Recently I had ten of my oldest and dearest friends over for a birthday party. We all grew up together and our friendship extends from kindergarten to the nebulous zone we have recently entered – called the “middle ages.”
We are all in our early 50s – 50/11 to be exact, and we find all kinds of excuses to get together and celebrate – birthdays, Ground Hog Day, Mardi Gras, a good hair day – anything will do. The planets lined up recently to enable us to celebrate all four. Well I wouldn’t exactly call it a stellar hair day, but everything else fell into place.
You would’ve thought it was Christmas. Everyone arrived bearing gifts for the four classmates celebrating 50/11, plus really cool things for the hostess – moi! I loved it. I got everything from smelling salts to nifty things for my garden. (I told them we would do it again next Saturday if they will bring gifts.)
One of my girl friends gave me some cocktail napkins embossed with the moniker “HAG.” I was a little miffed because I have always mistakenly thought the word described a scary looking old woman. Not so. The napkins redefine the word as “Happy and Aging Gracefully.” I like that definition and have decided to adopt it as my alias.
We pulled out the bling we have been accumulating for our excursions. We each have crowns and scepters which came fully equipped with tiny twinkling lights. We put on the matching rings we only wear when we are together. The force was with us for sure.
Mysteriously, we have discovered that the things we did as kids are way more fun than playing with our “adult toys” like computers, I Pods and such. We also have matching outfits which we once wore on an outing to the Wal-Mart toy department. We became separated in the store and a stranger came up to me and asked if we were the Sweet Potato Queens. I told her “No, we are the Turnip Green Queens.” (We’re from Mississippi, you know where greens and beans are considered gourmet.)
She said “I knew it – there are more Turnip Green Queens over there,” She pointed to the small crowd of my buddies wearing awful flowered pajamas. We were beginning to draw a crowd of curious on-lookers. One man jokingly asked if we were escapees from the psych ward.
“No we are just a bunch of old hags celebrating our fading youth,” I proudly announced. (Losing your inhibitions and parts of your mind are heady experiences!)
Back at my hovel, I cooked up a great big pot of red beans and rice and made an unconventional bread pudding from one of the sixteen pound cakes in my freezer. I have a relative who turns out about 365 pound cakes a year and at least a fourth of them make their way to my house.
I never know what to do with them and I needed a New Awlins style dessert so I cut one of the cakes into slices and toasted them lightly to dry them out. I poured over a mixture of sugar, cream, milk, eggs and a splash of vanilla, nutmeg and almond extract. Just before lunch, I baked it off at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. It really was delicious if I do say so. I served it with a commercially prepared caramel butterscotch sauce. My friends raved, but sometimes they lie.
The only downside of the “Fat Saturday” affair was when everyone left. The condition of my kitchen and dining room resembled the aftermath of Katrina. Having fun can be awfully messy.