I know I’ve been talking about it for awhile, but tomorrow I really am going to have some people over for my birthday. Birthdays have always been important to me, involving a few weeks lead-up as well as another week of follow-up after the fact. It’s more like a birthMONTH, actually, and there are several requirements. Here are the five most important ones, in no particular order:
1. A big dinner.
2. A cake – or pie – with candles.
3. A commemorative gathering.
4. The ‘happy birthday’ song.
5. Presents (a six-pack of beer brought to the gathering will suffice).
Of late, I have also been really into creating signature cocktails for my birthday events, even if they only involve a handful of people. Tomorrow I will be serving vodka spritzers with mint from the garden, cucumber, and lime. It’s been so hot lately, I figured I would just take every summery, cooling thing I could think of and put them all in one drink. It will probably (hopefully) look something like this:
Though I have at times denied it, I am – and always will be – a Jersey girl at heart. When given the option, I will often pass up an opportunity for a meal or an event in New York City for a chance to chow down on Jersey-style grub (diner food, sliders, and eggplant parmesan are prime examples) and hang out with my brother.
One of the places we like to go is a restaurant called Marco & Pepe in Jersey City, which features an antique tin ceiling, artfully faded plaster walls, and amazing desserts. If the weather’s nice, they have lovely blue outdoor tables overlooking…the courthouse.
“We don’t like to admit it,” said Julian, “but the idea of losing control is one that fascinates controlled people such as ourselves more than almost anything. All truly civilized people – the ancients no less than us – have civilized themselves through the willful repression of the old, animal self. Are we, in this room, really very different from the Greeks or the Romans? Obsessed with duty, piety, loyalty, sacrifice? All those things which are to modern tastes so chilling?” – The Secret History, Donna Tartt (1992)
Now that the weather is warming up, I find myself eyeing the backyard covetously. With a little dusting and planting, along with the reintroduction of last year’s two-person hammock, that place could be the perfect venue for several glasses of lemonade.
Heck, if I hose off the outdoor chairs, I could even make it a party. I’d need one of these, though: