‘Strawberry, New York’

by Fred Leeds

I noticed yesterday how new things can get our attention by seeming out of order. Someone handed me a plate with two slices of cheesecake. They said they both were New York cheesecake, but one had strawberry. The one with strawberry wasn’t your standard, garden-variety cheesecake, you see. No, we saw, it was an altogether odd thing, something unheard of. Strawberry, New York, we came to call it: a very special slice of reality, partly a place, partly a flavor. If it weren’t for its new identity, it would just have been plain old cheesecake, a part of the Old World, where only duller taste buds travel. We visited it every day at the soda shop, spinning in our stools curiously like explorers.

Things in order seem commonplace. When you arrive at our “Strawberry, New York,” you encounter not just cheesecake, but a world. Join me there and I’ll tip my fork to you – if it doesn’t turn into a spaceship and carry us palates beyond.

Oh, by the way: Everyday cheesecake can be good, too.

Fred Leeds ©2009

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