On seeing the 100% perfect cheesecake one beautiful September morning
'On a beautiful September morning, in my tiny dim-lit kitchen, I sat looking at the 100% perfect cheesecake.
Tell you the truth, she's not that stunning. And I don't think she stands out in any way. Her crust is nothing special. The corners and edges are a bit ragged and out of shape. She isn't satiny and doesn't look hot either. But I know, from the freshly-baked aroma that flows around the room: She's the 100% perfect cheesecake. The moment I see her, there's a rumbling in my chest. My mouth is dripping like the edge of a roof in the monsoons.'
I slightly distorted Murakami's opening of one of his short stories since it fit how I wanted my cake to be described. I wasn't able to put into my own words how magnificent she looked. This is how I ushered in my birthday, by baking myself a cheesecake. I want a tissue. Two years ago, I could not have imagined my life being surrounded by everything cheesecake. Right now, it looks like a match made in cheesecake heaven. A romance, very paradisiacal. Me and her. She might not always be the perfect piece, but deep inside I know she is 100% perfect for me.
I've always loved the allure of a bunch of grapes. While thinking of baking a mandarin orange cheesecake for an exotic birthday celebration, I found these tiny Black Corinth grapes. I could not take my eyes off them and made up my mind right there that they would embellish my cheesecake for that morning. Also called table grapes, or more glamorously titled Champagne Grapes, you will not be able to stop nibbling on these seedless gems. The entire bunch is edible on its own, even the tiny stems. If I could call them something else, they'd most certainly be called little beads of bliss.
They complement this Ricotta Cheesecake so well; the tart-y sweetness of the grapes cuts through the perfectly cheesy cream cheese filling that is almost dream-like. So along with the creaminess swimming on your tongue, imagine soft fruity bursts of joy at intervals. Exactly why I call them little beads of bliss. I took her into my room and had bites from a bar of chocolate with her. Something to up the steam, surely you wouldn't blame me?
Did I tell you about the rustic dried blueberries hiding in the bottom of the cheesecake? Oh, and about the muscovado sugar wallowing in the cream cheese mixture? Yes, there is more to it than meets the eye. Putting them in was spontaneous, just a whim.
'Maybe you have your own particular favorite kind of cheesecake - one with rich creamy insides, say, or a firmer body, or citrusy, or you're drawn for no good reason to cheesecakes which are simple - or maybe a classic one. I have my own preferences, yes of course. Sometimes in a bakery or a restaurant, I'll catch myself staring at that cheesecake at the display window next to my table just because I like the shape of those lightly browned, puffed edges.'
I do not want to be fully drenched in nostalgia just because it's my birthday. I care about treating my cheesecakes well and that's all. That is all I want to do in my life. It's turned around so much that all I dream about is my oven bell that tells me she's ready.
One quick look and I know my life is good. I don't know what your beliefs are - I know they are personal - but there IS a kink-loving cheesecake god out there. Definite.
Putting up this cheesecake song again - Your Spell by Bobby Glover
[Passages from Haruki Murakami's short 'On seeing the 100% perfect girl one beautiful April morning' slightly modified]