06 February 2008

The best birthday I've experienced...

It wasn't mine. It was my friend Matt's, his 21st, while we were studying at Oxford. We'd barely been there for a month, and yet a group of us had bonded like we'd known each other for a lifetime. Jenny, my freshman roomie, serendipitously ended up being my flatmate, and we bonded like sisters with another girl in our house, Elizabeth. One long, fantastic night we spent 8 hours sipping Strongbow and tomato soup at the Eagle & Child and talking about anything and everything with Matt, Dave, and Max. One of the questions that got tossed around was what meal we would eat every day of our lives, if we were forced into monotony.
Matt and I had a strong bond from the beginning. I had never met anyone had such certainty-- his world was very clear-cut, whereas mine was always a muddled, passionate mess. Jenny had a theory that our best feature is also our fatal flaw-- mine was passion, whereas Matt's was nobility. But at the same time I loved having someone who was so reliable and interesting in a way that was so different from me. It challenged me, brought depth, and so we became fast friends.
Since Matt's birthday was the first one we had abroad, and since I wanted to ensure that he had a splendid birthday away from home, I conspired with my roommates to create a dinner party. But this was no ordinary dinner party-- it was based upon the favorite menu that Matt had shared with us, which included spaghetti with his mother's meat sauce, a good salad, and chocolate cake with buttercream frosting. And in order to make sure that the meat sauce was exactly what Matt had in mind, we called his mother in the states to get her recipe. However, we had a small problem with the chocolate cake. Namely that the first time we tried it, it looked like this:
I blame it on our inability to convert the English-system measurements to suit our metric-system measuring cups and spoons. The cake was as hard as a rock. And furthermore, by the time we finished it was 2 AM, and we had a full day of tutorials the next day, so what to do? We resorted to a mix, which we ran out to purchase at 7 AM, as soon as Marks & Spencer opened, and then passed off as our own at the dinner party.Once Matt saw what we'd done for him, he was touched. Even though it wasn't my birthday, I felt so wonderful because of the part I'd played in making someone else's birthday special.So, based on this evening and how much fun we had, I've decided on at least part of what I want to do for my birthday! I got the idea from a conglomeration of Matt's birthday dinner, party ideas from Blueprint, Domino, and Victoria magazines, and this image from Jezebel: I will be hosting a...drumroll please! a very small evening breakfast birthday party at my tiny apartment. We will have a prosecco bar (prosecco with mixers such as ginger syrup, cassis, and apricot nectar) and hot chocolate, Quiche Florentine, strawberries & cream, spiced beignets, croissants and jam, and whatever else I decide upon. I will probably have about 8 people, all of whom know each other, because when I've tried a small get together with people from different groups, it quickly dissolves into disaster. Of course I'm worried about insulting people by not inviting them, but this happens every year and is why I always end up having 2 weeks or so of birthday celebrations. In fact, my senior year of college I had a part I and part II in the same night! I'm thinking on my actual birthday it'll just be dinner, maybe a trip to do karaoke later with some of the work people...? Here's a question though-- is it inappropriate to ask people to bring a bit of cash-- like $5-- to cover the food I'll cook, in addition to bringing a bottle of prosecco or something? My finances are just terrible right now, and I can't pay for an entire dinner party for 8-10. So what do you think??? About ALL of it!


Chelsea Talks Smack said...

OOOO DELICIOUS. the final result looks incredible. Adn because i'm PMSing like mad, I want to eat an entire cake by myself.

Chele said...

Oooh I love how the candles are on the side of the cake, looks yummy, and I agree metric measurements from US to Europena always ruins my food too.

The party idea is just lovely, and I think if these are friends who you consider good friends they will understand the situation. I dont think its rude at all. When I lived In Norway we would always chip in on food and bring your own bottle of wine. OR this I have also done asked each person to bring or make a certain dish?

Katelin said...

Oh that cake looks fabulous and delicious.

And the birthday breakfast sounds lke a marvelous idea :)

Bebe said...

Hi Holly,

Thanks for coming by to visit with me and say such nice things about my blog!! You are so kind!!

I've added you to my favorites, too. Your blog is sassy and fun and I'll come by to see you from time to time!!!

Bebe :)

P.S. I want some of that cake ~ it looks yummy!!!