A Brief History and Analysis of Cheesecake

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I freakin’ love cheesecake. Sweet and creamy and a little bit savory. I believe that cheesecake is one of the best desserts around, and trust me, this girl knows her stuff when it comes to desserts. Don’t believe me? Well then why don’t you ask Aegimus, renowned Greek physician from the 5th century BC, who wrote a book about the art of making cheesecake. This was the earliest recorded mention of cheesecake. Prior to that however, anthropologists believe that it was a relatively common food in the diet of Grecians, and there is evidence that it was served to the very first Olympic athletes in 776 BC. In 160 BC, in the oldest surviving work of Latin prose, De Agri Cultura, written by Cato the Elder, cheesecake is mentioned again in the form of not one but TWO recipes. Cheesecake in 160 BC was prepared quite a bit differently than it is today.

Cheesecake evolved over the years and a more modern recipe is found in an English cookbook called Forme of Cury in 1390. Since then it has evolved differently in the US than it has in Europe and our cheesecake is quite a bit different than theirs, which usually includes dried fruits like apricots and raisins. That is just ruining a good thing if you ask me. The reason I am writing all this about cheesecake is that it is currently the only thing in my life that I feel like focusing any energy on at all. We’ve all had days like that, right?

My current compulsive craving for cheesecake is the result of a number of things: finals stress, sleep deprivation, and a general lack of self-control. But you know what? That’s okay. There was time in my life when I would have guilted myself for feeling all these things. I would have let a bad week spiral into an awful week, or even a couple of weeks. The most helpful thing I’ve ever come to realize about my personal wellness is that balance is everything.

Wellness doesn’t mean only eating fruits and vegetables every single day, it doesn’t mean never skipping a workout, and it doesn’t mean always getting 9 hours of sleep every single night without fail. When you put up that high of expectations for yourself, you are setting myself up to fail. Because life is messy – there will be days or weeks or even months when no aspect of your wellness seems to fall into place. Our only concern with this should be to remember that it will all balance out. One missed work out or one sugary carb-filled meal will not ruin your life, as long as you don’t dwell on it and let the guilt drag you down more than the satisfaction pushes you up. Our priorities should be to care for ourselves as much as possible in times of stress, not beat ourselves up over it. For me, this week, balance means carelessly eating a piece of cheesecake.

Written by Lily Sall, WLLC 2015-2016

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