When it comes to my mom, when something works, something stays. That's way, year after year, my mom bakes the same cheesecake at every family function, goes to the same casino in Atlantic City every few months, dyes her hair the same color of reddish brown. If she liked it the first time, she's going to like it forever.
Which is why, for my mom's 62nd birthday, it was a no brainer to do the same thing we did last year: make her home cooked dinner.
My sister Annette planned the menu, and in a sister-cooking-school-like fashion, I helped her create very delicious Chicken Cordon Bleu, Salisbury Steaks, Mashed Red Potatoes with Garlic and Parmesan Cheese, and Green Bean Caesar. Sister-in-law Jen brought a yummy salad and strawberries and dip. And of course I was in charge of desserts, making by my mom's request, a raspberry cheesecake (big surprise, she liked it before, she wanted it again) and another mom stand-by: a pumpkin cake. ("You mean the cake that no one likes except your mom?" Dan asked me the other day. Well, it's HER birthday.)
Here's Annette making the chicken.
This year turned out a little different because we had my little grand-niece Audrey there, with her mom Tiffany and dad, Greg. And while last year, Dillon was so well behaved and cute, this year, he still had the cute factor going for him but caught with a bad case of the terrible two's. So he spent most of the evening looking something like this:
It's a little blurry but that's Tiffany's hand with fork trying to feed him some chicken. That's my brother Pete saying anything to get him to eat it like, "I talked to our dog Gizmo and he said you should try it." And that's Dillon saying "NO! NO! NO! I DON'T LIKE IT!" (no matter what Gizmo says!)
This went on for a good half-hour or so, Tiffany wanting him to take just ONE bite, him irrationally crying, Pete irrationally coaxing. Finally it was decided that since Dillon ate no dinner, he would get no dessert.
But you know how it goes: Dillon wanted dessert. (I mean, who doesn't want dessert?)
Pete with the cheesecake.
But his parents were firm: No dessert. The rest of us--lucky for us--had eaten our dinners, so we ate our dessert. From Dillon's corner, there was more crying. And more pouting. And more whining. Then there was silence. And then all of a sudden, Dillon popped up from under the table with a giant piece of pumpkin cake in hand, icing licked off!
How did that happen? How did he get the cake?
We looked around the table to see where he could have gotten it. The cake platter was in the center of the table, so there was no way he could have reached for a piece without anyone noticing. I remembered I left a few slices in the kitchen, so I ran in there to see if that is where he grabbed it, but no, all the cake was still there. Was there a mole in our midst?
Finally, Tiffany asked him, "Dillon, where did you get the cake?"
Babsia means Grandma in Polish and that's what everyone calls my Mom--which would mean my mom was the one who did it! Had the birthday girl really given in?
"It wasn't me!" my mom said. "I swear, it wasn't me!"
As my mom tried to defend her innocence, and we debated how this could have happened, I watched, in the midst of this commotion, my stepfather Ted quietly walk over to Dillon and give him the piece of cake AGAIN.
And so the culprit was caught. We know who the real Babsia is.
Dillon (with Jen) gets his cake. (I guess there is someone else who likes that cake beside my mom).
The birthday girl and the kiddies.