Birthday Season

Some birthdays require a party.  The Wife turned 40 in May: that’s a party-worthy year.   My birthday was last week.  46 just doesn’t have the same pizzazz as 40.  It did not require a party.  But that doesn’t mean we didn’t eat.  Usually birthdays in our household generate a dinner out.  I finagled two this year.  But I also view birthdays like Wal-Mart views Christmas – it’s not just a one-day event, it’s a season.

The terrible truth is that I woke up on birthday morn feeling a little less than 100%.  Talk about disappointing.  This is a day when I want to be able to eat with abandon.  That doesn’t mean I will – doesn’t mean I ought to– but I should have the freedom to make that choice.  So I started off the day with only a cup of coffee.  But it was a really good cup of coffee.  I had secured a bag of King Cotton Coffee Roasters Ethiopian Sidama coffee beans at the Community Market a few weeks ago, and like so many other good ideas that have fallen prey to procrastination, they were still sitting in my cupboard unopened and un-ground.  It was a good day to break them out.  I added a little brown sugar and some caramel creamer, and it was truly one of the best cups of coffee I have had in a while.  What makes it even more fun is that the beans were roasted right here in Starkville.  Off to a good start.

By lunchtime I was on the upswing but still not ready to tackle anything a big meal.  Back at home I wandered out to the back corner of the yard (dotted with Lowe’s 5-gallon buckets) that The Wife lets me call a garden.  I remembered seeing a couple of orange jubilee tomatoes that had pushed their way out of the blooms despite my neglect.  Much to my surprise, they were perfectly ripe – small, but enough to make a sandwich.  Oddly, these specimens were a bit tart compared to their sweet sisters that appeared earlier in the season.  But they made a great BLT birthday sandwich, hold the L.

That evening we had a lot going on at the hacienda, Son was in Noxubee County at the ballgame, and The Folks were on their way to a family reunion in Tishomingo County.  No big family dinner was in store.  But Daughter had requested waffles earlier in the week, and it seemed like a good time for breakfast for dinner.  I made normal waffles for my ladies, but for myself I added some pre-cooked Beaverdam Farms pork sausage to the batter.  I knew I liked sausage with my waffles – why not put sausage inside my waffles and skip the middle-man?  It worked.

Saturday morning I was up early and at the Community market – the last of the season.  What a bummer.  But I made the most of it.  Ms. Orene, the neighbor and secret weapon of Lancaster Farms, had posted on Facebook the night before that she’d made a chocolate cobbler.  I suggested to her that she bring some to the market the next morning.  And she did!  You have not because you ask not, people: words to live by.  Next on my agenda was a glazed chocolate chip scone from B’s Sweets and Treats, who later provided me with my last glass of mint lemonade for the summer and a loaf of cream cheese blueberry bread we nibbled on all weekend.  The culinary demo was put on by Chef Carnelle and his crew from Harvey’s: cheddar grits topped with grilled vegetables, tasso ham, bacon and a tomato cream sauce.  It was only 9 am, and I had made my own birthday breakfast buffet.

Chef Carnelle getting my breakfast together

Chef Carnelle getting my breakfast together

The fam had lots of home projects to accomplish on Saturday and I’m quite certain I worked off all the calories I had consumed in the last 36 hours.  A fresh start was in order.  Daughter had another great idea – Stromboli’s for birthday dinner.  At heart I am a pizza and ice cream guy, so I didn’t need much arm-twisting.  And since it was the heart of birthday season I was allowed to order for the table.  We started with toasted ravioli (an all-time favorite) then moved on to barbecue pork pizza, Brooklyn Stromboli, and chicken ranchero calzone.  Daughter’s meal was an order of pepperoni-and-cheese bites, but she let me have one.  And the famous cookie-dough bites closed it all out.  Still livin’ large and I fear the scale will show it because the night wasn’t over.  Bops helped us fulfill the ice cream portion of the dream dinner.  (I know, I know, it’s custard). Bop’s Favorite (a concrete with chocolate flakes and strawberries) is my go-to order there, but I had seen a Tweet earlier in the week about lemon icebox.  It was a very tasty diversion.

The Folks were back on Sunday, which meant it was time for the second dinner out.  I had satisfied my pizza cravings the night before, but now I had steak on the brain.  We went to Harvey’s and I think we had every steak on the menu.  Half our party got the special, the gourmet hamburger steak, Son got the prime rib, and I got my long-time favorite, the marinated ribeye.  Daughter got the filet mignon.  Yes, “Picky Chick” has moved from the kids menu to the fancy steak in a single bound.  Of course I had some of everybody’s.  I’m the birthday boy, see?? Dessert was provided by the one who birthed me – a giant decorated cookie, which we shared with the server.

Someone asked me Saturday why I was not one thousand pounds (which is twice the usual five hundred that accompanies that question, by the way).   I guess it’s because it’s not birthday season every week.


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