Lemon Ginger Cheesecake and All Things Baked is in the Timing

Cheesecake

The stars and I have always been close. Sure, they live far away, in the blackness of space, but then again so do I. And with that thought suddenly they seem just next door. Maybe down the street. Unlike other wonders with space the reality is as fascinating as the fantasy. What else could be expected from a place where time and distance are the same? 

Yet, the fictional side of science in space were not interesting to me in years past. For fiction I turned to stories of time travel. Getting to live history — past and future — always made me hope what if.

Connecting to history was the what if factor that really resonated, but as a child and then an adult watching the days click by on a clock or get crossed off on the calendar thoughts on time had to enter into some of those what if moments. In the world of fiction past, present and future are all the same. Hours fly by as seconds. Time set by the clock and calendar don’t matter.

During college, I took a nighttime observational astronomy class. On other nights I took care of a couple kids who lived in a house, high on a hill, with a panoramic view west. After a semester of staring to the night sky and the evening sunset I became decent at estimating the time based on the sky. I felt very impressive. A more contemplative reaction would sound better, but let’s be honest. Knowing the time within a few minutes based on the sun (and other deductive reasoning) made me feel impressive.

In the years since then — years spent in an office building or inside apartments without a view — this party trick has disappeared. However, I have developed the skill of baking without a clock. Not being a trick you can take with you it’s harder to impress people with this one. I am, fortunately, continually impressed with myself. Neither the oven nor the coffee maker are equipped with a clock. There isn’t a microwave. And I’ve never replaced the broken wall clock or purchased a timer. Knowing when sweet scones, banana muffins, or conbread are done means relying only on me.

On Christmas Eve while baking this lemon ginger cheesecake, cleaning up after the dog who was tempted into eating decomposing compost that morning, wrapping the last of the presents, washing dishes, and realizing that I would have to change my clothes in order to show up for dinner not covered in cheesecake batter I did look at the time on my phone — in order to see how late I was running. The cheesecake was ready when it was done. Not at the time a timer said it should be done. At the time of doneness the top was browned and puffed as the recipe decried it should be.

Living without clocks is pleasant. Without glowing lights that intrude on every moment or help you count the sleepless hours time passes easily. And a New Year starts every day.

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