Our Cakes and Eating Them Too
Bizarrely, my son Skyler, my husband Chris, and Skyler’s best friend Nigel were all born on November ninth, with Skyler and Nigel a mere 10 hours apart in age. Normally, we would all celebrate together, with me frantically cooking and baking in the leaner years, and all of us blowing it out at our favorite celebrity chef steakhouse in the more prosperous years. Either way, there is definitely homemade cake.
2020 is definitely a sucky year to turn 21 for Skyler and Nigel. At our 2019 bash Chris and I promised them that 2020’s celebration would involve more fine wines, and no one in the party had to be a designated driver. Neither young adult was ever likely to spend their 21st slamming PBRs at a dive bar, not with their champagne tastes in all things. Alas, the best we could do in captivity was mail a slice of cake to Nigel.
On Chris’ and my second date, I was so shocked to learn his birthday was the same as Skyler’s that he thought I didn’t believe him and pulled out his drivers license to prove it. Numbers and dates have continued to be a complete family weirdness that would take at least 3 more posts to enumerate. Trust me, the shared birthday thing is the tip of the iceberg.
November ninth is the day each year that I flash back to my very near death experience (well, one of them anyway) and the horrendous hospital oriented months that ensued. It is the day my son entered the world early, blue, weak, fighting, and furious to have been so abruptly removed from his comfy water-world while we both clung on, literally, for dear life.
For better or worse, this year I was so caught up in the bigger picture and hoping to finally (for the first time since 1992) be proud to be from the state of Georgia that I channeled all the difficult feelings into last week’s constant stalking of NPR and MSNBC. As trauma goes, I can’t say it was emotionally less of a roller coaster ride, but, as with Skyler, there is hope for the future.
Blue is a healthy color to be.
For my own birthdays my grandmother Johnny Jo would bake a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, and the most gorgeous and delicious pink roses that she made from homemade frosting. She kept up the tradition most of my life, even mailing me cakes when I was in college. I’ve kept up the tradition, adapting her recipe into yellow cake with chocolate icing upon the birthday boys’ wishes.
What with avoiding synthetic food dies, our dislike of shortening based icing, and an allergy to uncooked egg whites, organic buttercream icing that looks as good as it tastes is a bit of a cake decorator’s nightmare. There is also the added challenge that, as much as I love decorating cakes, I do it only once or twice a year, which means I don’t get much practice. Still, I get an A for effort, and an A+ for whacky creativity.
What you see pictured are a smattering of the cakes I could find photos of from past years.