Cheesecake has been around longer than you may think. It is thought to date back to at least 2,000 B.C. in ancient Greece. There is mention that it was served to athletes in Greece during the Olympics in 776 B.C. because it gave the athlete energy to perform. Made out of flour, wheat, honey, and cheese, it was considered a Greek Wedding Cake. Athenaeus wrote of cheesecake in 230 A.D., professing even then that it had been around for nearly 2,000 years. When the Romans invaded Greece, they brought back recipes that they adapted themselves. They were called “Libuma” as noted in a recipe left behind by Marcus Cato in the 1st Century B.C.
In 1545, Henry VIII’s chef made his own version of cheesecake, soaking cheese in milk for three hours, straining it, and adding butter, eggs, and sugar to the King’s liking. In 1872, a farmer in New York, who has not been named, accidentally created cream cheese which was eventually packaged and sold to customers. The Phoenix Cream Cheese company purchased the rights and began to widely sell cream cheese. By 1912, James Kraft, learned how to pasteurize cream cheese making it easier to sell, not to mention safer! In 1928, he acquired the name”Philadelphia” and the rest is history.
Nowadays cheesecakes come in many flavors and styles. Among the more favorite flavors added to or topping the cake include blueberries, strawberries, fruit sauce flavors, chocolate, raspberry, pumpkin, key lime, lemon, orange, cherry, whipped cream, and toffee.
Styles come in New York, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Country, Lactose Free, Chicago, Cheesecake Kludys, and Savory. The difference seems to be in the heaviness, or lightness, of the filling and the make of the crust. Crust comes in crumbled graham cracker, crumbled cookie, or sponge cake.
The filling itself is generally made of cheese, cream cheese or cottage cheese, mixed with eggs, and sugar or honey.
Practically everybody likes some form of cheesecake. It can be baked, or it doesn’t have to be cooked at all. It can be a dessert for any type of meal or even a mid-day snack. It doesn’t even have to come in cake style at all, with crumbs and filling just plopped in a cup.
Here’s a cheesecake recipe for you to try. Just be aware there are hundreds of them to choose from.
How to celebrate – Make a cheesecake you, and your family, can enjoy. Have a cheesecake party where everyone makes a different style of cheesecake so you can sample a little of each. Or just sell out and go to the Cheesecake Factory and buy a pie!