Once upon a time, my husband bought one of those boxed, “No Bake Cheesecake” mixes from the grocery store.
If you’ve never heard of such a thing, I'll take but a moment to explain: all one has to do is blend fresh milk into pre-measured dry ingredients, and cheesecake filling is magically created. It’s just that simple. The resulting cheese goo is poured into a ready-made pie crust and the entire dessert is placed in the refrigerator to set for about an hour before it’s eaten.
So. Easy. And tasty, too—lactose intolerance be damned.
The only real trouble was, on this particular night when a cake of cheese sounded most divine, both of our kids were home. Greedy parents that we are, we did not want to share.
“Whatever shall we do?” my husband asked of me as he paced the wooden floor of our upstairs bedroom. “The children are downstairs in the living room at this moment. Verily, they will hear the sound of the electric mixer and surely know that something sweet is afoot in the kitchen!”
“Hark, dear husband,” I replied. “Do not trouble thy mind with such fanciful worries, for indeed there is a solution to our predicament.”
I had his full attention.
I spoke once again:
“The children are engrossed in their YouTube videos. Go down to the kitchen, husband of mine. Fetch all of the supplies we will need to forge this cake of cheese. A mixing bowl. The electric mixer. The pie crust and the mix. Forget not the measuring cup filled with milk. Gather these things quietly with haste and bring them up hither.”
“What then, mine wife? The whir of the electric mixer will echo throughout the house, even from upstairs.”
“Aye. ’Tis wherefore we must make it in our bathroom, with the door closed. The din of yon bathroom fan will muffle the racket of our cheesecake-making and the children shalt ne’r know what we hath wrought.”
He marveled at my genius resolve for but a moment before another concern flashed in his eyes.
“But soft, goodly wife,” he said. “We must refrigerate this cake, for it is made of cheese and milk! How dost we hide it in our refrigerator for one hour? Surely our spawn will find it during their next search for snacks, for such expeditions occur every fifteen minutes!”
I wistfully looked through the glass of our bedroom doors leading to the second-story balcony.
“My dear husband,” I said, my arm making a grand gesture toward the whirling snowstorm outside. “'Tis but five degrees Fahrenheit on this night. We need not a refrigerator, for nature hath given us all the chill we shall need to set our cheesecake in privacy.”
A slow smile spread across my husband's face. It was the Cheshire grin of a parent who knew he'd outsmarted his children.
And lo, but one short hour later, we sat on our bed together, partners in sweet conspiracy that we were, eating cheesecake and watching Netflix.
Aye verily, ’twas delicious.