PENINSULA ZOOMERS: When the border is closed – bake

Columnist April Lewis shares a well-loved recipe

My dear friend is not happy; in fact she is mad as hell.

Full of anger and despair and rebellion.

And the coronavirus.

As a result, I choose not to visit her anymore.

I am referring to America, the good old US of A who I love to visit on road trips. This year was going to be Utah but that’s not going to happen any time soon and, in fact, may never happen again.

Such a depressing thought as the international border remains closed during this endless pandemic.

Rather than wallow in self-pity, I shall do what many of my friends are doing.


I default to my favourite recipe for lemon cheesecake from the ’80s, found in Susan Mendelson’s first cookbook, Mama Never Cooked Like This.

I’ll make it for my daughters as a sweet surprise.

I open to page 91 to find food splotches all over this well-used page, as I have made this lemony delight a hundred times.

I reach into my kitchen cupboard for my blender then suddenly remember I gave it to my daughter.

No worries, I can nip out and buy another.

But wait, my friend, who is moving, calls me and offers me her blender as news of my need travels fast in White Rock.

Gratefully, I accept her generous offer and arrange to pick it up at her highrise while simultaneously taking in one last look at her fabulous view.

I take the elevator down to the parkade where I realize I am trapped by gates only accessible to residents. I then take the stairs, only to find myself trapped by locked doors in the stairwell.

I yell, but nobody answers.

I see some light and climb the stairs to an unlocked door and freedom. Once outside, I can’t enter the parkade as there is a gate only accessible by a fob. Rather than bother my friend, I wait until a driver arrives.

Once home, after my exhilarating adventure, I gather the ingredients needed to make this culinary masterpiece.

Graham wafer crumbs for the crust. Wow, I have two boxes in my cupboard! However, their best before dates coincide with the dismantling of the Berlin wall.

Well, I exaggerate just a little.

I know I have a container of brown sugar, carefully wrapped in layers of plastic to ensure its freshness. Not having a sledgehammer handy, I feel certain the solid rock formation I uncover could be considered a lethal weapon.

The bottle of lemon juice in the fridge dates back to around the time of Hurricane Katrina.

Sugar… I haven’t had sugar in my house since Madonna sang Like A Virgin. Or since I was a virgin for that matter.

Off to the grocery store I go, mask on, of course.

I now make my dessert with renewed enthusiasm.

And I shall share a little sweetness with you, dear readers. Here is the recipe:


– 1 1/3 cups Graham wafer crumbs

– 1/3 cup soft butter

– ¼ cup brown sugar.

Mix together and press into a springform pan. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes.

In blender, (either bought, borrowed or bequeathed), mix 2 packages (250g each) cream cheese, 3 medium eggs, ½ cup sour cream, 2/3 cup sugar and 2 tbsp. lemon juice to form a batter. Pour over crust.

Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

For topping, mix together 1 cup sour cream, 4 tbsp. sugar and 2 tbsp lemon juice. Spread over cheesecake and return to oven for 5 minutes. Top with seasonal fruit.

Serve with love and a dollop of kindness for our American friends.

April Lewis is the local communications director for CARP, a group committed to a ‘New Vision of Aging for Canada.’ She writes monthly.

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