I have a bit of a reputation in my family.
Jessica is the caterer for our events, and the one who keeps us on track with healthy eating. But I’m the baker, the dessert maker. Whenever a holiday or occasion comes around, sweets are my go-to contribution. And I tend to get a bit wild when I have the opportunity to bake for a crowd, when I can try my hand at all the fancy, complicated things that I would never make for myself. Like red velvet cheesecake and from-scratch cinnamon rolls at Christmas, or southern caramel cake at Easter.
I’m even starting to get special requests.
Most of the women in my family read Southern Living magazine. I’ve always liked its documentation of life in the South — the gardening, the travel, the style, the entertaining. And the food. Oh, the food! SL’s recipes are always incredible, and usually an interesting riff on a southern classic. I saw recently that Southern Living‘s readership skews older, which is endangering its livelihood. That surprised me. I grew up reading my mom’s copies, and have subscribed myself since college. I’ve always found it entertaining, useful and relevant — never stuffy or outdated or boring. I didn’t get homesick much while I lived in New York, but I loved how this magazine kept me in touch with my roots. So, if you’re a naturally born G.R.I.T., a southern expat “living abroad” elsewhere in the U.S. or just southern by choice, get your subscription pronto! Let’s keep it going. You won’t be sorry.
The February cover story this year featured lemon desserts, with a beautiful lemon cheesecake on the cover.
My aunt Dell, a loyal reader and consumer of my blog cooking, sent me a note kindly asking if I’d make it at Easter. Of course.
Only I didn’t get to go home for Easter this year.
Instead, I visited a few weekends later for my other aunt Taffy’s birthday. Since we planned a family gathering then as well, I thought this cheesecake would be the perfect treat to honor Taffy and also make good on my earlier promise.
You may notice that this post is only a “part one.” That’s because, before I could assemble the cheesecake, I had to do a few other things first…