*SECESSION ANALOGY*
Recipe: Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake

October 14, 2013

Imagine you are a woman who has been in an unhappy marriage for many years. Early on in this marriage, you and your husband adopted a child from Africa and disagreed over how the child should be treated. (Okay, in the real version you kidnapped the kid, but I’m trying to modernize this analogy so bear with me.) Your husband didn’t think your adopted daughter deserved to get allowance for her chores like your other children, and he beat her whenever she did something he didn’t like. At one point during this disagreement, he threatened to divorce you but you wouldn’t allow it. Eventually you won the argument but he’s been bitter ever since. Now, years later, you are arguing again—this time over everything.

Your oldest son, who is now an adult, recently announced his engagement to his boyfriend of five years. Your husband will not allow your son to get married because he believes homosexuality is a crime against nature and claims that your son getting married to a man would ruin your oldest daughter’s heterosexual marriage.

Back when you and your husband were arguing about your adopted daughter’s rights, he built an extension on the house and insisted that she stay there because it’s separate (but equal). The extension happens to fall on the other side of the town line. The other town–the one your adopted daughter technically lives in–has a much inferior school. You’ve argued that this is unfair and she should either be allowed to move into another room and attend the school the rest of your children go to or that you should work towards improving her school. Your husband doesn’t see this is a problem and denies it is a result of his previous animosity towards her. He also votes down the school budget every year and argues with the board of education to get evolution and sex education taken out of the curriculum.

Your husband refuses to get a family health insurance plan through his job that would give you access to contraception and reproductive healthcare–for the same amount of money–because of his religious beliefs. (This is why you have so many kids, in case you’re wondering.) He also refuses to add your adopted daughter to the family health insurance plan, even though the government would cover the cost of her enrollment, because he disapproves of the government’s new health insurance law. You took a family vote and decided to enroll her against your husband’s wishes, but he’s tried–37 times–to change the vote and kick her off the plan. All this voting is really getting cumbersome and distracting everyone from all their other important duties, like homework and paying bills.

In terms of family finances, your husband prefers to spend a large part of your joint income on his weapons collection and other security measures for the family. (He’s a little paranoid because all your neighbors hate your family due to his constant interference in their affairs.) You would like to reallocate some of this money to investing in your children’s education and cleaning up the toxic waste in your backyard. Your husband, who has control of the check books, refuses to do this. He doesn’t think the toxic waste is a significant problem despite the fact that nearly every toxic waste expert in town says it will have a severe–potentially fatal–effect on the health of your family. They’ve done testing to back up this claim and they say the waste is there because you’ve been pouring chemicals in the ground for years. Your husband blames dinosaur flatulence and continues dumping the toxins.

Last year your 5-year-old son found one of your husband’s guns under the couch cushion and accidentally shot and killed your 2-year-old daughter. This tragedy had not even the slightest impact on your husband’s stance about gun storage. He leaves loaded guns lying around the house within reach of the children and when you ask him to get rid of them, he refuses. He also refuses to even agree to keep the guns in a locked location or to make sure that they are unloaded at all times, claiming that he needs to protect the family from intruders. You fear for the safety of your remaining children.

Your husband makes all of his decisions based on religion and ideology, refuses to acknowledge statistical and scientific findings, and is even undeterred from his zealotry by personal experience. He says he represents the views of the entire family, even though most of your children recently nominated you, not him, to make the family decisions. One of your daughters who does support him, and is even more conservative than her father, has threatened to stop backing him up in family discussions if he makes any compromises. This has brought the family to a stalemate.

Now your husband says he won’t pay any of the family’s bills unless you agree to take your adopted daughter off the family health insurance plan. Your adopted daughter has diabetes, which she developed in part because she only has access to the unhealthful food kept in the extension of the house. She wouldn’t be able to afford her diabetes medication without insurance, and she can’t afford insurance with her minimum-wage, part-time job. You’re also afraid to give in to your husband’s temper tantrum because he’s likely to use this tactic in the future to make even more ludicrous demands.

The stalemate has lasted for over a week. You’ve missed the deadline for paying your bills and they’re going to go into debt collection soon if you don’t pay them. Your husband offers to pay the lawnmower but not the insurance or the mortgage. You know he’s just doing this to appease the kids who like to play in the backyard, so you say you’ll only agree to pay all the bills. The really worrisome part of all this is that he doesn’t think letting the bills go into collection will affect the family’s credit despite the fact that all your financial advisers have told you it would, and that it could also spiral into a family financial crisis. Even as he boasts that he’s taking a stand against a health insurance law he opposes, your husband tells all the kids it’s your fault the lawn isn’t getting mowed and the TV is off.

Not only is your husband unwilling to compromise with you, endangering your children’s lives, and holding the family’s finances hostage–he’s constantly pissing you off with his racist, misogynist, and utterly inane comments.

All this time, ever since the first incident involving the treatment of your adopted daughter, he’s been bringing up the possibility of divorce. You keep saying no. Divorce, however, would solve all of your problems. You could split the family assets and he could move into the empty house next door. The children who side with you could stay in the house and the ones who side with him could also move in next door. If they changed their minds, you’d welcome them back with open arms. Without your husband around, you’d finally be able to start cleaning up your backyard, attend your son’s wedding, and help pay for your kids’ college tuition. You wouldn’t have to argue for your adopted daughter’s rights to basic necessities or worry about guns lying around the house. Your family would be able to make decisions and progress towards a better future. Maybe you and your husband could even become amicable neighbors instead of warring spouses. And the rest of your neighbors might stop hating you so much.

 

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What does my secession analogy have to do with Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake? About as much as the debt ceiling has to do with the Affordable Care Act. But seriously, this cheesecake is incredible.



Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake

<center><br><br>Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake

For the crust:
1 ¾ cups vanilla wafer crumbs
5 Tbsp melted butter

For the raspberry sauce:
6 oz raspberries
2 Tbsp sugar

For the filling:
½ cup whipping cream
8 oz white chocolate
3-8 oz packages cream cheese, 24 oz total (see note*)
½ cup sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp cornstarch

6 oz raspberries

For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degree. Combine the vanilla wafer crumbs and melted butter in a bowl. Press the mixture into a 9-inch spring form pan. Bake for 10 minutes until golden brown and set aside to cool. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees.

For the raspberry sauce: Puree the raspberries and sugar in a blender. Strain out the seeds and set aside.

For the filling: Place the white chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl. Heat the whipping cream in a small saucepan until it begins to foam but not boil. Pour over the white chocolate and stir until smooth. Using a standing or handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the vanilla and lemon juice, followed by the cornstarch.

To assemble: Wrap the spring form pan with the crust in aluminum foil, making sure the foil is secure and comes all the way up the sides. Place the pan in a large roasting dish and fill with 1 inch of water. Pour one third of the filling on top of the crust, sprinkle with the remaining raspberries, and pour the remaining filling over the raspberries. Dot the raspberry sauce evenly all over the cake (I did this with a spoon but a squeeze bottle would be more precise). Using a knife or skewer, draw a curved line through the center of a few dots. Repeat this process to marble the whole cake.

Bake the cake in its water bath at 325 degrees for about 65 minutes or until set. The center should still be slightly jiggly. Remove the cake from the water bath and let it cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. Serve with remaining raspberry sauce.


*Note: Low-fat cream cheese works (I use 1/3 fat) but not nonfat.

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