Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Knocking on Heaven's Door: Icebox Cheesecake

In celebration of Memorial Day I made a recipe that was written on an index card in Grandma's script and stuck in the pages of her cookbook. The day was hot with a temperature in the 90's and the Icebox Cheesecake seemed the ideal recipe to try. I marveled that the recipe had to have been written around 30 years ago and that it remained in the folds of the well-turned pages in spite of the many times the book was open and shut, packed and moved, and handed from mother to daughter to daughter.

Memorial Day is also a time to remember those who have come and gone on this earth. Obeisance to my culinary heros led me back to the hallowed pages of Grandma's cookbook. The idea that we all have a one way ticket on this train, that we are here but for a stay, was not lost to me that day. My mother had recently suffered an illness that scared us all a bit and my parents recently lost a good friend who was an important person to those who knew him and his family. I read the obituaries with alarming regularity, mostly to honor the gift of life and to remind me to be grateful for the day and the opportunities therein. I feel in living my life, I am traveling a path that has been well trod by many wiser than me and I like to look at their footprints as I walk the road. When I am quiet I hear their voices, when I look with my heart, I can see their faces and I am taken back to places like my grandparents' front porch, the little church in PA where my father pastored, the sandbox,the Kindergarten classroom, the college laboratory and so many other venues where I learned from those who were my teachers and my guides.

We are all of us, with our friend Bob Dylan, knocking on Heaven's door and will be remembered hopefully well by those we have loved and cherished when we are gone. In the above picture, you see my daughter Emily and her fiance who are embarking on the journey of marriage in about a month. They practiced their cake sharing moment with this cheesecake. Chris, said fiance, after his taste pronounced it "gold". Or maybe it was his bride-to-be he was referring to! I wish them many happy years to make memories together.

This cheesecake from the handwritten card of my grandma is very tasty and fit for a special summer day.

Icebox Cheesecake
1 stick butter melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (crushed)
2 T sugar.
Press this mixture in a 8 X 13 pan, saving a few crumbs for the top.
1 package lemon jello
1 cup hot water
1 8 oz package of cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Dissolve jello in 1 cup hot water and let it set until it begins to solidify. Beat cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar until creamy. Beat the can of condensed milk in a chilled bowl. Add jello to cream cheese mixture and fold in whipped milk. Sprinkle with crumbs and put in refrigerator until served.

Wishing you time to enjoy good memories,

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