I wanted to make my wife a special dessert for her birthday. I'm not necessarily that guy; I'm mostly a dough guy. Like, bread dough, pizza dough, cookie dough. Pie crust, very good. Pie filling? Meh. Not that guy.

But even without much of a passion for the actual product, I suspect I've got a latent candymaker hanging around inside. A little Willy Wonka.

Yes. My little Willy. Have your fun, whatever. This is important.

I mean, it's not.


I have a disordered relationship with food. That sounds like a joke. It's sort of a mild joke.

But I think it's also true, and not in the conventional way. I overeat. I find emotional comfort in the idea of certain foods, even if the eventual result isn't comfortable at all. I'm a freaking human being.

I suspect I've always been an odd eater, though, a little out of the mainstream. For one thing, I've been a life-long intermittent faster, often (maybe usually) going long stretches without eating, then jamming it in all at once. That's actually not all that unusual, and I've read plenty of articles suggesting that it might be beneficial, at least in terms of weight control.

Not an issue, or wasn't for my early life. Although it may have led to issues later on. I think it probably did.

Anyway. Probably a screwy eater for whatever reason, despite my mother's best attempts to train me (and she tried). Not big on vegetables. Tendency toward over-consumption. Meh meh meh. I sound like an American here, that's all.

But after all of these years of this, and then the sudden weight gain in my 30s that left me waddling through most of my 40s, then dropping 100 pounds over the course of a disciplined year and staying that way for the past decade...I don't know what to eat. I'm not sure I really like eating anymore. I have some issues.


Not big ones. I'm just saying, they exist, and I'm probably not going to change. It puts me in an obnoxious position, after an adult lifetime of dreading the numbers going up, of concern about losing weight. I don't get it either. It doesn't seem right, but there you go. I had problems a couple of years ago with loss of appetite, probably mostly due to depression and a resultant twisted perspective. We're indoctrinated, for good reason, to see any weight loss as a positive thing. I watched the numbers drop and couldn't manage to work up much concern until a physical exam and lab tests that made me think I was dying. That'll do it.

Otherwise, not a big deal. I enjoy food, sometimes greatly enjoy it. Other times I get apathetic. It's just a thing.

So let me tell you about this cheesecake.


(Photo by Yvonne Ruperti. Click on the graphic to read her recipe.)

(Photo by Yvonne Ruperti. Click on the graphic to read her recipe.)

First, she doesn't really care for cheesecake. That's relevant to a degree.

But she doesn't like cake, either. What she really likes is chocolate, the darker the better. A square of quality dark chocolate can do the trick, although more is not out of the question.

Not being this dessert guy, I was thinking more along the lines of a torte, I think, just some sort of fancy dessert, very chocolaty, with a dense texture, not crumbly. I know my girl.

And I've seen Chocolat about a million times.

So I went with the cheesecake, a no-bake (!) kind that was messy to make but not difficult. The crust was food-processor-processed dark chocolate cookie wafers (Nabisco's Famous wafers, which are really thin and good). The filling was tons of cream cheese, sour cream, and melted chocolate, of course. Dusting of cocoa just to be consistent.

If you're a calorie person, I'm estimating that a thin slice of this cheesecake is 400 calories, comparable to a piece of cake. And you really don't want more than a thin slice.


The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of being a candymaker. I'm guessing a lot of people like that idea, and some of them do it. I'm not gonna hang out a shingle, but I could see turning into the old man who makes candy, good candy. Dark chocolate candy. Maybe some fruit, hard to say. I'm new.

I'm probably not going to get better at desserts, though. Not much interest, or need. Maybe a couple of pies over the holidays, occasionally something special. I make a decent babka, and some really decadent cinnamon rolls if I have the time to invest. But that'll do it, I think.

The rest is just feeding. Her day was busy, so I'd planned on making the birthday girl a late-ish but special meal. I already had a beautiful filet mignon in the sous vide pot, ready to reverse sear in a hot pan before plopping on her birthday plate.

But she thought we would go out, and it was her day so we did. The beef is in the fridge, a good idea that will be leftovers, I guess. We had a nice meal at a favorite restaurant, some cheesecake at home, and a viewing of Coco, which she and John had already seen and which is, by the way, pretty special itself.

And I had some insight into myself, and my particular way of eating. I've been trying to become more of a breakfast eater, for one thing, another life-long non-habit. I'm doing pretty well in that regard, if a little hit-and-miss. I'm just not a fan of traditional breakfast fare, and I'm not exactly in the mood to cook in the morning.

This morning? 400 calories is not bad at all for breakfast, and it's easy. A piece of cake, actually.

Chuck SigarsComment