Cheesecake: first aid for depression
Author JK Rowling once wrote that chocolate has always been her go-to first aid when it comes to bouts of depression. As a depression sufferer myself, I can concur, but I also posit that there’s an even more effective treatment for the particularly hard days of the winter blues when Jack Frost tightens his chokehold – cheesecake. It was on a particularly foggy day three years ago around this time that I discovered this. Winter seemed to be lingering longer than was ever reasonable and some employment struggles had left my soul in need of some omega-level comfort food. I had a job interview that day for a cooking position at a restaurant close to my hometown of Dover, N.L. and while I was optimistic about it initially and was more than qualified for the position, the interview quickly took a turn for the worse when my potential employer nonchalantly asked if I suffered from depression, as he wanted to make sure his next employee wouldn’t call in asking for mental health days. I was gobsmacked and when I made a face and told him that I did indeed have depression/anxiety, the man further surprised me by asking whether or not I was medicated – which as most of you hopefully know is an extremely offensive thing to ask someone, especially during a job interview. Despite understanding most folks in my rural area weren’t exactly in touch with the regulations in Canada’s Human Rights Commission or understand mental illnesses shouldn’t be asked about by employers and that it was illegal to turn down anyone for employment based on mental illness in Canada (except for The Armed Forces), I couldn’t help but decide working for that person would be a mistake. I heaved a laboured sigh and briskly walking out the door without another word. I returned home; anger, frustration, disappointment and despair were threatening to break my composure and I searched for something – anything – to occupy my mind. Several minutes later, I found myself making: White Chocolate Black Forest Cheesecake 1 cup Oreo crumbs 2 tbsp melted margarine ½ cup sugar 1 block cream cheese, softened 1 egg 2 ½ cups white chocolate chips 1 tsp vanilla 1 tsp salt 1 cup cherry pie filling Directions In a large bowl, combine sugar, Oreo crumbs and margarine and mix until uniform. Line an accommodating glass pie pan or casserole dish with the Oreo crumb being sure to pack them evenly and tightly. Preheat oven to 375 F. In another large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, egg, salt and vanilla. Blend on medium speed until smooth and pour evenly over oreo crumb crust. Bake for roughly 30 minutes or until centre is firm. Remove from heat and place white chocolate chips around the edges (around 1x1 centimetres thick) of the pan while still hot to melt into an upper crust. Let cool completely and add a layer of cherry pie filling. Melt remaining chocolate chips in a small saucepan on minimum heat and lay it out flat on a piece of parchment paper. Refrigerate and break to decorate the top of your cheesecake. Serves 8 – 10. Needless to say, after imbuing myself with this burst of divine cheesecake, I felt much better and had a measure of renewed optimism. I ended up landing another job just a few weeks later with much better results, but that’s another story, for another edition of Food Dude. Terry Bursey, otherwise known as the Food Dude, is a Newfoundland chef transplanted to Ontario who enjoys putting his mark on traditional recipes and inventing new tasty treats with unexpected ingredients. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.