Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It Was Greek to Me

I am another year older as of yesterday, and it was a very relaxing birthday. It started with a feast for breakfast: eggs Benedict, sausage links, hashbrowns, a caramel roll, half a grapefruit, orange juice, and coffee. Then the lovely ladies gave me gifts (although I had requested no gifts): a krumkake iron (you might want to refresh your memory) and some scented bath products for my morning routine. Because of my recent interest in Scandinavian cooking, I'm sure I'll be trying out the krumkake iron very soon, but I decided against breaking it in yesterday. Instead we gathered as a family to play Catch Phrase, Snorta (Abigail's choice of animal sound for her duck: "Whack-a-quack!"), and Taboo throughout the day.

Over the weekend Susan had asked me what I wanted for a birthday meal; and after watching Ina Garten make a Greek meal on Barefoot Contessa the other night, I requested Ina's menu:
  • spanakopitas -- Susan left out the toasted pine nuts because she couldn't find in local grocery stores any pine nuts to toast
  • marinated lamb kebobs -- Susan used whole chicken breasts instead of chunks of lamb . . . and she skipped the red onion . . . and she grilled the breasts as is instead of spearing them with kebabs . . . so, really, she just used the marinade from Ina's recipe, but it worked well with chicken
  • Greek salad -- Susan added couscous to it, too
  • grilled pita crisps dipped in tzatziki -- Susan used dill from our back yard (where it still grows back summer after summer, a persistent remnant from the days when our predecesors in this house had a backyard garden)
Susan left the girls and me to our games and spent the last part of the afternoon making us a Greek supper. It was absolutely delicious. I had requested another Ina recipe for dessert in lieu of birthday cake (because there'll be plenty of cake in the house tomorrow for Abigail's birthday), but Susan got sneaky and made a cake to go along with the Ina recipe (and it turned out to be a very refreshing combination):

Throughout the day and evening, I received a telephone call from one sister and a greeting card and e-mail from the other as well as numerous electronic greetings from friends and relatives (a good part of my day was spent logging on and responding to online birthday wishes). My aunt/godmother Shirley wrote me a particularly wonderful note, reminiscing about having known me my whole life and noting, "Now you are all grown up, a very good-lookin' guy with much charm and intelligence along with a very nice family." The only part of that that I can confirm is the very nice family, but I just love rereading the rest of it. Thank you, Shirley!

I don't feel any older, but the silver in my beard is often cited as evidence that I'm nearing senior citizen status. (And here I was hoping that it came across as "distinguishing.") But maybe I am old considering how quickly I chose--when asked, "What would you like to do for your birthday?"--just to hang around with my family all day. And it was great!

P.S. Eleven-year-old daughter Suzanna wanted to make supper for the family again this past Sunday, so here's what she made for us . . . entirely on our own (while Suzanna cooked, Susan washed dishes and cleaned kitchen counters so that she'd be available if needed, but Suzanna didn't call on her):

Spicy queso con carne with tortilla chips

Baked beef and bean burritos

So, that was Norwegian for supper Saturday, Mexican for supper Sunday, Greek for supper Monday, and Italian for supper tonight (spaghetti). Not bad!

1 comment:

  1. Aren't we so international in our menu? Just think -- we're far more adventurous in our cooking than either of our mothers were (or were able to be, given the limitations with available ingredients and recipes). Can you imagine what it will be like when our girls are in charge of their own kitchens?