New Hampshire Tidbits: Potato Cheesecake On The Menu

Graphic from Common birds of town and country, National Geographic Society, 1914, Cornell University Library on Flickr

Bird sitting on a cake, from “Common birds of town and country,” National Geographic Society, 1914, Cornell University Library on Flickr.

When you see the word, cheesecake, you think of the modern sweet dessert, made from a mixture of soft, fresh cream cheese (cheese or cottage cheese), eggs, and sugar on top of a crust of crushed graham crackers or other slightly sweet mixture.

But cheesecake was not always made this way. On 5 July 1859 the Weekly Union newspaper of Manchester, New Hampshire printed a recipe for POTATO CHEESECAKE. It would seem natural to me, that someone from the state where the first potato in New England was planted, would concoct such a strange but practical cake. Oh sure, there are tons of sweet potato cheesecake recipes, but I doubt you have seen one quite like this.

POTATO CHEESECAKE.–One pound of mashed potatoes, a quarter of a pound of currants, the same of butter and sugar, and four eggs. Bake in tins lined with paste.

Cake, from "American Cookery, formerly the Boston Cooking School Magazine, 1915, Boston Public Library on Flickr

Cake, from “American Cookery, formerly the Boston Cooking School Magazine, 1915, Boston Public Library on Flickr

If you research cheesecake itself, you’ll see that currently it is claimed that North America has at least 7 kinds of cheesecake including the styles of: New York, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Dutch, Country, Chicago, Savory and Farmer. To this list now we’ll have to add and 8th — New Hampshire style cheesecake.

And just so you know, reportedly July 30, 2016 is National Cheesecake Day. There are no presidential proclamations for this event, and it seems, honestly to be a day contrived by a company called “The Cheesecake Factory,” who revived the day in an advertisement for its goods.

The Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati Ohio) of 25 July 2008 has an advertisement by the Cheesecake Factory stating it is offering special prices for National Cheesecake Day. You cannot give them the credit for thinking it up, though. The first mention I could find of National Cheesecake Day was in 1949 as shown below, but in a different month.

Dessert table, from The Boston Cooking School magazine of culinary science and domestic economics, by Janet M. Hill, 1908

Dessert table, from “The Boston Cooking School magazine of culinary science and domestic economics,” by Janet M. Hill, 1908. Flickr.

 

The oldest notice I can find is in The Morning Herald (Uniontown PA) and the Galveston Daily News (Galveston TX) of 14 June 1949 makes a brief mention: “This is National Cheesecake Day.”

 

 

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3 Responses to New Hampshire Tidbits: Potato Cheesecake On The Menu

  1. pen4hire says:

    You know how I love odd old recipes. Have you tried this? and of course the question arises–why do they call it cheesecake when there is no cheese in it?

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