Thursday, July 13, 2006


My mother-in-law, Audrey, was a great cook. She took great care and concern in the kitchen.
When I was pregnant with daughter #1 I came up with this hair-brain idea that I should bake desserts for restaraunts. Audrey, at some point in her life, used to make cheesecakes and sell them. These cheesecakes are a matter of legend in my husband's family history.
So, Audrey calls me up and offers me her cheesecake recipe. The covetted cheesecake recipe. The recipe that Audrey used to make ends meet. The recipe that she "wows" friends and family with. The recipe that her godson begs her for whenever she visits him. THAT CHEESECAKE RECIPE. We are talking about 17 years ago here. I remember sitting at our kitchen table and writing it down.
The sad part is....I never made the cheesecake. I had my own cheesecake recipe that I wanted to use. My own cheesecake recipe that I used to "wow" friends and family with. I politely wrote it down and put it into a notebook holder that I put all my recipes in. I used my own cheesecake recipe to "wow" the restaraunts and it was a mainstay in my baking business...just like Audrey's recipe was to hers.
Jump forward to the present and the planning of Audrey's Memorial......
Most of the family is gathered around and thinking of foods to serve. The cheesecake recipe comes up but no one has a copy of it (or so we think). We do not have access to Audrey's house so no one can go and look for it. Then......I remember sitting at the kitchen table all those years ago writing down her recipe. "Oh my God!", I say, "I think I've got it in my recipe file."
And I did. It was made for the memorial. I made one and my sister-in-law made one. They were great!!
Audrey is deceased. She has left her physical body. May her cheesecake live on.........


Preheat oven to 350.

10 Social Teas or equal amount of Graham Crackers crushed
1 T. Butter at room temp.
1 T. Sugar
Cream the butter and sugar together (this can be done by hand) and add the crushed cookies or crackers.
Press into a springform pan. (I think that a 9” or 10” size will do.)

2 lbs. Cream cheese at room temp.
6 Eggs
1 1/2 C. Sugar
2 T. Flour
1 T. melted Butter
1/2 pint Sour Cream
1/4 C. Heavy Cream
1 t. Vanilla
Using a blender, blend at low to medium speed until completely mixed together.
If your blender can’t handle all of the ingredients at once then 1/2 the recipe and do two different batches that you can combine in a big bowl.

Spread onto the crust 1/4 C. jam of your choice.

Pour in the filling.
Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. After 1 hour turn off the oven and crack the oven door open. Let stand in there for 1 hour.

May I take a moment here and say that I feel really special. Audrey gave me the recipe. Me. I think she saw a kindred spirit in me. Who knows. I do know that it was me.
Me....The covetted cheesecake recipe.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


I have been thinking about my deceased mother-in-law a lot lately. No wonder because we are still in the horrible entanglement of her estate. I just can't even talk about anymore it makes us so upset.
This is Audrey's latke recipe....with a good story.

9 large russet potatoes, peeled
3 small onions, grated
3 eggs
1 tsp. Oil
salt and pepper to taste
Oil for frying

Take 3 of your potatoes and boil and mash them. ()You may add milk and buter to your mashed potatoes if you wish.) Set your mashed potatoes aside.
Grate the remaining potatoes. Put in a large bowl. As you are putting your grated potatoes in your bowl press out excess liquid.
Add your mashed potatoes, onion, eggs, oil, salt, and pepper.
Mix all together.
Heat a frying pan, griddle or cast iron skillet over medium high heat with a layer of oil on the bottom of the pan.
Wash your hands and grab a handful of potato batter and shape it into a circle about 2-3 inches in diameter and about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. It is all personal preference.
Fry latkes. When golden and crisp on each side, drain them on paper towels.

When my Mother-In-Law, Audrey Thomas, was pregnant with her first child her father took her out to lunch at Ratners Dairy Restaurant. Ratners was a well known Jewish Orthodox Kosher restaurant on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. As they were finishing their meal their waiter came by asking how everything was. Audrey replied that her potato latkes were so wonderful and how great it would be to have the recipe. The waiter became distressed and did an about face into the kitchen. Audrey could see into the kitchen through the windows of the big swinging kitchen doors. She saw the waiter making frantic gestures to one of the cooks. Both the waiter and the cook came out into the dining room in heated discussion. The cook had a large ladle in his hand and was pointing it directly at Audrey. They both went back into the kitchen gesturing and discussing. The waiter then came out and handed Audrey a piece of paper with a handwritten recipe on it. He told her that Ratners is a restaurant and selling their food is their livelihood. It was against their policy to share recipes. But since it was quite obvious that Audrey was pregnant they had a religious philosophical conundrum. In the Jewish Orthodox faith it is believed that if a pregnant woman makes a request of someone that someone must oblige if it is at all humanly possible. Of course it was possible (even though they had a “no share” policy) for them to give her their recipe so they had to. He asked her to not share the recipe with anyone.
So Audrey got her recipe and she didn’t share it for many years. Ratners has since closed so you can enjoy your latkes guilt free!!