When I was a teenager, my most amazing Mom became ill. Tragically ill. From the time of her diagnosis, she had a private nurse for part of the day. A strong and spectacular character in a 90-pound body, “Gerri” taught us so much, about life, about love, about how to deal with all we had before us. She became part of our family. She became our Mom’s best friend, and was one of the dearest people we ever knew. From these difficult years came many sorrows but also many blessings, including Gerri.
Having been married to a recently-deceased Army man, Gerri brought with her an inner strength coupled with a zest for life that one rarely encounters, but from which always learns. Originally from the East Coast and having traveled much of the world in her lifetime, Gerri also brought with her an array of foods and recipes our beef-and-potatoes Midwestern palates had not yet encountered.
One day, she used a strange word in a sentence….”Cheesecake”. What? Say that again? Cheese and Cake? How could that be? We didn’t know cream cheese from Kraft Singles in our house, so cheese and cake? Um, … no, … thank you? It seems Gerri had hosted a dinner party and brought her leftover cheesey cake to our house for us. She swore up and down to our disbelieving faces that it was fabulous, and ultimately, maybe 2 of the 6 of us agreed to try it. We were the lucky ones, weren’t we?
At that point in my life, cheesecake totally became my favorite food EVER! Where had this been all my life? And how did cheese become a dessert? And where could I get some more? I had to try and make it. Gerri brought me her recipe and an appropriate pan to use. I spent an entire morning putting it together and baking it. Maybe it spent a bit too long in the oven. It was a bit, shall we say, firm. But at the same time, utterly delicious. (That should let you know how difficult it is to ruin this.)
I no longer have Gerri's Cheesecake Recipe, but this Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake, a remarkably similar recipe if my memory serves me, brings back memories of that discovery and, indeed, all of the joy she brought to us and to our beloved Mom, during the days she spent with us. It is perfect - a bit lemony, super creamy, richly-flavored on a crisp graham cracker crust, topped with sweet berries. Still one of my all-time favorites!
Also, it is so easy to make you won't believe it - it really does just take a few minutes to put together. Some time to bake and cool, but so worth it! And added thanks to our friend Gerri - for all that you were to us and all that you taught us - from friendship to cheesecake! Enjoy!
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Kelsie | the itsy-bitsy kitchen says
Wow. That sounds like such a difficult time; I’m glad you had someone like Gerri to help you through. And this cheesecake! OH MY! It looks wonderful!
Thanks so much, Kelsie!
Having a critically sick parent is such a huge load for a teenager to bare. Gerri sounds like an incredible person though 🙂 I don’t eat a lot of cheesecake but feel like I have to try this one with all those gorgeous big blueberries. Thanks for sharing Laura x
Thanks, Ruby! Something about this time of year makes me want lemons and blueberries together. And official blueberry season isn’t until June! So we have many berry recipes to anticipate. I appreciate your comments so much!
heather (delicious not gorgeous) says
that sounds like a tough time, but i’m glad it let you to meeting gerri! she sounds like such a wonderful person (: and all that blueberry topping on this cheesecake looks delicious ?
Thanks, Heather! I always tell people that I feel like whatever each of our lives is, becomes our “normal”. You often don’t know until you look back what you’ve been through, learned and even benefitted from. And – It is some yummy blueberry sauce. ?