It was made even better by the fact that this year my birthday fell on Thanksgiving. I was born on Thanksgiving and always love celebrating my birthday on a holiday of thanks. This year, my husband, knowing that I would be cooking a full holiday feast on the actual day, gave me a birthday week. I am so thankful to have married someone who not only loves to cook but loves to challenge himself in the kitchen. Now that he has turned in his dissertation, he has decided to teach himself the art of French cooking. Not having a butcher in town has been difficult, but he began Monday with Steak au Poivre and my birthday favorite, Brussels Sprouts with Shallots and Bacon. I must be the only person I know who looks more forward to brussels sprouts than cake on her birthday. But when Dan makes them, they are magnificent and incredibly luxurious.
Tuesday night he took me out for my other favorite meal: Mexican food and a pitcher of beer. Ever since my college days in Texas, there is nothing more comforting or festive than enchiladas smothered in red sauce, cheese, lettuce, and sour cream, a basket of hot chips, and a dish of queso with traces of salsa running through it. And of course, a cold mug of Dos Equis XX. Thank you, Dan, for knowing that this meal out would make me happier than any expensive dinner--though that was to come.
Thank you to our mothers for volunteering for dish duty, especially since the first few years of wedding china means nothing can go in the dishwasher (no matter what the back of the plate says). Thank you to Dad for bringing the hit of the party--a two-and-a-half pound bag of peanuts. Football and peanut shells can always bring a family together. Thank you to Deak for football tickets for "guy time" and to Donna and Mom for a wonderful girls shopping day, even on Black Friday. Thank you to everyone for understanding that the noise at 208 on the evening of the Egg Bowl was worth it when you tasted the Shrimp and Crabmeat Wontons, the wedge salads, and the Lobster Mac and Cheese. And thanks to Dan for making me try new things, getting me out of my familiar ruts, and as a result, I am even thankful for my new favorite wine, the Goats Do Roam Pinotage. And for the extra dessert from our harried but lovely waiter.
Thank you all for a wonderful holiday, for making it the best it could be (and the best it could taste). From Dan's grilled turkey to Donna's smoky gravy to Mom's bread dressing, it was such a success; thank you for the stories I'll be able to tell for years.