Birthday Dinners

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Birthdays at our house when I was growing up were always a real treat. As soon as we were old enough to know what our favorite foods were Mom would fix our favorite things for our birthday dinner.

I can’t remember what I wanted as a young child but by the time I was at least 5th or 6th grade I had developed expensive tastes. My very favorite meal was T-bone steak and baked potato with orange Jell-O salad, spiced peaches and Waldorf Astoria cake.

The salad was made by putting crushed pineapple in the orange Jell-O and letting it set up. Then when that is set a layer of miracle whip, not mayonnaise, is spread on top. Then the whole salad was covered with a layer of shredded cheese. That is still one of my favorite salads.

Mom cooked the steaks in a pan on the stove, we didn’t have a grill then, and even cooked that way they were the best. My Dad hand picked the cow from a local farmer and it was always really good meat.

The spiced peaches were a staple of my birthday dinner and for Christmas or Thanksgiving, if I could convince her to buy them for the other two meals. They seemed to be very expensive back then and she griped about paying the price but they were my special request so that is what I had for my birthday.

She also told me that the red velvet cake was expensive to make but I didn’t care, I loved the red chocolate cake. Now that I know the ingredients for the cake I don’t understand why she thought it was more expensive to make than any other chocolate cake, but she tried to tell me that.

But even though the peaches and the cake and the t-bones were the most expensive birthday dinner she had to make she did that for me because it is what I wanted. Now I know that Dad and Mom both loved t-bones and I am sure they secretly didn’t care what they cost because they got to have them also. And my Dad loved the salad and the cake too.

I can’t remember what Mom fixed for my Dad on his birthday, but I am betting it was t-bones and almost the same meal that she did for me. But his favorite cake was her buttermilk chocolate cake with fluffy white icing.

Now, my sister was a totally different matter when it came to her birthday dinner. We could not have been more different than night and day. When it was time for her birthday which was just before Thanksgiving, she wanted a traditional American meal.

My sister’s choice for her birthday dinner was a hamburger and French fries and an angel food cake. Nothing else, just those three things. She liked the confetti angel food cake, which I never cared for as much as the regular one but we had the confetti one when it was her turn to choose the meal.

Mom never put much icing on the angel food cake, it was just drizzled with icing that ran down the sides and we all liked it like that. My Dad and I were very happy that she didn’t put much icing on our angel food cake because we didn’t like icing on it.

My Dad taught me when I was very young how to eat Angel food cake and I still like it that way today. I usually don’t put any icing on it if I make one now. We usually eat it with fruit over each piece but I can’t resist having a few pieces the way my Dad and I ate it.

Now don’t turn your nose up until you try this, it is good. I slice the cake fairly thin and then spread a sweet margarine on the slice. My favorite is the Margarine they have at Braum’s. It is soft and has a delicate flavor and is just wonderful on the piece of angel food cake.

I had many doubters about the margarine and angel food cake where I work. The women that live there thought I was crazy when I told them about margarine on angel food cake. So one day I baked an Angel food cake at work. I had taken in a tub of the Braum’s margarine with me when I went to work.

That afternoon when the women gathered for coffee I sliced the cake and cut it up into small pieces and took it and the tub of margarine out to the coffee area. There was still a bunch of the women that thought I was crazy but agreed to try it. I think I converted almost 100% of the doubters. They decided that angel food cake with margarine on it was actually pretty good.

So that is what birthday dinners were at our house when I was growing up. This was one of the family traditions that I really enjoyed. We all looked forward to the special foods that we didn’t get very often because they were for our birthday dinners. Well, all but for my sister’s, we did get hamburgers and home made fries now and then.

It made us feel special to be able to choose what foods Mom would prepare for our birthday dinner each year. To contact Sandy: [email protected].

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