Say cheesecake to a group of friends and a myriad of images can come to mind. People can get a little, ahem, opinionated about their cheesecake. New York purists vs. proponents of double chocolate, chocolate chip. I didn’t grow up eating cheesecake (mom is lactose intolerant and not much into baking), so I’ve never been too picky. Anything with that much cream cheese? It’s all good to me.

When Brad and I got married, I learned that he has very exacting standards when it comes to cheesecake (and sweaters, water bottles, pens…but I digress). The gold standard of cheesecake? His Grandma Miller’s. I’ve always loved baking, so with the family recipe in hand, I set off to make my husband his favorite dessert for his birthday. The fact that our young marriage survived this hurdle is a true testament to its strength. I worked diligently, following the recipe exactly. The first thing out of Brad’s mouth?  “It’s not quite right”. Bless his everlovin’ heart, tact is not always Brad’s strong suit.

Over the years, I came to understand the significance of the cheesecake in Brad’s family. His grandfather had vivid memories of a cheese torte from his childhood. Grandma Miller then experimented with the recipe until he proclaimed it to be perfect. I never met Grandpa Miller, but from all the stories I’ve heard, he didn’t seem to dole out such high praise often.

Although the first few were not up to The Grandma Standard, Brad was always happy to “suffer” through my attempts. 14 years and many cheesecakes later, I’m pretty sure my cheesecake would even pass muster at a Miller family function.

Happy belated birthday, Brad!