I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Enough with the stock market. You don’t know where the stock market is going any better than anybody else. What about the fat-free, sugar-free cheesecake?

Well, of course.

I just wanted to wait to write about this until I had an opportunity to consume one, which I did Saturday, and then wait a little while to determine whether there were any near-term side effects or repercussions. (The only one I found: When you eat an entire cheesecake, you tend to jut out a little the rest of the day.)

I am not saying this is the world’s greatest cheesecake, although it may be the world’s greatest no-fat, no-sugar cheesecake. And I’m not saying much about the crust, because in order to come in under the fat and sugar wire, it has no crust. This cheesecake is all cheese (or non-cheese), no crust, and I have a feeling it is extruded rather than baked. For the sake of convention, it is shaped to be round and flat, like a cheesecake, but it could actually be extruded into more or less any mold. Fat-free cheesecake baseballs, fat-free cheesecake engine blocks — you name it.

I speak here of Fanny’s cheesecakes, which I discovered in a sort of double-take as I passed the frozen food display at The Pantry. Were my eyes playing tricks? Did I see that day-glo sticker right? SUGAR-FREE, FAT-FREE cheesecake? Next to seedless watermelon, a discovery of a previous summer, this was the most exciting thing I think I’d ever seen at The Pantry. (I was equally excited when they installed a cash machine until I noticed the $3-per-use charge.)

Naturally, I bought one. TASTING IS BELIEVING read the legend on the package. YOU WON’T BELIEVE IT’S FAT FREE. Just keep it in the freezer until the night before, then thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

I was already enjoying the notion of this thing even before I ate it. The package reads: “Our 4 oz portion of cheesecake has 0 grams of fat and 151 calories versus regular cheesecake which has 40 grams of fat and 400 calories.”

And then the clincher:

Remember, “My Fanny Has No Fat.”

I jazzed up my cheesecake by putting half-frozen grapes on top (if you don’t keep a cup of lightly sugared grapes in your freezer, you’re missing one of life’s least expensive, least self-destructive pleasures) . . . fasted for a while (anything tastes better when you’re hungry) . . . ate it . . . and . . . well, it was pretty good. Then, like any good journalist, I got on the phone to Fanny.

It turns out not only that Fanny has no fat — she has no flesh or bones, either. Like Betty Crocker, Aunt Jemima and Ellen Tracy, she doesn’t exist. Never has. “Are you a public company?” I asked Fanny’s ventriloquist. Hey, I’m not sure McDonald existed, either — wasn’t that a Kroc? — but you could have done worse than to buy his stock anyway. Same with old Starbuck.

No sugar, no fat, no public shareholders. Damn! But then I got lucky. They have a website: www.fannysfatfree.com. Free two-day shipping. Carrot cake. Need I say more?


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