Birthdays are magical. But I do believe that the third birthday is the most magical of all. At three, you awake from beneath your lavender sparkle quilt – just like you do any other day – but this day, you get special birthday smiley-faced pancakes with Wisconsin maple syrup and peanut butter. And for the rest of an entire day, things get better and better! And since you don’t really have any frame of reference for this wonderful day (because you don't really remember your second birthday), it’s like your third birthday just happens on day by magic!
I’ve been concerned that my little ‘Christmas’ baby born three years ago would be slightly traumatized by having a birthday amongst all the bustle of this season. Her birthday might feel forgotten. But this year, as we drove out of town to cut down our Christmas tree on my little girl’s birthday, we saw house after house covered with twinkling lights. If that’s not magical, then it’s got to make her feel festive at the very least.
As you may know, I put a fair amount of thought into my kids’ birthday cakes. I’ve never made a Red Velvet cake, but have always wanted to recreate my Grandmother’s recipe. Just this year she dictated it to me over the phone from Montana where she is a spry 92. I ended up combining Grandma’s recipe and this one that I found for Red Raspberry Velvet Cake from Cooking Light. The Cooking Light recipe notes that Red Velvet cake is said to have originated at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in the 1950’s.
So now I picture my little three-year-old dressed in a mid-twentieth century period frilly dress, white gloves, her golden curls just peeking out from beneath her proper hat...she's having tea and Red Velvet Cake with me in the lobby of the Waldorf-Astoria all decorated for Christmas. Magic!
While growing up on a ranch in Montana, I learned to appreciate food by watching my parents take it from the field to the plate. I helped my mother garden, preserve vegetables and milk the cow. Loving food led me to a career as a registered dietitian. And now as a mom, I enjoy teaching my children to cook and appreciate how food gets to their plate – here in a Chicago suburb. At the end of the day, it sometimes seems that all I've accomplished is to get dinner on the table. But if my kids helped, a lesson was learned and we most certainly had fun.