Monday, August 8, 2011

is age really just a number?

That time of year has come again...
My time to celebrate living!

Some dread getting older and no one ever discusses why. Are those little lines of character (also known as wrinkles) starting to appear? Have you reached that age where all your friends are talking about marriage? Do you find yourself saying, "I'm just aging" as your left knee continues to cause you pain?

Right now getting older isn't a real problem for me since every time I walk into a bar they are convinced that I'm only 17—I guess my character lines aren't really gaping yet. And even though my friends are eager to get married by age 25, I'm too stubborn to live by a concocted time-line. And I'm certain that my knee sometimes hurts because I run too often.

To be honest, the only thing I'm concerned about on this special day is the feeling of satiety.

When I was young my parents so graciously planned parties for me and 30 little kids that were in my class. The cake was probably 9 X 13, but might have been 13 X 18, the latter serving 36-50 people(depending on the size of the slice of course). Either way, the cake never seemed extraordinary because I had to share with too many of my friends. Back then I only wanted to invite my closest friends, but my mom felt it wasn't socially acceptable to leave anyone out. I understood what she was saying and never fought her on the matter, but I don't think she ever saw it through my eyes.

Thankfully by age 21 I was able to celebrate with just three of my good friends and the only stress I had was worrying about too many sprinkles on my two-tiered cake, instead of how many bars to hop. Sure I went out—to a concert and ordered a drink—but it wasn't until after a few of my friends and I indulged in my homemade favorite yellow cake. Call me an oddball, but the color of the butter-cream frosting was really a much bigger issue than the number of acquaintances watching me order my first drink.
And the best part of my 21st birthday was when I hopped out of bed, to peak at my cake resting in a glass dome stand, and realized that I had about 3/4ths of a cake left. This meant that for the next eight days I could continue the celebration and watch my cake get smaller and smaller.

My theory is this: As you get older (unless you've hit a monumental age like 50 or 90) the sharing becomes less of an issue. Even if you're celebrating with 10 of your closest friends instead of three, you'll be old enough to tell them that you really would like to have two pieces saved for tomorrow. Now if you've hit that monumental age where a loved one insists on planning you an outlandish party, you've certainly lived long enough to request a square-shaped, six-tiered, yellow-cake with silky chocolate frosting!

Soon the wrinkles will become more prominent and the bartender might not ask to see my ID again, but if it means another serving of cake then I'm eager to celebrate aging gracefully!

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Dearest Readers and Eaters,

Forgive me for slacking on my blog posts. I promise that I haven't stopped eating, which means that I still have a lot to share.

I'd like to start off by sharing my appetite for Turkey. When I was in Istanbul this summer I had a taste of the old city with a piece of pistachio baklava. In terms of aesthetics, the layered filo had a light brown coloring that reminded me of a very old library book (which is quite fitting since the Turks have been making this pastry since the Ottoman Empire).

The top layer glistened, which meant one thing...butter. When my eyes moved past the shiny filo, I became so enamored by the crushed pistachios garnished on top that I had my fork at hand seconds after it was placed before me.

As I cut into my piece, the syrupy sugar and chopped pistachios from the bottom of the pastry began oozing out. The whole experience was like an exotic adventure for my eyes, and an even better one for my palate. There was a seductive nature to this baklava as the sweet nutty flavors were so eloquently combined with a chewy texture. I knew I'd be overwhelmed with more than one bite so I put my fork down and continued to admire the foreign pastry.

If you don't usually indulge in super-sweet confections, it's certainly worth taking one bite and savoring it. You might find yourself falling in love so watch out for that second bite.

I haven't dared to bake baklava, but when I do I promise to share the recipe. If you're feeling brave, try using ready-made filo-dough to speed up the process. Just be sure to follow an authentic recipe.