I don’t remember a special or favorite childhood meal, but birthday’s were a treat because it meant cake made from scratch and ice cream. We didn’t have a choice for either. Mom made a yellow cake and served Neapolitan ice cream – vanilla, chocolate and strawberry – a flavor for everyone. The yellow cake was dense and moist with vanilla buttercream icing. I often gave into temptation and sneaked a fingertip taste of the icing within minutes of my mom putting it on the cake plate. But, when it was served after dinner, the cake was dotted with birthday candles, no trace of evidence from the earlier taste of icing.
While my mom and siblings sang a traditional rendition of “Happy Birthday,” I was searching for the perfect wish before blowing out the candles! I often came up short on the wish and the candles! The ice cream was more of a plate decoration for me. I could and still do avoid “vanilla” ice creams such as Neapolitan. If I’m going to consume the calories, I want to enjoy something worth its weight. How about goat cheese & red cherry ice cream or salty caramel? Would you try pecan & whiskey ice cream?
Today my birthday celebrations continue to revolve around food, but the options are less vanilla. Meals with friends, drinks, and desserts. Ice cream parlors remain a popular dessert destination for me. In fact, just two months ago friends and I celebrated my birthday with dinner followed by a trip to Jeni’s, a local company that has since opened in Nashville, Atlanta, Charleston, Chicago, and Los Angeles. What did I have? One dip of Brambleberry Crisp and one dip of Goat Cheese with Red Cherries – not my mom’s “vanilla” ice cream.