I had never made a cheesecake before I set foot in Bellingham. If I am being 100% honest, cheesecakes aren’t my favorite. I mean, yes I can crush a Cheesecake Factory cheesecake, but the thought of mixing together that much cream cheese didn’t sound appetizing.
Enter my friend Joanna.
Joanna can’t eat a handful of things because of allergies and when the time came that I would have to bake something for a lunch she’d be at I took it as a challenge.
Cheesecake with coconut sugar and an agave nectar sweetened shortbread crust. Top with fresh berries. It was more tart then cheesecake the first time I made it. But it seemed to be a winner so I tried it again for friendsgiving.
I got a little fancier with this one adding homemade whipped cream. The cheesecake was a little more cheesecake like this time around and I think much more delicious.
But, I honestly didn’t think I’d make another cheesecake, I thought it would more a recipe I could tuck into my pocket for a rainy day.
Then, my lovely friend Joanna and her then fiancé now husband Patrick asked if I’d make a dozen for their wedding.
It took my three days, one family trip to Costco, waaaaaay too many ounces of cream cheese, multiple trips to the store, filling my entire fridge with said cheesecakes, 9 spring forms, 12 microwave covers, a trip to the farmers market and of course one maid of honor turned soul sister.
And I would do it all again tomorrow. (Though maybe I would steal their kitchen aid this time).
I love baking for people. I love giving my time and producing something that someone will enjoy.
And it might not always look perfect. It might not work out each time. But when it does…man.
I made two more cheesecakes last week. One for a bachelorette party and one that I had made a mental note in my head to make after seeing that Joanna and Patrick only had one slice of the dozen at their wedding.
The one from the bachelorette party barely got eaten. So it just sat in my fridge for two days as the whirlwind of (another) wedding weekend happened. And Saturday night after this beautiful, holy moment took place, my crew of people ending up at my house before going out.
And we grabbed the cheesecake out of the fridge and set in on the counter and people grabbed forks and spoon and dug in.
It was messy, and there were crumbs in the floor and a couple stray pieces got left behind. To me, right there in that moment though, was perfection. We didn’t need plates or chairs or even a table. We just need the laughter and something to stand around and lean on.
And it was more than ok that we made a mess.
That’s what cooking and baking and creating in the kitchen is to me. It’s not necessarily in the perfectly made pastry, or the chocolate chip cookie that’s the same size as the other 11 in the dozen.
It’s about making a bit of a mess, and laughing and inviting people into your creation.
Really, to me, baking and cooking is about community.
It’s how I bring people together.
Be it a dozen cheesecakes for a wedding, or one eaten with plastic forks directly out of the pan as the woman changed out of their heels.
So, maybe attempt something you haven’t before, or maybe just make a friend a grilled cheese in a cold day. See what happens and what you can create when make a bit of a mess and allow someone in along the way.