Many people would agree that the best birthday cake is
the cheesecake. There are others who cannot imagine a
world where cheesecake is not created. Nothing
compares to having a delicious dairy treat every once
in a while – almost everyone loves a slice of
Cheesecake and the Ancient Greek
Many believe that cheesecake originated as a New York
City delicacy somewhere around the 20th century.
Surprisingly, Ancient Greeks have been creating
cheesecake for thousands of years before any American
even tried to put their hands – and mouth- on the
delicious indulgence. There are several publications
indicating that cheesecakes were first created during
the seventh and eighth centuries B.C. right on the
island of Samos in Greece.
Back then, the Greeks created cheesecakes by
combining, wheat flour, honey and cheese that had been
pounded to a paste-like and smooth consistency. The
mixture was then formed into cakes, baked and then
cooled before handed out. During the first Olympic
Games that happened in Greece in 776 B.C., the
athletes ate cheesecake, which provided them with the
energy they needed for several rigorous competitions.
Cheesecake became a popular Greek delicacy and was
even the ancestor of Western cultures wedding cake
tradition. It also became a custom for a Greek bride
to bake and serve cheesecakes to her new husbands
friends as a gesture of hospitality. This concept in
marriages eventually paved the way for wedding cakes.
During the time when the Romans occupied Greece,
cheesecake recipes were one of their rewards of war.
They quickly adapted the delightful taste of the
cheesecake and being a powerful empire that they were,
the Romans went on to conquer and occupy much of
Europe and Great Britain. During their conquests, the
Romans introduced the concept of cheesecake to various
lands, which came under their influence. It was only a
matter of time before European migrants carried with
them their treasured cheesecake recipes to the land of
the brave and the free, the America.
Although the original cheesecake recipe came from
Greece, it quickly adapted several culinary styles and
variations during its journey to other territories.
The basic ingredients, namely the cheese, flour and
sweetener, are still present but the contemporary
cheesecake bear little resemblance to the cheesecake
of Ancient Greece.
During the late 19th century, New York dairy farmers
invented cream cheese, which quickly became the
popular type of cheese used for cheesecakes. The flour
used for the crust was substituted with cookie crumbs
and graham cracker crumbs, which made the cheesecakes
from the United States popular. Ancient cheesecake
recipes also use honey as sweetener, but it was
eventually replaced by the more common granulated cane
sugar. In addition, the standard cheesecake today also
includes fillings, such as: milk or cream, flavorings,
butter and eggs.
Even the method of baking has evolved. Back then, all
the ingredients were mixed together all at once but
modern cheesecakes are made with layering the
ingredients; first the crust is made, and then the
filling and lastly, the toppings, if available, are
added. The toppings also have unlimited variety, which
include spices, chocolate, nuts, fruits, and whipped
cream, among other choices.
But even though the ingredients and the process of
baking have evolved, everyone still owes the divine
treat to the Greeks. Cheesecake has lived for years
and still continues to prosper – it is an ancient
delight that will never go out of style no matter how
old it is.