Monday, July 20, 2015

Birthday Celebration

Every year, for my birthday, I would ask for german chocolate cake.  It sounded exotic, and I liked chocolate.  It was not that I was a fan of coconut, or that the combination was the perfect melange of flavors.  I always liked it far better in concept than execution.  Nevertheless, every year, Mom would ask what kind of cake I wanted for my birthday, and I would answer: German Chocolate!

Fun fact for the day: German Chocolate cake was originally German's Chocolate cake.  It owes its name to an American chocolate maker named Sam German, who developed a formulation of dark baking chocolate that came to be used in the cake recipe.
German worked for Baker's Chocolate Company, and developed the dark baking chocolate used in the recipe in the mid-1800s.  (Aside: my sister lives in the old Baker's Chocolate Company manufacturing plant - recently renovated into apartments.) When the Dallas Morning Star published the recipe in the 1950s (submitted by Mrs. George Clay), Baker's shared the recipe across the country.  The sales of Baker's chocolate went through the roof. 

Eventually, the  __'s was removed from German's Chocolate cake.  And the folk etymology of German Chocolate was born.

Today, my co-workers sang "Happy Birthday" to me.  Nicole made me a German's Chocolate cake, and everybody was delighted to get a treat.  It just happens that there is a long break between the most recent birthday (mid-June) and the next one on our list (early September). So we celebrated my birthday.  I smiled real big.  It was not difficult to act pleased that my birthday was being celebrated.

Only thing was, my birthday is five months away.  Or seven months ago, depending on your approach.  That's the issue about being born on the 28th of December: people struggle to celebrate your day for a variety of reasons:
  1. They are tired of having parties
  2. They are tired of giving gifts
  3. They are broke.
  4. They have eaten stuff that is bad for them for a month.  Or more.
  5. They are not in the office (or school - this has been going on for a long time), since they left before Christmas, and are not coming back until after the new year.
So last week, when Nicole asked whether there was anybody - ANYBODY - who had a birthday to be celebrated, I spoke up...

"You can celebrate mine."

She looked up, and asked "When is your birthday?!"  I explained that it was during the holiday break.  "And I didn't make you cake?" 

Um.  No.

"OK, then.  We are on for next week! What kind of cake do you want?"

"German Chocolate!"

She complained loudly about the fact that German Chocolate cake is too easy.  Nicole is an artist.  Her cakes are works of art, and require complicated techniques and fresh ingredients.  Something that can be made by a kitchen-savvy eight-year-old is well below her level of expertise. 

But she made it all from scratch, and the result was spectacular.  Light, fluffy cake, layered with coconut-and-pecan flavored icing.  A lovely cake, one that reminded me of my birthday cake from childhood. 

Being celebrated is a nice thing.  And for a chaos muppet like me, it is especially sweet when it is unexpected.

No comments: