Saturday, December 9, 2023

Become a better person with cheesecake.

     I try to be the sort of person I want in my life.
     Let me explain.
     If you are not careful, you end up running your relationships on a quid-pro-quo basis. You do for others as you expect they'll do for you. That's a recipe for disappointment, because people are busy, and distracted, and indifferent. So you become busy and distracted and indifferent too.
     The key is to behave how you wish people would behave toward you. Do unto others, etc. What they do in return is their business. Not yours. Thus I try to do small things — project kindness, say hello to people who then pass without a glance. Welcome new colleagues. Promote excellent work of others on social media, even knowing they'll never return the favor. That's alright. I'm not scanning the skies looking for signs on how to behave. I know what's right.
     Set that thought aside.
Cinnamon Dark Chocolate Cheesecake
     Now turn your attention to the left hand side of the page, if you're lucky enough to be viewing the entire blog on a honking huge iMac, the way I do at home. See the new Eli's ad? Went up Friday. Beautiful right. If you click on it, you will be brought to the Eli's home page. There you will seem among the stunning variety of goodies for sale, something called Cinnamon Dark Chocolate Cheesecake. If you are like me, or even if you aren't but have a pulse, you will think, as I did, "I want that!"
     Which brings up a peril I should mention to you. As this blog is sponsored by Eli's at the holiday season, and I am in general a fan of all things Eli's, I also try to maintain my journalistic integrity, and not lose sight of downsides that may exist. For instance, you might have read about my recent visit to Cheesecake World, and its generally positive tone. But there was something ... well, unsettling about the trip that I neglected to mention.
     We were driving away from Eli's. In the trunk was a Tiramisu Cheesecake. And a Passion Fruit Orange Guava sheet cheesecake. I'd have gotten more, but I have a rule — only three cheesecakes in the freezer. (We already had most of an Original Favorites Sampler). Yes, that might be a senseless, self-destructive edict, akin to the Calvinist ban on dancing. But if I didn't limit it to three, then we'd risk having six, and there wouldn't be room for frozen peas.
     Freezer overload is not the downside I have in mind. So I'm driving away from Eli's, having just eaten a gorgeous slice of cheesecake, with
 the promise of many more to come, having just enjoyed the friendliness and deep business insight of Marc Schulman. But was I happy? No. I was troubled, and this is why. This is what I was thinking:
Hot Chocolate Cheesecake
     "I should have gotten the Hot Chocolate Cheesecake."
    Because it sounds so wonderful. Hot chocolate is a flavor you just don't get enough. I once had the frozen hot chocolate at a boutique ice cream parlor in NYC, and know that it translates well to the world of cool desserts.
     But I didn't get it? Why? It all happened so fast. I had my wife and son's opinions to consider. Before I knew it, we were driving away, our decisions made and set in cheesecake.
     And that's the risk of my directing you to the Eli's web site. Let's say you get the Turtle Cheesecake and the Basque Cheesecake, which is my favorite. That means you leave the aforementioned Cinnamon Dark Chocolate and Hot Chocolate untried. And what if you were to, oh, be hit by a bus next week. You're thinking about something else. Cheesecake maybe. You assume the bus will stop at a stop sign and you step off the curb and it hurls you 30 feet in the air. And you're lying, broken, in the slush on Lawrence Avenue, and your last thought is, "Now I'll NEVER have Cinnamon Dark Chocolate Cheesecake."
     I worry about that. So the thing for me to do now is order one or both right away, suspending the Three Cakes Rule. Right? Wrong! Let me refer you to the opening sentiment. Who do I want to be? The kind of guy who indulges his every selfish whim? Who has to immediately experience everything that strikes his fancy? Or a measured, restrained, thoughtful person. Thinking of others. The kind of person who will send the delicious cheesecake that he wants for himself to someone else. Which is exactly what I did: ordered Cinnamon Dark Chocolate Cheesecake and had it sent, not to me, but to a pair of valued colleagues who have been helpful and diligent all year long. They can try the cheesecake for me, and then perhaps tell me what it's like. Meanwhile, by not trying the cheesecake, I give myself a reason to carry on living, by having something truly special to look forward to. Heck, maybe they'll invite me over for a slice and a cup of coffee. I'd like that. And if they don't, well, that's okay too.
     Today is Dec. 9. If you are lucky, there are people in your life you value, who make you less wretched than you would otherwise be — less wretched, perhaps, than you deserve to be. Why not give them the cheesecake they deserve? For Hanukkah. For Christmas. For the heck of it. They'll be better for it. And you know what? You'll be better for it too. Trust me on that.


  1. “whom make you less wretched”? It’s been a good 50 years since I last diagrammed a sentence, but shouldn’t that be “who”? (I freely admit I could be wrong though!)

  2. Wait. I want to know if the “boutique ice cream parlor in NYC” reference was a deliberate call back to yesterdays column or if it was just……[ see yesterdays column ].

    1. Yes! Serendipity 3. That's why I didn't name it. It felt too ... cute. Just a coincidence, which I guess is a kind of low grade serendipity.

  3. Aww—lovely, but grammar? Nitpicking

  4. I haven't had Eli's cheesecake for a long time and you tempted me to click on their site. I couldn't find the hot chocolate flavor, which is probably just as well. Aside from being diabetic, $58.00 for a cheesecake that serves 12 is a bit much for a retired old lady. So I'll make do with a lesser brand whilst living vicariously thru your excellent description.

    1. Go to Aldi, as in their freezer they have small servings of what is definitely Eli's under the Aldi name.

    2. Shhhhhh ... that's supposed to be a secret! ; )

    3. Thanks for the tip. I won't tell.

    4. now THAT exchange was funny

  5. Eli’s cheesecake is sent by the Devil. Has to be. As an old(72) diabetic who has loved the flavor and consistency of cheesecake since my Late Sainted Mother gave me homemade cheesecake as a small child Eli’s seemed heaven sent. Creamy, sweet, and oh so delicious. Our family would drive over an hour each year to attend Eli’s summer/fall festival. Easily brought back a dozen cakes each year that if there was any luck at all might last till Christmas. Cheesecake, one bite is too much and a box car full isn’t enough.

  6. They used to have a sugar-free cheesecake, still might for those worried about sugar. Also, Jewel has individual slices of Eli's and the full ones too , in their bakery, if you want portion control.


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