Monday, October 12, 2009

Older and Hungrier: My Birthday

All my life, I have always looked forward to birthdays. Despite being born during the relatively overcast month of October, I would always request for a pool party as a child. I love the water, and nothing could be more fun than an entire day of splashing around in the pool with my sisters and cousins while the sticks of pork barbecue sizzled on the grill. Famished, my little hands pruney from being soaked in water for hours, us kids would feast on the grilled sticks of pork, Pinoy-style spaghetti, fried chicken and chocolate cake from Goldilocks topped with my favorite cartoon character of the moment.

When I outgrew the games and the chlorine, I would always throw parties for my friends. In high school, some friends and I would have joint celebrations of our birthdays. We would rent out some condo's penthouse, pitch in to buy booze and invite friends from our all-girl's school and our guy friends from other schools. Food at that time was not the priority- we would much rather spend our saved allowances (and birthday cash from our parents) on buying beer (remember Blue Ice?) and the dreaded/revered bottle of Jose Cuervo tequila. My old friends and I would chuckle when we recall our classic party fare of chicken lollipops, cornicks and- the centerpiece- cocktail hotdogs and marshmallows on toothpicks speared around a head of cabbage. Now that's some classic stuff!

When we moved to Makati, the larger space made it possible to have bigger parties. Food would be catered by my favorite restaurants, and then later on, by my sister Foxychef. Beer bongs and jello shots were later on replaced by martini bars and wine. Whatever it was that we were in the mood for, we made sure that we had it in abundance which would last us until the wee hours of the morning. Luckily, we had pretty cool neighbors who shared our penchant for revelry (or at least had a very high tolerance for it), so we never had problems of village security banging on our door.

Now, finally living on my own for the first time in my life, I suddenly long for the quiet mellow weekends with my family. I started my day with breakfast in bed prepared by Matt, a simple plate of my favorite breakfast fare: scrambled eggs, bacon and toast. The fact that my husband does not cook and loves to sleep in late made the meal taste even better.

Since my birthday fell on a Sunday, I decided to have our regular Sunday dinner at my pad instead. My parents brought some Angus rib-eyes for me to cook, and two kinds of paella from La Tienda (note: Thank you, Miguel, for ordering them for me!). Foxychef prepared some Iberian Chicken and our other sister, Queenbee, brought some Baked Salmon from Conti's. Since it was my birthday and did not want to spend it in the kitchen, I just prepared a simple cheese and coldcuts platter with Manchego and Saint Paulin cheeses, smoked tangigue, anchovy-stuffed olives and chistora.

Now I relish these quiet evenings with the family, just eating good food, sipping on drinks and enjoying the conversation around the table. My niece, Rianna, is the consummate entertainer, helping me set-up the meal before dinner and then, afterwards, keeping us in stitches as she sings and dances to her favorite songs by The Pussycat Dolls and Black Eyed Peas. She also took most of the pictures that night, and some were actually quite good.

I really enjoyed the evening and look forward to having another potluck dinner with the family. Good food, after all, is nothing without good company to share it with. I cannot thank God enough for giving me a wonderful family to have many more amazing meals to come.


Noel said...

I knew that paella de verduras looked familiar....

Belated happy birthday, Chinkee, and I wish you and Matt all the happiness and bliss (possible) in married life. Heh heh heh

Chinkee said...

"...and I wish you and Matt all the happiness and bliss (possible) in married life..."

NOW I know what you mean, Noel. Hahaha! Thanks for the birthday greeting and best wishes. Hope to see you soon:-)

Chow and Chatter said...

oh what a cute blog you birthday looked like fun

Chinkee said...

Thanks CaC!:-)

Miguel said...

Happy Birthday!!

Chinkee said...

Thanks Mig! Saw your sister and Marga at Chili's Greenhills last Wednesday. Marga's ready daw to get back to boozing again. Hahahaha!