My tween is birthday party obsessed and this year, like every other year, she spent half a year telling us that she wanted a perfect party, nine gifts, no pink dress... However, unlike the birthday last year, this time she was keen to know what we were planning to include in the food menu.
“No chola-kulcha please,” decreed the tween.
“Arrey but what will the ‘big people’ eat?” asked her grand mom, and the key person in charge of birthday party plan.
“Pizzas,” came the reply.
“Too expensive,” I said shooting down the demand for Dominos pizzas on the birthday menu.
“I don’t want a cake with marzipan icing,” was the next salvo fired by the almost 9-year-old which wounded my father’s taste buds because he looks forward to the Pineapple cake we order from Wengers every year for the birthday party. “Kyon, what is wrong with the icing and what is marzipan?” he asked to which pat came the reply. “Nana, it is made with almond and sugar. I do not like almonds and you are diabetic and cannot have sugar.”
Watching Masterchef Australia and all its versions seems to have some benefits because now terms like ‘marzipan’ and what they mean are very clear to all of us.
In order to avoid more food-related battles, we told her to come up with the menu. There was only one condition: everything except the cake would be cooked at home. She had four suggestions and we added one more to cook a birthday meal for 15 children and 8 adults…and everything was made in our kitchen, including, hold your breath, the return gift.
Early in January, my daughter had attended a cooking class and learned how to make colourful rainbow cupcakes. She suggested that we give four or five rainbow cupcakes to each child as the return gift. Sure it meant that we spent the evening before her birthday in front of the oven but it was delightful because she got to mix all the batter, fill the cupcake moulds with coloured batter and even take out the hot cupcakes from the oven, and then wait for them to cool down before she packed batches of four or five cupcakes in silver takeaway boxes for each friend.
Her other suggestions for party menu included Nutella sandwiches (which we okayed in a jiffy), tomato pasta (a big yes because it is easy to rustle up), and potato patty burgers (which she had learned at the cooking class too). From my end we added pizza rolls which I learned how to make at the Little Cheflings cooking class for children.
I am happy to say that this menu was indeed a hit and unlike previous birthday parties, we hardly had any leftovers. The pasta and pizza rolls were polished off by 15 children and the burgers kept the adults in the party happy. My father ate two large slices of butterscotch cake with fresh cream and my mother could not get over the fact that we had not made a return gift box for them. Whether or not the friends went home happy, we don’t know but the two of us were thrilled that everything on the menu was declared ‘yummy’.
This weekly series, which appears on Tuesdays, looks at what’s new with food and drink, and how we are interacting with it.