The rest of the country might not care but if you live in LA it’s pretty impossible to escape Oscar. First of all, Hollywood Boulevard, for the three blocks around the Kodak Theatre, is closed days in advance, just to add to the traffic nightmare. The televised marathon starts at 3 pm when the b-list stars begin to approach the red carpet and various commentators for various tv channels ask them the usual series of inane questions, usually culminating in “Who are you wearing?”. It’s only half an hour before the show is due to start that the real stars trudge down the carpet, in their Chanels, Michael Kors, Armani Prive or obscure designers and the fun of it is having a girlfriend or two on hand to criticize clothes, make up and hairdos (my pick for this year is Maggie Gyllenhall’s unusual Dries Van Nooten).
For the first time in memory, I hadn’t seen a single one of the 10 nominated movies but in the spirit of “smaller is invariably better” (at the movies that is) I was hoping “Avatar” and its blue multi million dollar creatures wouldn’t rule the night. My wishes were granted and “The Hurt Locker”, that only a dozen people saw, won as best picture and its director, the firm female ever, as best director. But, despite my best intentions, sitting on the couch for four hours on a Sunday afternoon, watching people I don’t know getting awards for movies I haven’t even seen, is a task beyond my powers of concentration. So, inspired by Sherry Yard’s book (Pastry Chef extraordinaire at Spago, who, incidentally, caters the Oscar bash), I rummaged in my pantry for a no bake cheesecake that requires no recipe.
I crumbled about a dozen Nilla wafers and pressed them into muffin cups. I mixed together an entire package of cream cheese, about 1/2 cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of sour cream and 1 ts of vanilla extract until smooth. Then I folded in some chopped up berries that were languishing at the back of the fridge. I spooned the mixture into the muffin cups and refrigerated the whole thing for a few hours. When ready to eat, I decorated with whole berries on top. Not exactly an Oscar worthy dessert but most definitely a hassle free one that can be whipped up for any impromptu occasion.