Of Butter and Cream: Celebrating My Birthday With Julia Child

As you may know, I recently turned 30. We can talk about it later- it’s a whole other post. Although this 30 doesn’t look like the one I’d had in mind, I still love my birthday more than anything in the world and I love to celebrate myself.

But it’s ok – I’m actually pretty humble. But kind of not.

Anyway, this year, I decided that my birthday celebration would have to be spectacular. I mean if you’re gonna turn 30, go big or go home, am I right?

So I went big. At home. I threw myself a big, Julia Child themed birthday party and invited about 20 people over to my house and I cooked for them.

Not just any dish, mind you! No siree. I made Julia’s Chicken Breasts With Cream, Mushrooms and Port, Fresh Green Beans, Simone Beck’s famous Queen of Sheba Cake (chocolate and almond cake with silky chocolate icing, an apple tart and a pineapple tart).

I used no less than one dozen eggs, a pint of heavy cream and 10 STICKS of butter on the whole meal for 20 people, including dessert.

Worth it.

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I was in hog heaven all day as I chopped, washed, sifted, melted, seasoned, measured, poured and cooked. What a great way to break in my new Guatemalan apron! For me, it couldn’t possibly get any better. Then my guests came, and there was more fun to be had! I may have mismanaged my time just a bit, so I was cooking while my guests visited and ate the bread and Cammembert I had put out on the tables with the flowers.

I think I was made to throw dinner parties- because few things are more delightful to me than seeing people I know, in different circles (that in this particular case occasionally overlap) talking together like they’re at a family reunion, enjoying good food and having fun.

I love that about food. It brings people together and by its nature creates fun times.

Oh yes – a note on my costume. In a proper nod to Julia, I wore a black skirt with white polka dots and a purple top, black heels and of course, a strand of white pearls.

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After dinner, we were going to watch Julie and Julia, but instead we gathered around and my dad asked me to share the wisdom I had gained in my 30 years. Not liking to be put on the spot, I shared the first thing that came to mind: a quote from Catch Me If You Can, with my own application at the end.

“‘Two little mice fell into a bucket of cream. The first mouse quickly gave up and drowned. But the second mouse, he struggled so hard he eventually turned that cream into butter. And he walked out’ Today, I am that mouse because I’ve learned to roll with the punches.”

After that, my dad re-instituted his birthday tradition, that’s been a part of birthdays in our family for years. He had everyone go around in a circle and say one encouraging thing and give me one piece of advice.

I was praised for my love of people, my can’t knock me down spirit and my sense of humor among so many other nice things that people said they liked about me. I was given wonderful advice – my sisters both encouraged me to take credit for the good things about myself and to trust my instincts. A good friend of mine encouraged me to, though many had mentioned my ability to roll with the punches, enjoy the punches because they are there for a reason.

My uncle summarized what I’d like my 30’s to be about perfectly when he said

“when your voice is louder than the voices around you, that’s when you truly know who you are and where you’re headed. “

Since I mostly discovered my voice in my twenties, I hope that 30 will be a continuation of that journey of discovery as I seek opportunities to use and trust my voice and the God who gave it to me- under whose direction I will always be.

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