Third birthday party report! Also, the Best Recipe Cookbook defended.

Kate and I spent Saturday morning baking a cake for Lydia’s birthday, and then spent Sunday morning baking it again — we used the Best Recipe cookbook, and when the first try resulted in a flat, rubbery disk that TASTED like cake but LOOKED like an industrial vibration-dampening mat, our confidence was shaken. Finally, however, we tracked it down. The container of Clabber Girl baking powder we had used turned out to be a container of Clabber Girl cornstarch. Aha! Kate and I are actually more relieved that we get to continue using the Best Recipe cookbook as our One True Trusted Source* than we are upset about having a cake flop on us. A few weeks ago, Lydia had been to a friends’ birthday party where the cake was studded with jellybeans, and she was INCREDIBLY EXCITED to do the same with our cake. So the moment before the party, LBY was carefully pushing lemon jellybeans into the pink icing with the concentration of a Fabergé jeweler. All in one quadrant of the cake.

There are dozens of pictures (thanks, pop!) which you can see if you friend me on Flickr, but they break down into the following sequence that is as old as birthday parties:

  • Backlit silhouette of young girl in party dress pushing her nose up to the storm door, staring out at street: “When will the people come?”
  • People arriving, suddenly-shy girl nowhere to be seen.
  • Photos of cake being consumed, odd hats being worn.
  • Photos of presents being opened. Girl’s arms in photo blurred into mere probability clouds.
  • Pictures of small girl playing with presents.
  • Obligitory photo of girl’s father and girl’s uncle playing with toy train set; girl nowhere in sight (actually, Lydia loved the Thomas train stuff that her uncle Matt gave her, but you have to put that obligatory photo in there if you want to keep your membership in the Thomas Kinkade Folksy Photo club.)
  • Photo of sleepy girl sitting on mom’s lap
  • Burst of energy! Photo of girl, changed into tutu, dancing with daddy.
  • Photos of girl completely sacked out asleep with visible Zs emitting from open mouth.

* A note on the Best Recipe Cookbook: For those of you that pooh-pooh “the scientist’s cookbook” and make snarky jokes about Phil Hartman as the anal-retentive chef, you can shut your damn pie-holes right now. Yes, the Best Recipe is preachy and precise (or, if you prefer, “informative and carefully directional.”) Don’t forget, people, Bruce Lee mastered Wing Chun, a very precise and exacting form of kung fu, before he got all loosey-goosey with his Jeet Kune Do and his “No form is form.” The Best Recipe is like Wing Chun, you dig? Later on I’ll affect the Cajun accent and start throwing ingredients around with carefree abandon.

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