Thursday, November 28, 2013


I haven't posted all month. Not because I don't have plenty to be grateful for, but more because it's taking everything in me to get through the day-to-day of my life lately. I have watched friends and family post their daily list of things they are thankful for and I keep telling myself that I need to sit down for a few minutes and just put down my thoughts. Of course, that never happened.

Then, as I was prepping for our Thanksgiving dinner last night, I realized I do have something to be thankful for, something that is near and dear to my heart. Cheesecake.

For the past 10 years, I have spent almost every Thanksgiving with my in-laws. Sometimes my family joins us, and some years we have brought in friends who didn't have anywhere else to go. But no matter the crowd, I make the same marble cheesecake.  It's not my grandmother's recipe, nor is it some sort of gourmet find. In fact, I don't even know if I can call it a tradition yet; it's really more of a ritual, marking my own transition to the holiday season.

Last night, as I dug out the wrinkled and stained recipe, I noticed the date I had originally printed it: November 23, 2003, the first Thanksgiving I spent with David, the first year I invited his parents into my home. We had been dating just a few months- I can still remember how nervous I was when we sat around the table and how overjoyed I was when I realized my dessert had won my future father-in-law over. The way to any man's heart, especially an Italian's, is through his stomach. 

As I measured the sugar and blended the eggs, I could hear the scraping of Morgan's stool as she dragged it across the kitchen floor. In a matter of minutes, we were working together, chatting above the hum of the mixer. She asked me questions about the recipe, I told her that it's her grandpa's favorite. She asked to lick the spoon, I obliged.

The cheesecake wasn't done before Morgan went to sleep, which meant she didn't get to see the finished product. As she stood over my bed this morning, she whispered, "Happy Thanksgiving, Mom. Can we go see our cheesecake?" We made our way into the kitchen, and Morgan gasped as I opened the fridge, "It's just so beautiful, Mom! And we made it!"

And so this year,  I am thankful for cheesecake. For the way it connects my family, the way it connects me to my daughter, and for the way it reminds just how full and wonderful my life is.

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