Ancient Times

Most historians believe that cheesecake was first given to athletes in the Olympic Games, the first beginning in 776 B.C. But, a Grecian by the name of Marcus Porcius Cato was the first to make a specific reference much later, somewhere between 234 to 139 B.C. Cato found cheesecake so delicious that he used it as a temple offering. Ironically, although he was a politician, the only surviving work by Cato was this recipe.

It was not until 230 A.D., that the modern version of cheesecake was finally written down by another Greek, this time named Athenaeus. This recipe eventually made its way to Europe by the conquering Roman armies in 1000 A.D.

Mostly wealthy families ate cheesecake, and then only for special occasions. The ingredients were too expensive for everyday people and events. A cookbook titled "A Proper newe Booke of Cokerye, declarynge what maner of meates be beste in season, for al times in the yere, and how they ought to be dressed, and serued at the table, bothe for fleshe dayes, and fyshe dayes" containing a cheesecake recipe was created in 1545.

One key thing about ancient cheesecakes is that none used our modern "cream cheese." They used whatever kind of cheese was prevalent in the area at the time. Not until 1872 was modern "cream cheese" made.

To see the sources used for this page, check out the Recourcespage.