Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Monday, October 6, 2014


Betty Grable
Betty Grable 20th Century Fox” by Frank Powolny - 20th Century Fox studio promo portrait. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

One of the Minyan Boyz, a gentleman who retired a number of years ago from an important (and presumably well remunerated) gig at a major corporation, has taken up glamour photography as a hobby.

To quote the definition from Wikipedia, glamour photography is “a genre of photography in which the subjects, usually female, are portrayed in erotic or exciting ways... typically less explicit than pornography and erotica.” So you may or may not get a peek at a nipple now and again, but don’t expect to get a glimpse of schmutschkie.

This fellow’s work is actually quite good, and it enlivens many a post-Minyan breakfast when he passes his latest work around. His new iPhone 6 doubleplusfuckinghuge - the one with the Diamondvision™-size Retina display - shows his photographs off beautifully.

Glamour photography has been around for a long time, probably as long as photography... but it reached a sort of zenith during WWII and the years immediately afterward, with models such as Rita Hayworth, Betty Grable, Bettie Page, and Marilyn Monroe posing for what were popularly called pinup photos.

Another term for pinup photos is cheesecake photos, for reasons which are somewhat obscure. Life Magazine’s opinion was that
The origin of the term “cheesecake” to characterize these pinup shots is a matter of some contention, although one of the most widely accepted explanations is that men who first saw these sorts of photos in the early pinup days would exclaim that looking at them was “better than [eating] cheesecake.”
(In case you’re curious, the corresponding term for pinup photos featuring male models is “beefcake.” Ecch.)

Me, I like cheesecake photos... especially those featuring actual cheesecake. Viz:

Togarashi cheesecake slice
Togarashi cheesecake.

I don’t bake cheesecakes very often, for reasons which should be obvious: If I bake ’em, I eat ’em, and I don’t really need to be packing my face with these most insidious and deadly calorie bombs. But I could not resist trying out this one.

You’re looking at a togarashi cheesecake, generously flavored with nanami togarashi, a delightfully complex Japanese spice mixture that contains chili pepper, orange peel, black and white sesame seeds, Japanese pepper, ginger, and seaweed. There are other kinds of togarashi - shichimi togarashi, f’rinstance - but I like the heat and citrusy undertones of the nanami version. It’s also great sprinkled on eggs and on smoked salmon.

The recipe, which I first saw in an inflight magazine, may be found buried in this online article. I adapted it slightly by jacking up the amount of togarashi and substituting Lyle’s Golden Syrup for the sorghum.

How bizarre does it sound, anyway... a cheesecake recipe featuring a gingersnap crust with a filling containing an obscure spice and goat cheese? Bizarre enough. But the results were surprisingly good. The goat cheese was undetectable, at least as far as the usual “goatiness” is concerned, having contributed just a trace of sharpness that plays well off the lemon and the warmth of the chili. In this cake, the marriage of sweet and hot is a match made in heaven.

Betty Grable would’ve loved it - as long as you didn’t tell her that it contained a Japanese ingredient, that is.

1 comment:

DogsDontPurr said...

Speaking of bizarre sounding cheesecakes: on the room service menu of the hotel was I staying last night, they had a bacon cheesecake served with roasted garlic, grilled bread and cherry jam. This was listed in their "Midnight Snacks" section.

Alas, I didn't get to try it, but I'm definitely going to save room for it next time.