There was a tradition in my family when I was a child. A week or two before one of us celebrated a birthday, Mom would ask what we wanted to eat on the big day. We could choose anything we wanted, and she would make it. There were certain things you could count on: the medieval historian usually wanted peas while the alpaca rancher wanted Brussels sprouts. The rest of the meal often changed, but they loved those particular veggies.
Me? I was the predictable one. My meal was always the same. I wanted fish, potatoes, and spinach. Mom could prepare them any way she pleased, but that was what I wanted every single year. One year the potatoes would be boiled, another roasted. The fish might be cod, salmon, trout, or red snapper depending on what looked good when the day came. Oh, and for dessert, there needed to be chocolate and plenty of it.
We all got a big laugh one year. It was my birthday and Mom was shopping for the ingredients of my feast when she ran into a friend. They talked for a while, and then Mom said she had to go and get the spinach for my birthday. Her friend looked horrified and said: ‘you’re making that poor child eat spinach on her birthday?’
Yeah, not a lot of people outside the family got the concept of a child who adored spinach. It makes me wonder what they would have made of my brother who so adored Brussels sprouts that they were part of his birthday feast every year (an aspect, incidentally, which kind of made me look forward to his natal day).
What has me musing on this? Well, it’s my birthday. Mom is long gone, so I can’t place an order with her. Still, tonight Mr. Twistie will take me out to our favorite Indian restaurant, where I will no doubt order an appetizer of samosas, which are filled with potatoes, and a main course of prawn palak, which is prawns (my fish) in a lightly spiced creamed spinach. Fish, potatoes, spinach. The eternal verities of my birthday feast.
Oh, and this afternoon I intend to bake myself a chocolate cake. After all, Indian restaurants don’t serve a lot of chocolate cakes, and I still need my chocolate fix.
So what about all of you? Do any of you have birthday traditions you love?