As many of you know, I love random holidays -- they inspire me to research fun things like ninjas, cupcakes, and cookies! Subsequently, when The Cheesecake Factory invited me to participate in a sponsored campaign to celebrate National Cheesecake Day (tomorrow!), I was like, YES. Because the thing is, whenever I think of cheesecake, I think of my mom. Also, I like sharing about tasty bargains (and in this case, a rad giveaway). Allow me to tell you about all of these things today:
I grew up in a family of 9, so we rarely dined out. In fact, with a handful of exceptions, dining out didn’t really happen much until my older siblings started to fly the coop and there were less people on the tab (as the 6th of 7 kids I benefited from this effect). When my parents and I dropped two of my siblings off at Dartmouth in the fall, we grew a tradition of stopping in to a nearby steakhouse on the way home -- because my dad loved steak and my mom loved classic cheesecake with strawberries.
Now, the part about my mom and the cheesecake is actually a little unusual because Koreans tend away from rich desserts, usually opting for fruit. But I think cheesecake -- especially classic cheesecake with strawberries -- was a real Western novelty and delight to my mom. I still smile when I think of my mom's face lighting up over this treat. We endured so many hardships that it was all kinds of wonderful that a small thing like cheesecake could elevate her mood. Not surprisingly, every single time I eat cheesecake, I think of my mom.
My life as a parent is very different -- we don’t have seven children and we’re comfortable financially, so going out to eat (or ordering in) is pretty much a weekly occurrence. We recently dined at The Cheesecake Factory, and while a menu that size generally induces paralysis for me (I’m definitely better with less options!), it was easy to order a range of options that satisfied everyone (including our vegetarian + picky toddler...ahem). And though I was totally stuffed after sampling the calamari (Jon’s favorite), fried macaroni and cheese (Laurel’s favorite), and spicy ahi tempura roll (my favorite) appetizers (not to mention my herb crusted salmon salad entree), at the end of the meal I couldn’t resist ordering my mom’s favorite -- classic cheesecake with strawberries (and Laurel ordered the ultimate red velvet).
These treats didn't disappoint, and -- probably not surprisingly given the above -- as I ate, I was overwhelmed by a wave of nostalgia for my mom. So we ordered cheesecake with strawberries to go and dropped it off at my mom’s house afterwards.
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Now, whether or not you have emotional ties to cheesecake, you can join in the celebration of National Cheesecake Day with The Cheesecake Factory! Here are two ways:
- The Cheesecake Factory wants to keep the National Cheesecake Day party going across two days, so on July 30 + 31 you can visit The Cheesecake Factory and enjoy half-priced cheesecake when you dine in. Yum. There are lots of flavors so this will be the perfect time to sample!
- On July 30 + 31 submit a selfie with your favorite slice of cheesecake by pre-registering here then sharing your cheesecake selfie using the hashtag #SayCheesecakeContest on Instagram or Twitter, or via the #SayCheesecakeContest tab on The Cheescake Factory Facebook page. Registered participants will be eligible for a $4,000 cash prize (whoa!) or $100 gift cards.
Image credits: 1 + 2 by Christine Koh; 3 via The Cheesecake Factory.
Disclosure: This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and The Cheesecake Factory blogging program. The opinions, ideas, and storytelling expressed here are -- of course -- my own.