Birthday Generosity for a BK Loyalist

While this may seem like advertising for Burger King, I would like to share this evidence that birthdays make people go out of their way to show they care.

Harold Rinehimer, a resident of Nanticoke, Pennsylvania, is a stalwart Burger King visitor. According to local media there, Harold has walked from his apartment to the fast food restaurant “every day, twice a day, for nearly two decades.”

“I guess I like the stuff down here, the food, the times, and I see good friends down here,” Harold said.

Birthday Kindness

Upon discovering that Harold was turning 80, employees planned a surprise party for his birthday.

Seeing the big smile on Harold’s face at the surprise was worth the effort, said restaurant manager Elizabeth Phenotti. “It made my day…It’s just doing something nice for someone, making someone feel special. He sure needs it, he’s a wonderful person.”

Along with a cake at the party, employees gave Harold a card signed by everyone and a Burger King gift card.

birthday generosity

Image source: WNEP

“Faithfully, rain sleet, snow, shine, he always makes it here. I think it’s awesome that he’s lived to be 80. Hopefully, he has a lot more years,” said Burger King employee Audam Fogle.

“That was a nice thing they did for him,” said Nick Indelicato, who met Harold at the BK and often shares a meal with him there. “He was really surprised, so that was nice.”

Harold’s advice? Life goes by too fast, so enjoy it.

Since Harold’s first meal of the day at the BK is breakfast, and he returns for dinner, he definitely started his birthday on the right note — cake for breakfast!

Fighting over Frosting Birthday Cakes?

One of the age-old birthday debates revolves around cupcakes: Which is better the cake or the frosting?

Birthday cake

Some people can do without one or the other. My son, for instance, is likely to lick off all the frosting and leave the cupcake untouched. This is why we’ve moved on to cookie cakes, which he will eat in their entirety. But then there are the boys who come to his sleepovers and prefer their cookie cake slices without any frosting!

Now, I’ve encountered an idea that throws another spanner in the works: replacing buttercream frosting with ice cream frosting. Food & Wine’s  culinary director Justin Chapple offered this suggestion as a recent Mad Genius Tip:

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This made me think of another quintessential debate come cake-eating time: To ice cream or not to ice cream?

Birthday Cake & Ice Cream

I can understand the appeal of an ice cream cake, especially since one of my favorite fro-yo flavors is cake batter. Obviously, if you’ve ever seen any of my #yummybday posts, I am very much drawn in by the appeal of a freshly baked cake. Yet, I’ve never been a fan of cake and ice cream.

My family members are among those who feel that a birthday cake is best served with a side of ice cream. Yet, for my birthday’s there is no ice cream on the plate. It melts too fast and gets the cake soggy. If I wanted a soggy cake, I’d order a molten lava cake thank you very much.

Perhaps the best compromise for the cake and ice cream kerfuffle is this clever idea I came across from The Country Cook’s website. They used melted ice cream to replace all of the cake’s liquids, which “results in a slightly more dense and ultra flavorful cake!” This sounds good enough that we may need to celebrate some half or 1/4 birthdays soon, since we don’t have another birthday coming up for seven more months at my house.

birthday cake=

Happy Birthday — Have a Meat Cake

Many food and fashion trends have originated in Japan, but I’ll be interested to see if this one takes off in North America. Apparently people are beginning to celebrate their birthdays there with meat cakes.

Yep. Those are cakes made out of meat.

I’ve mentioned before that we used to make ground beef cakes for our dogs on their birthday when I was growing up. But this is full on carnivore cake for adults.

 

Yummy Bday at Yakiniku

These cake-shaped servings of layered meats are a trend being enjoyed in yakiniku restaurants where diners can grill their own meats.

The cakes help celebrate a birthday and can be shaped to look like a gift with sparkler, flower, or bow decorations.

In an approach that might remind North Americans of fondue restaurants, the diners are encouraged to select pieces of the raw meat and and grill them at the table. Of course, you then have to take a picture and post it on Instagram to really be part of the trend.

The Daily Meal predicts this phenomenon will take off shortly here in yakinuku restaurants or Korean barbecues. Yakinuku restaurants, by the way, serve diners bite-sized meats and offal to grill at their own table.

Amy Sedaris has also popularized meat cakes. The promotion for her new series, At Home with Amy Sedaris, features a four-tiered deli meat cake with meat-molded mushrooms. But she’s apparently been into this kind of cake for years (judging by a photo in a 2008 blog I found when searching “Amy Sedaris” + “meat cake” — not something I ever anticipated googling).

My Cake Hierarchy

Having worked with someone who didn’t eat sugar and ordered a paleo cake for the office, I will admit I was uninformed enough to worry she was going to be sharing a meat cake. This was a person who made beef jerky in the office oven after all. Happily, though, paleo just meant no wheat…but the cake could still be frosted and was just as tasty as my choice of cake.

So, I’m going to go first with traditional cakes as I’ve featured in #yummybday. Then, some of the alternatives I’ve blogged about, or I could settle for a paleo cake. But the meat cake is going to be number 4 on my list. Now, if there were a pasta cake…that would be something I would be willing to try.

Birthday Cake Gets Family Kicked off Plane

 

In unhappy birthday news, there was predictable social media outrage last month over the news of a couple being kicked off a flight for behavior surrounding their cake. Apparently JetBlue bumped the family en route to Las Vegas to celebrate a 40th from their flight because the proper storage of the birthday cake they were bringing along with them caused a ruckus.

Cameron and Minta Burke of New Jersey were traveling to Sin City to join up with family to celebrate Minta’s 40th. According to news reports, they brought a buttercream cake from a NYC bakery along too.

Only, where to put this birthday yumminess proved a big deal on board the flight. One flight attendant apparently asked them “nicely” to move the cake from one overboard bin to a second one. So Cameron did. Then, he was asked to move the cake underneath the seat in front of him. He did so.

But, then a second flight attendant got involved, and things got more difficult. Cameron told the news that he approached the flight attendants and “said everything was fine,” and was told, “this does not involve you.” When he was told he was being “non-complaint” he apparently asked one attendant if she’d been drinking, “because her behavior was not normal.” He probably regrets that question in retrospect.

Family Birthday Fun?

The video the family shared of the incident, shows them being interviewed by Port Authority police. Oh, and the couple’s children are there, one of them crying throughout all of this.

The icing on the cake, though? (Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one). Minta is wearing an “It’s My Birthday” tiara throughout.

Now, as big of a fan of birthdays as I am, I don’t believe your special day justifies bad behavior. JetBlue counters this family’s complaints with a statement that the family was agitated and making false accusations about the crew.

Still, it’s difficult not to agree (from outside of the situation) with Cameron’s words on the video: “For a cake? A cake? I moved the cake. It’s a birthday cake.”

This particular birthday cake caused this family to be kicked off the flight, their flight refunded, and their trip rebooked while the rest of the flight had to go through the boarding process again.

That’s a big deal for a birthday cake. Reading it was a regular buttercream cake (which is my least favorite), I offer the following suggestion to those traveling for a birthday surprise in the future — settle for local. Mina’s chosen West Village bakery may be a big deal in NYC, judging by its website, but in Vegas it seems safe there is another bakery available to make the cake. Or just have the specialty cake when you’re back home!

 

 

Stretching the Birthday Suit Idea

I regularly follow social media with the hashtag #birthday. You can see what I find if you follow me @birthdaysarebest. In the meantime, I want to weigh in on a phenomenon I’ve noticed — women posting selfies of their birthday outfits.

To begin, let me clear, I do not want to body shame any one in this blog. I am thoroughly impressed with the confidence these women have in posting their barely clad bodies on twitter.

What shocks me is the lack of fabric in the outfits of choice. I didn’t realize I was such a prude until I started seeing these grinning young women in scanty clothes. I have done a mental cataloging of my own past birthday outfits — notice I don’t say birthday suit — and even when I was their age I don’t remember a day where I wore so little fabric!

Birthday Skin

Without naming any names (or twitter handles), I’ve seen an awful lot of birthday skin by virtue of following the #birthday tag.

Apparently birthday outfit means you have to:

  • Show your belly button
  • Barely cover your breasts
  • Keep skirt hemline thigh high at best
  • Wear shoes that are sure to kill you if you have any drinks and attempt to dance.

I may have done one of these at most in my younger days — Ok, maybe two in my wildest days — but all four at once? Man, clearly I am over the hill (and should probably start regretting my age at birthdays more).

I am certainly over the hill enough to regret the evening when I ended up viewing an unexpected eggplant shot. Some guy thought it was a great gift to a girl to share his engorged self on social media. For a hilarious take on this phenomenon check out Famous Authors Reply to Your Unsolicited Dick Pic on McSweeney’s.

Hey! hint…that is not really something that gets many girls going…dress sharp and take a photo. Tell her you dressed up for her because she’s so classy. See where that gets you instead. You can thank me later.

In the meantime, I have come across a song that probably inspires some of the birthday outfits I’ve seen. Thanks Rihanna:

 

Birthday Cake Ban – Seriously?

Birthday cake debate

Photo credit: mandarinaAsesina via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Another birthday tradition is poised to bite the dust.  In the midst of the current dietary campaign against sugar, birthday cakes are facing ban from the school classroom.

Yes, I’ve written before about school’s banning the practice of sharing birthdays at school due to concerns about time taken from classwork or worries about creating an expectation of providing snacks for the entire class. But today’s blog is inspired by a Daily Mail story about a Mom’s complaint that 85% of the families in her child’s kindergarten class voted against bringing cake to school on the special day.

The mother didn’t want her child having sugar overload either. Yet, doing the math, she noted that with 20 kids in the class it would work out to a cupcake every two weeks — at most.

“Why can’t we just let kids live?” the mother wrote.

Another parent commenting on the post added: “The world has officially gone nuts.”
So long as those nuts aren’t in a cake being handed out to a small child in school!
The kindergarten in question wasn’t going to stop celebrating student birthdays — thank goodness — but planned to do so with sugar-free snacks.
Yes, there are plenty of fun, healthy alternatives to make a child feel special on their big day. I’m not opposed to a school taking a vote and ridding a classroom of sugared sweets, as long as they don’t do away with the celebrating all together.
Yet, the Mom’s words “can’t we just let kids live” resonate with me. Are we parents or police? I worry sometimes that the advice we get about how to insure our kids will be healthy and successful is taking the parenting thing too far. I am trying to go with moderation as my mantra (although anyone who saw me actually slicing my own piece of a birthday cake would be welcome to remind me of those words before I dig in!).

Don’t Blame the Birthday! Just Don’t Binge.

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Cake at work gluttony.

The Telegraph started the new year with the article: “Office ‘cake culture’ is fueling obesity crisis and treats should be swapped for hugs.” The article surveys expert opinions on the trend of bringing cakes in for birthdays and sharing sweet treats for other special events:

  • The Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) warns the growing trend is contributing to poor oral health and the obesity epidemic.
  • The National Obesity Forum’s Tam Fry told the paper, “You may not know who in the office is secretly dieting in which case they won’t appreciate your gesture…If you want to give them anything, give them a smile, a hug or both!”

But let’s heed these warnings with restraint, right? Yes, it makes sense to avoid cakes becoming a daily occurrence at work. Plus, it’s a good idea to make healthier choices to substitute for sugary sweet consumption. Finally, moderation is the key to all dieting and weight management success.

Nevertheless, this doesn’t need to mean banning birthday celebrations. I’ve written in the past about organizations that shy away from feting employees in the office, and offered suggestions of good ways to recognize employees turning another year older. Still, I’m not going to get behind a cake ban. I just can’t do it. Heck, we even used to give our dog a ground beef cake decorated with dog bone candles. To me, birthdays demand cake recognition.

Plus, this science article didn’t even consider the fact that some people don’t want a hug. There are many of us in the world who are uncomfortable with physical affection from people we don’t know well. Consider also the fact that there are probably some faiths (thanks HR awareness raising of past posts) where it would be insulting for a coworker to hug a fellow coworker of the opposite sex.

So, clearly, cakes or their alternatives are the best answer.

Related reading:

Hug me. It’s My Birthday

Birthday Baking or “No Bake” Goodness

10 Reasons not to work on a birthday