Thursday, November 23, 2006

Victoria Bylin: Family Traditions


My husband and I recently watched a show on the History Channel about Thanksgiving foods. Did you know that Green Bean Casserole, the one with French-style green beans, fried onions and mushroom soup, was created in the kitchens of the Campbell's Soup Company? Women newly graduated from college with degrees in Home Economics were asked to come up with something new for American families. It had to be different and it had to be easy.

That show got me thinking about our own Thanksgiving traditions. The turkey has to be the biggest in the store, and the gravy has to be made from scratch using my mom's flour-in-cold-water method. It works! No lumps! When it comes to the stuffing, though, I've hit a glitch. My mom always used Mrs. Cubison's. Mrs. Cubison's was the first stuffing-in-a-box. It's sold only on the west coast. After hunting high and low here in northern Virginia, I gave up. I use another brand now. It's good, but it's different.

This year we lost another tradition. I couldn't find brown-and-serve rolls. They aren't that good, but they're familiar. As a child, I remember being in charge of making sure they didn't burn in the last-minute chaos.

There's nothing like seeing a family tradition in jeopardy to make you appreciate the memories. With that thought in mind, here's the recipe for our favorite cheesecake. It came from a newspaper in the 1950s.

BYLIN FAMILY CHEESECAKE

GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
I buy the crumbs and follow the directions on the box for a 9" pie crust. Set aside 2 Tbsp. of crumbs for the topping.

FILLING
9 oz. cream cheese (3 3 oz. squares if you can find them)
8 oz. carton of sour cream
1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Set the cream cheese out to soften. When you can smear it easily with a spoon, add the sour cream and mix well. In a separate bowl, scramble the two eggs. Add the sugar and vanilla. Mix well. Add the cream cheese/sour cream mix. Mix well. Pour filing into pie crust. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Let it cool.

TOPPING
8 oz. sour cream
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Mix everything to together. Spread gently on the cheesecake with a spatula. Sprinkle with the leftover crumbs. Bake at 475 for 5 minutes or less.

5 comments:

CherylStJ said...

I call brown and serve rolls "those cardboard rolls."! My daughter makes homemade, thank goodness!

Michelle Styles said...

Ah yes family traditions and why they start.

When I was in kindergarten, just before Thanksgiving, we went to the local Safeway on a field trip and were given a talk on cranberries. I duly came home and announced that I was going to make cranberry sauce using the recipe on the back of the Ocean Spray bag and have done every year since.
This year, my mother informed that my eldest niece who is 6 has decided to be just like her aunt and made the cranberry sauce.

Victoria Bylin said...

Hi Cheryl! You're right about the brown-and-serve rolls! They *are* cardboard. Maybe my oldest son (23 now) will marry a girl with your daughter's baking skills. We can add homemade rolls to the Thanksgiving arsenal.

Victoria Bylin said...

Hi Michelle, What a great story about the cranberry sauce. That's exactly how traditions get passed from generation to generation.

Kathleen said...

Thanks for the cheesecake recipe! Yummy!