When Gift Cards Just Won’t Cut It
Sometimes—actually, all the time—it can be hard to decide what to buy your friend/family member/random-person-you-don’t-remember-being-friends-with a birthday gift. You must know what I mean. You get to that person’s birthday month and you vow to start looking for a gift. But you don’t. The day gets ever closer and you push off that trip to the mall. You finally decide you’re never going to get to the mall, so you give up and buy a gift card or start searching Amazon. You find the gift, but realize the person’s birthday is tomorrow so you have to give them an IOU: “Your gift is one the way! Just consider this belated gift an extension of your birthday!” (Birthday extension is an excellent excuse by the way.)
Well, let’s just say I’ve gotten tired of this pattern over the years. Certain people are easy; I can plan the person’s gift super-early and know that it will be super-awesome. Then there are my family members (ahem, father) that claim they don’t want a gift at all. “You’re my gift.” Please. Stop. You know I’m going to get you a gift so face the fact and give me a direction to head in. But no: it’s the same thing every year. Said person ends up with a random movie that I enjoy and hope he will watch with me.
Thus, recently, I have taken to going for a different kind of gift: food. In my birthday card, I promise to make the birthday boy/girl a meal of their choice. They can choose their favorite savory and sweet dishes and I will happily cook them their ultimate meal. I love this gift because it always works. Food always succeeds at putting a smile on people’s faces. This summer I made a birthday meal for my mom, my dad, and my aunt—all successes!
I’ve transferred my ideology to college, but with a few tweaks. Seeing as my free time and kitchen space has reduced significantly since being at home, I’ve had to adjust my food offerings. Now I offer the birthday girl/boy their favorite dessert only (they are usually just as appreciative).
The first person in my group of friends to have a birthday this semester was Amelia and she requested either a carrot cake or a chocolate pecan pie. I decided on carrot cake because the recipe I found was slightly less complex and didn’t require buying a bunch of pecans from Whole Foods that would no doubt empty my bank account.
This recipe is easy and delicious (I mean, it has cream cheese frosting). It’s also really pretty. (Unless you’re me and forget to slice the top off the bottom layer so that the second layer can sit on top instead let it be lopsided so you have to stick plastic knives in the top to prevent it from falling. Oops.)
Moral? If you don’t know what to by someone for their birthday, make them a cake! (And don’t make it lopsided).
You can find the recipe for this cake at http://lemonsandanchovies.wordpress.com/2011/05/07/an-ode-to-my-mother/
Posted in AU Gourmet