Tuesday, March 4, 2008

No Such Thing As Bad Weather

I've written before how our dog, Zoe, taught me over the years that there is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing. It turns out my son is a very quick study. He loves to be outside and usually disparages what I consider appropriate clothing - say, a coat and hat when it is 30 degrees and windy. He loves his rainy weather attire, though. And is there anything more delightful than seeing a toddler in Wellies? We had a fine morning jumping in puddles, putting worms that had been washed into the road back on to the more forgiving earth and talking about the rain scenes in one of our favorite movies, My Neighbor Totoro. (Remember when Kanta gives Satsuki and Mei his umbrella? Remember when Totoro wears a leaf to cover his head from the rain?)

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Be-All-End-All of Birthday Cakes

For many, many years I have been making the Be-All-End-All of Chocolate Birthday Cakes for my dh. The original had 3 layers and frosting made from 3 giant Hershey bars, 2 sticks of butter and a whole box of confectioner's sugar. I took a break from making it the last 2 years - who has the 3 hours required of such a creation with a baby in the house? Dh bore the absence with considerable grace, but this year he asked "Do you think you might make my cake again this year?" and I knew how important it was to him and I realized I was happy to do it. I decided that any cake, though, had to be easier than the one I made all those years, and was intrigued by a recipe I found in the Oprah magazine, "a luscious and perfect three-layer blackout cake - a menage a trois of opulent, buttery filling, rich but not overpowering frosting, and perfectly moist cake." I mean, Come On, who could resist? And I'm glad I didn't - it is amazing, truly terrific, pure pleasure. I'm also glad it'll be another year before I will make it again. It was more time and labor intensive than the other one! It even calls for a candy thermometer, which I don't have, to get the perfect boil on the frosting. And then you have to strain it through a fine sieve! Okay, while I can't recommend this recipe for everyone, I was especially pleased and delighted to offer it as the quintessential labor of love for my sweetie.

We scanned some photos of The Cake from birthdays past: here it is in 1995. Dh is with friends from his college days.

Here it is in 1997. Dh is with a friend from his high school and who was my house mate in the early 90's in Chapel Hill. And then we all happened to converge in New Haven where he and I both attended graduate school at Yale. We haven't had contact with him in years and hope to see him on our doorstep or on a local street corner soon.
Here it is in 1999 when Zoe was just a pup.

We could have gone on for many more years, but you get the idea. Here it is, present day, in all it's glory. It only had one candle, but ds asked that it be lit and blown out again and again, almost approximating the number of years since dh's birth.

Happy Birthday, darling, we love you!