Friday, May 8, 2015

The Birthday Supper

Birthdays are just a number. Still for some reason I have been dreading this one. Three-quarters of a century old seems so final. I used denial that this day was coming. That technique worked for a while. But Wednesday, Elianna asked me what I was doing Thursday night. She explained that a birthday party was being planned in my honour.

A party I wouldn’t have wanted to miss, but I only know that in retrospect. Pouria has been thinking of buying a meat smoker for a couple of years now. So he made the purchase: a smoker – not one like Richard’s – but a different model that uses charcoal for heat.

Charcoal and then the wood chips on top of the charcoal gave a fantastic colour and flavour to the chicken thighs that he set out on the bottom rack of the smoker. On the top rack were the frankfurter brand of sausage that Costco sells, but now the Polish was smoke for 3 hours, along with the chicken breasts.

On the first try at blowing out thep candles,
not one flame was extinguished.
Note to self: practice blowing out candles for next year
That meat alone would have been celebration enough. But three days ago Amir started making a New York cheesecake in honour of my birthday.

 He took the absolutely perfect tested and tried recipe from the Cooks Country magazine and produced a cheesecake that had no cracks, no rounded top, just the in every way and onto the top of it he spread his own wildberry/raspberry topping.

 Amir is no stranger to cheesecakes. A few years ago he was making one a week for us. When he started his own journey to better health, he cut out making the weekly cheesecake.

 Our loss.

But I was thrilled to see one back on the table for my birthday.

And now the bread?

 Pouria took an Indian cooking class last month and shared the naan bread recipe with every one.

 So when I got upstairs to the kitchen the naan was coming out of the oven and resting in the bread basket.

The salad was crab, lettuce, corn and a mustard dressing – Elianna said it is one of the favourite salads she makes.

The cheese cake is still sitting 

on the bottom of the spring form pan.
So cutting takes 3 people: one to hold the cake, 
one to hold the cake stand, 
one to hold the knife.

There you have it -- a perfect birthday evening for me – until Richard arrived from next door. 

“Have you done the most important part of the birthday? The family tradition where we go around the table and say something nice about the birthday person.”

I broke out in a sweat.

 I am not a spotlight person.

Derek, Sahar, Amir, Arta, Kelvin, Pouria Ellianha
 I like hiding behind pillars and looking on at events like this.

 But Pouria started the compliments and others added in – they were embarrassingly effusive.

Richard had to break it up and tell people they should be nice, but not that nice.

One of these guests  in this picutre
is not like the guests in the other picture

(hint: try to find Reza)
He gave them a template which only he could use. He was grateful that I had shared my university email account with him, at least far enough that he can go in and look at the holdings of the University Library. What else is a mother for?

That was nice of him. I reminded him that there are still some passwords I don’t share -- like the one to my bank account. He agreed. No sharing there. I am old, but not that old.

So the day ends with me, ready to move into my last quarter of a century – which may just be the best ever.



  1. No coming around and eating the scraps. You have all practically licked your plates clean. But I see there might be one or two left over pieces of cheese cake. mmmm.