the wheel of cheesecake

Last week we talked about angels and food, how it’s something totally unnecessary to them as pure spirits, but something they recognize as not only necessary for us but also symbolic.

When my son was in the hospital a few years ago, it was a stressful time. The local hospital had decided after a consultation with their attorney that it was medically necessary to transfer Kiddo#1 to a hospital 50 miles away, so every day I was making the drive, dealing with a profoundly apathetic (not to mention incompetent) nursing staff, and doctors who only stayed fifteen seconds in the room at a time (if you could catch them at all, since they only appeared at 5AM or 1oPM.)  That situation still leaves me furious years later because of how badly my son was treated.

I was at the breaking point. Kiddo#3 was five months old; Kiddo#2 was two. We were trying to keep them occupied in a small hospital room, and everything was tense.

I took the baby and went to the hospital cafeteria to pick up some coffee. On the way down, I thought to my guardian angel, “I need cheesecake.”

A thought popped into my head, and I said, “Maybe the whole cheesecake, yeah.”

A bit later, I thought, “Caramel turtle cheesecake.”

It felt as if the angel was laughing, so I added, “Chocolate cheesecake on chocolate graham cracker pie crust.”

And then something weird happened: I felt the suggestion of strawberries and cinnamon.

Now, cinnamon and strawberries don’t go together. I don’t know why — it’s like cinnamon and chocolate, both yummy separately but disgusting together.

Yet it made sense that cinnamon does well on cheesecake, and so do strawberries, and I like them both, so why  not put them together and make something lovely and even more stress-relieving?

I went ahead and designed My Guardian Angel’s Wheel Of Cheesecake that he could bring to me (I knew this was fantasy, but hey, if he did it, I would not have objected. I still wouldn’t, come to think of it!) and came up with different flavors for every slice of cheesecake.

But in my heart, I kept going back to that cinnamon-strawberry cheesecake because it meant something more to me than just “Here, eat this.” It meant, “I’m worried about you,” and “I pay attention to what you like,” and even more, “I’ve never actually tasted these two things myself.”

I held onto that during the next stressful days because caught up in a system that didn’t care about my son, my family or my sanity, there was someone who cared very much about speaking to me in a language I understood.


  1. knit_tgz

    I’m sorry, but cinnamon and chocolate is a yummy combination…

    (Now if strawberries were still in season, you could be sure I would try them with cinnamon, just to disprove you 😉 )

    1. philangelus

      Really? Do you have different cinnamon in Europe? Because in my reality, cinnamon + chocolate = disgusting.

      1. knit_tgz

        No, but there are gourmet (usually dark) chocolates with the most unusual ingredients: pepper, cinnamon, salt (this one I haven’t tasted yet)…

        1. philangelus

          Oh, “gourmet,” as in “chocolate-covered jalapenos”etc. Those people like to do difficult things with food by “marrying” tastes that can and should have nothing to do with one another. 🙂 Dark-chocolate-covered lima beans for example. 🙂

  2. knit_tgz

    We do not have lima beans here… at least that I know of. So I cannot imagine the flavour. But jalapeños doesn’t sound that odd, considering that dark chocolate mixes well with pepper or cayenne.

    1. philangelus

      Well, I’m just glad he didn’t suggest a jalapeno/chocolate cheesecake. 🙂 Because I would have said no thanks.

  3. Ken Rolph

    As I read this post I nibbled on my block of Lindt Excellence chilli and dark chocolate, wondering how it would taste with cinnamon. Probably not good. The cinnnamon would wipe out the delicious afterburn of the chilli. I might try some cinnamon with the ginger Lindt. I can’t do that at the moment (I ate it all this morning).

    Dark chilli chocolate is closer to how the South Americans took it. A powerful drug. Recently Jan was doing a history task on South America and asked me for my expert opinion on chocolate. I prepared them a good range of the Lindt, starting with 85% cocoa, working through the chilli, then the ginger and onto the effete chocolates we have today, like mint and orange. Just for fun I put in some Old God Rum ‘n’ Raisin chocolate, as eaten by pirates.

    Jan said the kids were surprised. What they call “chocolate” is a sugary confection that would inspire no one to any kind of human sacrifice. There is even white “chocolate”, which is chocolate lacking in any cocoa at all. It was a trick starting with the 85% cocoa. No one except health freaks actually eats that. But after eating that they were more willing to appreciate the chilli chocolate. It does have a taste which lingers.

    Unfortunately the Old Gold chocolate never made it out of the staffroom.

    1. knit_tgz

      85% isn’t too much, as long as you use good cocoa. If you use cocoa which is not good enough it will taste powdery and just bitter. But I have tasted 82% (OK, it wasn’t 85%) dark chocolate from 3 regions (S. Tomé, Ecuador and Papua New Guinea) and it was soft, creamy, and I could taste the subtle differences (S. Tomé had a hint of coffee flavour and the creamiest texture, Ecuador was spicier, Papua New Guinea was sweeter and more perfumed, but this could be specific from the plantations chosen and not the origins, I am just a beginner chocolate geek).

      I have once tasted pure cocoa paste (if you will, 100% cocoa chocolate) and it was surprisingly good. Again, the higher the percentage, the better the cocoa must be, or it will just be unbearably bitter and powdery.

      In truth’s interest: I have never tried chocolate with cinnamon, but I have seen it for sale. Of course, I went for the cayenne one 🙂 I love chocolate, to tell you the truth (white chocolate IS NOT chocolate). Dark, ginger, mint, chili/pepper/cayenne, orange, any spirit (rum, cognac, whisky). But mostly dark (70% upwards). And not for any health reason. It is just GOOD.

      Jane: I am sorry for hijacking your comments…

      1. philangelus

        Go ahead. I’m in awe of your (you-plural) black-belt chocolate prowess. I have nowhere near your mad chocolate skillz.

  4. cricketB

    Then there’s chocolate with chicken. Mmmm! (Hint: Google Mole sauce.)

    1. knit_tgz

      Need to try it!

      1. cricketB

        The local butcher has a wonderful chili and cocoa pdr rub for roasts. Had it on chicken breasts last night. (You can tell I was toast yesterday — husband cooked and I didn’t pay much attention at all to the meal. But it was yummy.)

  5. Xallanthia

    I make a smoothie with frozen strawberries and yogurt (and honey and a little milk), which tastes delicious with a dash of cinnamon.