In the short time that I’ve been in business, I’ve been asked to photograph some really special memories for clients. The beauty of being a storytelling photographer is that I am able to witness some of the most meaningful everyday moments as well as some amazing and life changing ones. I can’t even begin to explain how awesome it feels to be asked to be a part of such important moments and to be responsible for preserving them to the best of my abilities. I really love that more and more people are seeing the true value in having a photographer present, even just once, for their family Christmas parties, holiday traditions, birthday parties and anytime extended families are able to hang out with each other.
Recently, I was asked if I would photograph a family tradition that has been brought over from Italy and maintained for decades. Before Easter every year, sibling, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents in this family get together to make Italian cheese pies. This year, everyone took some time to write down a favorite memory of making pies over the years, so instead of adding my own commentary I’ll let their words tell the story.
The next Easter, 1961, Grandma Allen sternly taught me the whole process. There was ONLY one way to make cheesecakes. I realized how important this tradition was to her. Often, over the years, while we were mixing the dough, kneading the dough “until we see the bubbles”, cutting out the holes with the thimble, doing the rolling and “the flip”, Grandma would tell me, “I’m so glad you wanted to learn how to make cheesecakes, Sue”. Grandma Allen and I made cheesecakes together for decades. We learned many other things together, too. I miss her at Easter. I miss her often. Grandma would be touched and grateful for the effort and love you, her family, create by coming together and continuing this tradition.
I’ve always loved the little tools, so specialized they only come out once a year. There’s nothing else for them to do but make little pinches or zigzag tracks.
What I remember about Cheese Cake is when I first tried it I gagged.
Almost to lure you in, the word “cake” attached itself to something so decidedly, so aggressively not sweet. And attached itself as well to Easter no less! This cake was an education. And while I still wouldn’t touch Sara Lee, and Gino’s is a memory, Nickerson cheesecake in all its history and savory glory lives on. I could go for a piece right now.
I love the time my Ruby dog licked a cheesecake and no one else saw.
Cheesecake reminds me of fun times with family. It reminds me of everyone together at Grandma and Grandpa’s house bonding over cheesecake. Some of my best memories are of celebrating Easter at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.
I’m really glad that in addition to sharing these stories, this family will be able to show future generations exactly what Easter pie making looked like today.