Have you ever played the car game in which you and your fellow travelers imagine what you’d select for your final supper? You can have anything, cooked perfectly, and by someone else. My menu is the same I’d request on my birthday. Although there may be variations based on my mood on a given day it’s likely going to involve champagne, tomato sauce, pasta, and a chocolate mousse so rich and thick you can stand your fork up in the ramekin.
I encountered a particularly unappetizing birthday menu feast recently. Apparently, the Greeks used to celebrate a birth feast on the fifth day after the infant was born with the following:
…Custom, sooth requires
Slices of rich cheese from the Chersoneses,
Toasted and hissing; cabbage too in oil,
Fried brown and crisp, with smothered breast of lamb,
Chaffinches, turtle-doves, rows of merry guests
Pick clean the bones of cuttlefish together.
Gnaw the delicious feet of polypi,
and drink large draughts of scarcely mingled wine.
(Athenaeus, cited from a third century A.D. anthology, by Linda Rannells Lewis).
This list of cheese, cabbage, lamb, cuttlefish, and “scarcely mingled wine” along with some birds and “polypi” (which I don’t even know how to characterize) makes my lips purse in a “not-for-me” way. Finding a picture of a cuttlefish only pressed my lips together tighter:
Worse still, I don’t see a dessert at this Grecian shindig! What kind of feast doesn’t offer guests a dessert? One of the great things about Birthdays are Best has been tweeting all the #yummybday recipes I find.
Care to share your best birthday menu, I’d love to know it. Or, is there a particular food that gets eaten on birthdays where you live or in your family? I want to know those too. Comment below!