Today is National Cheesecake Day. But why do you care?
You might care because you are super into holidays and will celebrate national anything day as long as it means you get to take a longer-than-usual lunch. You might care because cheesecake is one of your life’s greatest passions. Or you might care because you are a fervent Friends fan and know exactly the scene we are about to commemorate.
There were many fabulous moments in Our Most Storied Television Show of All Time, but only one about cheesecake. And it just so happens that it is the single greatest moment in cheesecake’s history. It’s so glorious that it deserves homage on this high holiday.
The episode is titled, naturally, The One With All the Cheesecakes. We open on Chandler and Monica’s (ridiculously oversized; so much so that it still makes us jealous/angry almost a decade later) apartment, where Chandler is eating a cheesecake he stole from Mrs. Braverman downstairs. Okay, so technically he opened the box and started eating before he realized that it was delivered to the wrong address, but it was a theft nonetheless.
Rachel enters with her fabulous season-seven bob and is herself overtaken by the delicious, buttery, crumbly graham cracker crust and the rich-yet-light cream cheese filling. One bite and they’re both addicted. They are a man and woman obsessed, who can think of nothing but their next cheesecake fix. Even if that means flying to Chicago to visit Mama’s Little Bakery or robbing poor Mrs. Braverman some more. Sure, they can convince themselves that she’s out of town and that if they don’t eat the cheesecake for her she’ll return from a trip to bad cheesecake and possibly even die of food poisoning.
They make a pact to only eat the cheesecake together, but as addicts they are unable to contain themselves. They are dessert stealers living outside the law, and there are no rules in this world of cheesecake anarchy. Chandler and Rachel try to divide the cheesecake contraband in half so they can go their separate ways in their own cheesecake shame, but without rules humans are not able to conduct themselves in a normal manner and things escalate quickly.
One second Rachel is off to her own cheesecake corner in all her “No sharing, no switching, and don’t come crying to me if you eat your piece to fast” glory, and the next second she’s tripped and dropped it all over the floor.
Which means, of course, that the only logical answer is to take Chandler’s piece down, too. It may seem odd not to just share the remaining half of cake, but as we mentioned this is a woman obsessed. And now all they are left with in this lonely world are the sad, sullen remains of their former happiness dumped all over the apartment building’s hallway. Chandler and Rachel are forced to come to grips with this life they have now built themselves, a life where the only thing that matters is the next bite of cheesecake. And what does one do when they find themselves at this metaphoric juncture?
They eat floor cheesecake.
They grab a fork, hunker down, and try as best they can to only pick up the pieces that haven’t completely touched the ground. It’s not a pretty sight, but it’s real. It’s raw. It’s still delicious, delicious cheesecake.
Happy holidays, everybody.