This morning, I made this Facebook post: "Up before dawn, baking the Bastille Day treats, which I will serve with fresh, hot coffee. Since I am the oldest girl, I will wear a crown of candles on top of my head. I've got the correct holiday, right?"
Those of you who know me might say, "Wait, isn't today your birthday? Are you baking your own birthday cake?"
Yes, yes I am. I know that many people might think it's a sad state of affairs when one must bake one's own birthday cake, but for me, it's a special treat. I get the joy of planning what cake I will make, the contentment of baking it, and the pleasure of eating it.
Long ago, I would have told you that I prefer bakery cake, but that's no longer true. Once I loved bakery cake frosting so much that while I was at the grocery store, I would buy a cupcake just to have the frosting.
Long ago, I would have told you that I didn't want to bake my own cake, that I wanted to have the cared-for feeling that comes from someone else preparing food for me. One year, my birthday was on the day of our quilt group meeting, and I was touched to my very core that one of those friends made me a delicious cake. I think it was a date cake that had orange frosting, a cake that was much more delicious than it sounds.
I've had thousands of pieces of cake by this point in my life, and that cake really stands out in my brain, which tells you something about both the cake itself and how much it meant to me that my friend baked it for me.
I usually say that I don't care about birthdays, particularly my birthday, but that's not true. I remember feeling mopey in 1998, when we had moved down here, knew very few people, and I declared there was no need to celebrate my birthday, especially since it was a teaching day for me. But then I felt sad when we didn't celebrate, so my loving spouse got some Dilly bars from Dairy Queen while I was out teaching.
This year, I decided not to kid myself. I'm going to want something special, and since I've been craving cake, cake it will be. I can tell myself that I'm celebrating Bastille Day in a whole different way.
Marie Antoinette said, "Let them eat cake"--that's how we came to have cake on this holiday that celebrates French independence. Or am I remembering wrong? (I am kidding, of course; I do remember the outlines of recent French history).