band Could Be Your Life" is not so humorous, it's more of a history of punk in the 80s, and it gets a tad self-righteous at times, but I can certainly identify with some of the struggles (and some I cannot).

More importantly, the great Cheesecake caper. I was so proud and excited to find a recipe for "New York" style cheesecake. See, it's my favorite dessert. I don't have much of a sweet tooth but I do love this one dessert quite a bit. So, I started thinking to myself, "how hard is it, really, to make one myself rather than spend $$ on a slice at a restaurant." "I bet I could make a whole cake for less than that!" Last Saturday morning I happened to be flipping and caught the program "Sara's Secrets" on the Food Network. Sure enough, a New York Style Cheesecake recipe.

Here are the ingredients:

24 oz cream cheese, room temp
2 cups sugar
3 eggs, room temp
1 tbsp vanilla

1 cup crumbled graham crackers
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp butter, room temp

Holy shit, easy, right? Combine the crumbled graham crackers with the butter and sugar, and place into a spring form pan that has been sprayed with that non-stick shit.

Then, find a mixer, plop in the three bricks of 8 oz cream cheese with the 2 cups sugar. Blend, then adding one egg at a time, followed by the vanilla.

Pour in the mixture into the crust, stick in the oven at 275 for an hour and a half, then turn off the oven and leave the cake in there without opening the oven door for 3 more hours.

Stick in the fridge, letting sit for 9 hours before removing the spring form pan.

Simple, right? I was so excited and I began talking it up to everybody, that I was going to make the best cheesecake they've ever had. Trouble is, we went out on Friday night and I had figured it would not be a big deal if we got back after the three hour "oven time" window. We returned about 7 hours later. The cake looked a bit shriveled. It was a bit of a bummer.

I brought it out of the oven to show my wife, and just as she was saying it was no big deal, that we would get some raspberries and could make a sauce the next morning to put on it to improve the presentation, the fucking spring form pan snapped out of place and the cake went PLOP on the kitchen floor. My wife said I had a look of horror on my face she's never seen before, as if my entire life had been leading up to the baking of this cake and it all lead to this moment. I said 'Nononononono NO!"

To make a long story short, after we picked up the cake from the floor, she suggested I have a taste anyway. I had just mopped the floor earlier in the day, so how dirty could it be? It really tasted good. The next morning, after it had been in the fridge overnight, even better. The presentation just wasn't there. So we went to Trader Joe's to get a cheesecake there for the dinner party we were hosting that night.

Turns out everyone who had heard my story insisted that they see my cake, and they all proceeded to eat it anyway, saying they much preferred it to the store bought cake. I had a taste myself and pronounced: "I've tasted the competition and the competition lost."

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