Occupational hazzards…

Try as college might, there is no real prep for teaching, until well, you teach. I think this is true for most jobs, but really you just can’t plan for things. Who knew I would ever have to deal with a kid stabbing another kid with a protractor and peeing on him (no, this didn’t happen on my watch, I just had to be the one to deal with it). Or how about turning on the lights after watching a movie only to find some 8th grade boys mouth on some 8th grade girl’s breast? Again, not on my watch…but that became legend at our school and the reason why we always watched movies with at least one light on….and I got to choose who you sat next to. Or how about a parent/teacher conference where the mom is drunk and had no teeth, wearing purple spandex, 4-inch red heels, and a black lace see-through bra? I know the bra is see- through because that was the only top she was wearing. Oddly enough, the kid was not doing well in school. But to her credit, she did show up to every conference.

Teaching can be a way more stressful job than anyone who isn’t in the industry thinks. Several of my friends commented that I should just be taking any sub job that comes my way. For the record, I do not. I pass on things like middle school shop class…can you say missing finger? I passed on AP German. All I could do is teach them how to make German Chocolate Cake. Or perhaps discuss German beers (oh, wait). I have come to learn that most people seem to have the theory that you go in and basically babysit. How hard could that be, right? Um, yeah no. I won’t sub any subject I can’t actually get a job for. As a substitute teacher I feel it is my job to accomplish what the regular classroom teacher was supposed to be teaching that day. If I don’t speak the language or know anything about American History…which for the record, I don’t…boring (Besides, if History repeats itself, I will just catch it this time around, eh?) I’m not going to do a very good job of teaching that class. It’s not fair to that teacher. Nope, I am certified to teach Elementary Education (at least in this state) and so that is what I stick with.

Kids know when you don’t know the subject matter. They smell it, just like fear. And the minute that happens, they become sharks when blood hits the water. Now, this clearly does not happen as much in the younger ages. No, you are too busy trying to get them from underneath the table, have them stop pulling their skirt up over their head, or my all-time little kid stumper…trying to get a 1st grader from sucking on a “sucker” he found in is older sister’s purse. You know that “sucker” as a tampon. Ugh. Good times, good times. :)

On days when the stress got a little much the other teachers in my junior high and I would simply say “vodka or cheesecake?” Now if it were a weekend night, chances are vodka. If you ever want an interersting dose of people watching, go find a bunch of teachers at happy hour on a payday Friday. But if it were a weeknight, the chances were most likely cheesecake…well, food. I realized the other day that I had not made a cheesecake in forever. I went back through the blog to prove that.

I figured with all my Rice Krispie Treats and Funfetti, perhaps I should try for a little more sophisticated dessert, you know to mix it up a little. This here is a version of my Ricotta Cheesecake that was actually published in a book. This time around though it has a gingersnap crust and a honey-orange flavor. Ricotta cheesecakes are lovely. They are creamy but without being super, sit in your stomach like oatmeal heavy. Which is sometimes nice. Though every now and then I want the sit in your stomach cheesecake…or vodka? :P

Orange-Honey Ricotta Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

For the Crust:
2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup melted butter
Combine ingredients in a food processor. This makes for a thick crust. If you want less crust, half the recipe. Press mixture down flat into a greased 10-inch spring form pan.
Preheat oven to 350F. Bake crust for 12 minutes. Set aside.

For the Cheesecake:
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
16 ounces Ricotta cheese
1 3/4 cups sour cream (the full fat kind)
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
¼ cup orange juice
½ cup all-purpose flour
5 eggs
¼ cup honey
2 tsp. orange zest
1 TBSP vanilla extract

Reduce oven heat to 325F.
Cream the cheeses on medium speed until soft and blended.
Add the sugar and mix well, about 3 minutes. Add the sour cream, honey, and orange juice and mix for another minute.
Reduce speed to low and add flour.
Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add zest and vanilla extract.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in a water bath for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Check cheesecake after one hour.
When cake is removed from oven, remove it from water bath. Let cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Then refrigerate for at least 4 hours, overnight works best.


  1. my hat is off to you, and all others who patiently teach. a trying and often thankless job! teachers should be one of our important commodities.

    cheesecake and vodka… two of my favorite things! this cheesecake looks and sounds wonderful… I love to use a gingersnap crust.

  2. teaching isn’t easy and I find that teachers are very courageous…

    That cheesecake is gorgeous!



  3. Ok here’s what I can’t do. The water bath. Even though I wrap it in foil it seems like water condenses and gets in there. Last time I seriously POURED water out of the cheesecake. Help me obi wan. Why am I a moron at this? And what happens if you skip the water bath??

  4. So pretty, like little orange snowflakes.

    With regards to teaching, all I know is that there is no way that teachers are paid enough for what they have to do. Why don’t we value our educators more?

  5. I was fortunate enough to have a professor who experienced lots of *interesting* things while he was in the high school classroom. Like, for instance, a kid who died at his desk after huffing during lunch. And a kid who peed in his thousand dollar fish tank, so he threw the kid through said fish tank.

    Yeah. Rockstar ed profs tend to prepare you a bit more than the run of the mill type, I think…

  6. I don’t have the patience to be a teacher – kudos to those who do! :)

    Mmmm, cheesecake.

  7. I can imagine this with seasonal blood oranges although I don’t know if it would keep it’s deep burgundy colour, but I can imagine them in everything right now.

  8. Ah, I almost became a teacher. I got the job and everything, and then well, I changed my mind, I really think I wouldn’t have lasted a year.

    I’ve never tried making a ricotta cheesecake because I like the sit-in-my-stomach kind so much, but this might convince me!

  9. Aw, I was hoping for a vodka cheesecake…

  10. Oh man — I always knew that teaching was a job I could NEVER do. I feel justified in that belief now.

    Sad to say that i’ve never made cheesecake with ricotta — but it totally makes sense that it would be lighter and therefore more enjoyable!

  11. Everyone knows I’m not a cheesecake fan.. Too much dairy and yeah ;) BUT this sounds fabulous. I love the flavors that you put together. I would have just a small bite because I can be naughty like that sometimes. ;)

  12. From one teacher to another, I applaud you for making a dessert that looks like it could definitely erase some “precious little darlings” stress. I can’t wait to try it.

  13. I just had to laugh, since I know where you are coming from having retired a couple years ago after a 30 year stint, first junior high and then high school. Junior high: always a barrel of fun, always a different day….

    Friday happy hours and treats on the faculty lounge table were definitely something to look forward to.

  14. I mean this is the nicest way possible, but you blog has gotten so much better since your divorce. And I love your facebook page. Finally a place to talk about food…..glorious food. I all every got from facebook before were games and pics of my teenage niece getting plastered. woohoo

  15. Love your blog and I’m on my way to Facebook to your page too! I’ve been reading for about 3 years now and always look forward to a new post from you, so these past few weeks have been AMAZING!

  16. Love this post, Peabody! Not only does the recipe look and sound incredible, but the stories crack me up. As a teacher, I can honestly say the only job more difficult than being a teacher is being a substitute teacher. Kudos and many thanks to you!

  17. This looks great but I was waiting for the punchline…cheesecake or vodka? Now you don’t have to choose–presenting Vodka Cheesecake!

  18. Cheesecake looks delicious!
    As far as the teacher stories, I simply CANNOT imagine dealing with those kinds of things – hard to believe they really happen! I guess I grew up in a very sheltered environment, for which I am grateful!
    Good for you for being selective about the jobs you take….

  19. Thanks for all the recipes, interesting stories, and for being you. I just wanted you to know that I am now clicking on your blog and opening the full thing each and every single day even though I’m mostly too chicken to leave public comments. Keep up the great work. Oh, and uh, more Oreos and Rice Krispy Treat photos please. Just to piss off the morons.

  20. MMMM cheesecake. I never thought to use ricotta (maybe I don’t make cheesecake enough…) You have been a baking fiend this week Peabody! Who is getting all of these treats??

  21. I will gladly swap Jr. High stories with you! After teaching special education to 7-9th graders for a while, I think I deserve some cheesecake! We only got paid on the last day of the month, which was super hard, but when it came, we partied it up!

  22. I have a great respect for teachers since I know teaching kids is something that I could never do. I look at how a lot of children behave these days and can’t imagine having to put up with it for an entire day, let alone as my profession. Yeesh, I sound old.

    As for the cheescake: using ricotta sounds absolutely amazing. This is another bookmark in my folder that’s for sure. It’s been quite some time since I’ve had cheesecake (good or otherwise) and this makes me want one sooner rather than later :)

  23. Peabody, you are FREAKIN HILARIOUS!!!! I love that you are posting more!! I don’t really leave comments much but I will if it keeps you posting more!

  24. I honestly feel bad for a lot of teachers, as well as subs. I think I might be one of the only amoung my friends that think teachers should get paied better because not only do their days start way earlier than school kids and other workers, but their days end way later too when they have to grade our terrible papers or answering our dumb questions over e-mail etc. Subs have it hard too cause no one ever listens to them :/

    Anyways, nice looking cheesecake! YUMMEH!

  25. What a great post. I am a teacher with one year of experience under my belt. When recently moved and there are no teaching jobs in the area so I tried subbing for awhile. HATED it! It is sooo tough being a sub, I never taught a class if I wasn’t familiar with the subject, the kids will know right away! Loved your stories, I can totally relate. :)

  26. My mom is a substitute teacher too, and boy does she ever have stories to tell! :)

    I’ve never made cheesecake before, but I’m bookmarking this recipe!

  27. I don’t know how you do it, Peabody. I think that seeing 8th graders do such ridiculous things would kind of ruin my faith in the future generations. More power to you.

    In fact, that image has scarred me so much that I don’t think anything but a nice slice of this cheesecake is going to heal me.

  28. You and all other teachers are amazing, I would not be able to do it. Kids seem to just be getting more crafty and ruder as the years go by. Luckly you can bake delicous baked goods to indulage in. I have been wanting to make a cheesecake for a while I may do little varaition on this. :)

  29. Oh my god. . .Sucker/Tampon? Ew. Funny. But, ew.

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