Friday, December 7, 2018
Are you eating enough cheesecake?
Folks, the holiday season is upon us. A time to reflect on what's really important in our lives: our families, the great city of Chicago we live in and around, this marvelous country of ours, the United States of America, and of course, Eli's Cheesecake.
I try not to make assumptions about my readers. But my guess is, it might have been a while since you're had a slice of Eli's Cheesecake. Am I right? Nothing to be ashamed of. Life gets busy. People lose perspective, and forget what gives life savor and purpose, overlooking the place in the pantheon of perfection that smooth, creamy cheesecake holds.
Me, I just had a slice of Eli's Cheesecake after lunch on Thursday, and it was delicious. The hardest part was choosing among the three, count 'em three varieties I had in my freezer. I chose strawberry, its bright red top harmonizing with the red stripes in our beloved American flag. An hour on the counter and it was at cool perfection for eating.
I'll be honest, I usually save the cheesecake for my oldest boy, who just loves it. That's what cheesecake means to me: family, love, tradition. Home isn't home without cheesecake.
But cheesecake is meant to be eaten, and as significant as Eli's Cheesecake is to, say, the economic vitality of the state of Illinois, or the lofty position of Chicago among purveyors of our nation's beloved comestibles, we cannot lose sight of just how soul-shiveringly delicious Eli's Cheesecake truly is.
That said, friends, let me draw your attention to the photograph. The special Eli's Illinois Bicentennial Cheesecake, star of our state's 200th birthday party on Navy Pier earlier this week. I don't have to identify the gentleman with him: Honest Abe Lincoln, whose affection for cheesecake is well-known.
Eli's Cheesecake has become synonymous, not only with love and family, but with Chicago, and with our most cherished values. That is only in part due of the inherent wonderfulness of Eli's Cheesecake, but also thanks to the tireless efforts of my friend, Marc Schulman, owner of Eli's and son of the founder.
For those few people who don't instantly recognize the superlative nature of Eli's Cheesecake, its 30 varieties, one for every conceivable taste, how other cheesecakes just don't hold up, plus Eli's pantheon of non-cheesecake delights, such as thick, soft, delicious cookies, and those tiny, single serving fruit pies well, Marc is sure to remind them.
Sure, cynics might scoff. They could point out that, among Marc's many heroic efforts to bring knowledge of Eli's Cheesecake to those unfortunates who might lack awareness, is the paid advertising that Eli's has always sponsored on this blog. Let them scoff. There is no quality so pure, no democratic ideal so important that naysayers cannot find an argument against it. I do not believe that financial considerations affect my view of cheesecake in the slightest. I loved it before I ever met Marc, love it during our many years of friendship and mutually-beneficial economic arrangement, and will continue to do so, long after his sponsorship ends, onward to the end of time. He did not ask me to write anything concerning cheesecake, but I was moved by that photograph to pen this spontaneous outpouring of my sincere heart.
Nor does his sponsorship prevent me from turning my critical judgment about Eli's Cheesecake. Since absolute perfection is reserved for the Supreme Deity, it follows that even Eli's Cheesecake has a flaw, one I was reminded of while my wedge was diminishing before me today. When you are finished eating any given piece of cheesecake, a sign lights up in your head: "More cheesecake!" And it was only with difficulty, with an act of will on my part, to resist defrosting a second slice—another advantage to keeping it frozen, to deter spontaneous consumption. Cheesecake is not exactly a diet food. There, I said it.
So let no one claim that my critical blade was dulled by commerce. Let complainers carp and dieters doubt, miserably nibbling at their celery. Me, I'm sticking with my family, my city, my country, the flag that represents it, and Eli's Cheesecake. If you do not, as I do, have three flavors in your freezer, then click at the convenient link at left and order one for yourself or for someone you love or, ideally, both. Or two. Or three. You will be glad you did, as will I. Do it now.