Today's trivia question: What is a Cheesequake?
a. What Wisconsin natives yell when the earth moves under their feet.
b. A San Francisco boutique cheesecake producer
c. A Washington State cheeseburger
d. A New Jersey toll road service area.
If you answered "c", you've taken too many "How to Ace the SAT" review courses.
The correct answer, of course, is b, c and d. And thereby hangs a tale.
b. San Francisco Cheesequakes ("Cheesecakes that Rock") has the most intriguing sounding cheesecakes. (not that I've ever had one, so this is not a plug.) Candycap Mushroom Cheesecake, anyone?
They also have all kind of chocolate cheesecakes.
Birthday present, anyone?
c. How about a Double Cheesequake at the X Earthquakes Biggest Burgers in Pullyap, Washington?
d. The New Jersey Cheesequake.
Last Friday, spouse and I traveled to the Jersey Shore from the Binghamton, NY area. This involved travel on the Garden State Parkway, known as the country's busiest toll road. We had been warned about the traffic and we already knew how aggressive and high speed the driving would be, so neither came as a shock. We proceeded through The Oranges and The Amboys when to our wondering eyes did appear, near exit 120....
The Cheesequake Service Area.
Spouse and I turned to each other simultaneously. What was a Cheesequake? We pondered various answers. A strange New Jersey restaurant chain? A former cheese factory that had exploded and was now a historical site? Some kind of corrupted Native American word?
Our wonder grew as we passed by a sign for Cheesequake State Park.
Turns out spouse's guess of a corrupted Native American word was correct. My spouse, however, speculated that "Cheesequake" came from the same word that Chesapeake (as in Chesapeake Bay) derived from. That apparently is not the case, according to what I was able to research. If my sources are correct, Chesapeake comes from a Algonquian word meaning a village "at a big river" while Cheesequake comes from a Lenape word for "upland village".
Drawing from my years back anthropology courses, I am aware that the Lenapes (formerly known as the Delaware) are part of a much larger Native American groupage called the Algonquians. So, there may still be some truth to this speculation.
At any rate the word has nothing to do with either cheese nor earthquakes.
The State Park does sound fascinating.
The service area, apart from the full service (mandatory in NJ) gas it sold for 20 cents less a gallon than Binghamton gas when we left, was not at all distinguished.
But still, it left us with a desire to go back and visit the park. Cheesequake!