Oct 23, 2011

We Are the World, We Are the Cheesecake

When the We Are the World extended-play album came out in 1985, I saved my pennies for weeks so that I could own the song to which I had spent so many awkward middle-school dances pressed against the arrhythmic body of a smelly teenage boy. Not only would I be able to listen to it over and over again, in turn driving everyone in my house insane, but I would also sleep more peacefully at night, empowered by the pride that comes with knowing your hard-earned tooth fairy money is going to feed hungry Ethiopians.

Little did I know that, decades later I would fall in love with a real-live Ethiopian, who would eventually find the dusty LP nestled between the Footloose soundtrack and Pat Benatar’s Get Nervous.

G: You bought We Are the World?

TSADA: Of course I did!

G:  ...

TSADA:  So...aren't you going to thank me?

G: Thank you for what?

TSADA: Um, for what do you think? For helping to feed your black ass!

G:  *glares*

TSADA:  *grins proudly

G: Ugh. White people.

Of course, I kid my beloved G, who himself did not grow up in poverty back in Africa. Not only did he have enough to eat, but his family also owned a television upon which he, too, was able to watch the We Are the World video, inwardly laughing at the the fat, lazy, American assholes who honestly believed that their five dollars spent on a hit record constituted an act of monumental charity. Little did he know he would grow up to fall in love with one of those assholes.

Speaking of fat and lazy, fast-forward to October 2011, when the lazy American and the cynical Ethiopian decide to engage in gluttony share a meal at The Cheesecake Factory one Sunday evening. (Don’t judge—we had a gift card.) After he had scarfed down a steak and I, a delicious Tuna Tataki Salad, the waitress asked if we still had room for cheesecake.

Now, like most native New Yorkers, I’m  a snob when it comes to cheesecake. Chain restaurant cheesecake does not excite me.  Forget the fact that I’m supposedly cheese-free (um, that was my doppelganger, not me, who stole five heavenly forkfuls of mac and cheese from the side dish G ordered); I just can’t love cheesecake unless it’s a fat slice of dense bliss (preferably plain, or possibly topped with a few shellacked strawberries) served in a deli amidst the fragrance cocktail of corned beef, pickles, and kasha varnishkas.

But we had about twenty bucks left on our gift card—just enough for an overpriced slice of cheesecake and a tip. We studied the cheesecake menu, which boasted the mostly-gagtastic flavors as follow:

• The Original

• Fresh Strawberry

• Hershey®'s Chocolate Bar Cheesecake

• Ultimate

Red Velvet Cake


• Reese's® Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake

• Piña Colada Cake Cheesecake

• 30th Anniversary Chocolate Cake Cheesecake

• Godiva® Chocolate Cheesecake

• White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle®

• Fresh Banana Cream Cheesecake

• Adam's Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple

• White Chocolate Caramel Macadamia Nut Cheesecake

• Lemon Raspberry Cream Cheesecake

• Dulce de Leche Caramel Cheesecake

• Chocolate Coconut Cream Cheesecake

• Tiramisu Cheesecake

• Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake

• Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

• Chocolate Tuxedo Cream™ Cheesecake

• Kahlua® Cocoa Coffee Cheesecake

• Pineapple Upside-Down Cheesecake

• Chocolate Raspberry Truffle®

• Dutch Apple Caramel Streusel

• Chocolate Chip Cookie - Dough Cheesecake

• Oreo® Cheesecake

• Low Carb Cheesecake

• Low Carb Cheesecake with Strawberries

• Wild Blueberry White Chocolate Cheesecake™

• Key Lime Cheesecake

• Caramel Pecan Turtle Cheesecake

• Snickers® Bar Chunks and Cheesecake

• Craig's Crazy Carrot Cake Cheesecake

• Brownie Sundae Cheesecake

• Cherry Cheesecake

• Pumpkin Cheesecake

• Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake

• Peppermint Bark Cheesecake

The über-heroic Hershey's Chocolate Bar Cheesecake.
It's the Bono of cheesecakes.
After much agonizing, we decided on a slice of the Hershey’s Chocolate Bar Cheesecake to go. Of course, I, purist that I am, personally don’t believe in chocolate cheesecake, but then I insisted my dairy-free ass wouldn’t be so much as tasting it anyway (my ass lied--OMG it was fucking delicious). In the end, G and I were wooed by the fact that, with every purchase of the Hershey’s Chocolate Bar Cheesecake, the Cheesecake Factory donates $.25 to fight hunger in the United States.

Ah, only in America can an Ethiopian man and a Jewish woman mitigate the guilt that comes with ordering a $7.95 slice of sugar, fat, and cholesterol, by telling themselves they’re humanitarians, sacrificing their own health to save the world, one diabetes-inducing bite at a time.

It’s a choice we’re making,
We’re saving our own lives.
It’s true, we’ll make a better day,
Just you and me…and this obscenely large slab of overpriced corporate cheese pie.

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The Lazy Paperboy said...

Thank God for lazy Americans. Saving the world by buying records and touching strangers.

tsada kay said...

Hey, Lazy Paperboy, you know what would be super awesome? If they could combine Hands Across America with the Cheesecake Factory promo. I bet people would be far more likely to touch a stranger if that stranger was feeding them charity cheesecake. Mmm...charity cheesecake.

The Lazy Paperboy said...

Who wouldn't like that? Especially if they were being sung to by Steve Perry and Cyndi Lauper.

tsada kay said...

And Dan Aykroyd! DON'T FORGET DAN AYKROYD!!!!!

The Lazy Paperboy said...

Dude wore a tie, for fuck's sake. I can still see it on "Night Tracks."

tsada kay said...

Lollers. But c'mon, give Danny a break! It was the eighties. Back then even I had a large collection of ties!

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