“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.” —Rainer Maria Rilke
And so we bloom. And even though it is the same process every year, I never quite feel the same way. Some years, spring feels like forced growth, unfurling in ways you don't feel ready yet. In others, it is a release, the chance to stretch when you’ve been cooped up for too long. Regardless, it is welcomed and I delight in seeing the sun again.
This past weekend we celebrated not one, not two, not three, but four birthdays. In some strange coming together that I do not understand, nearly all of my close friends from college and AM share birthdays in the same two week span. We affectionately refer to this time frame as the “birthday corridor” and often do joint celebrations to help ease the planning process. We are all turning 27 this year, which just like spring doesn’t feel any different and yet is alarmingly close to being too much, too old, too close to 30. Laugh as you might, you feel the crisis too.
On Friday night, AM hosted a party for his birthday at his new place. I left work early, rushed over, and we cooked an Indian feast. Two chutneys, a harissa hummus, pav bhaji, roasted carrots with dukkah, some serrano ham and prosciutto di parma, and endless naan welcomed guests. Meera’s book is really getting a lot of mileage between us these days! AM was in his element, calm and relaxed as he mingled and laughed. I spent much of the evening just watching him interact, finding his own rhythm among everyone else, and fielding questions about the food. There’s something about sharing dishes that people normally wouldn’t make themselves that is very satisfying to me—to see their surprise and curiosity as they move from bowl to bowl.
Then on Saturday, before we headed over to Jordan and Isabel’s for a build-your-own-sushi adventure, Ginny and I got together to make the cakes. If I could condense Ginny into one phrase, it would be this: Ginny is whole-heart. If she can’t go full-force, she will not take up the endeavor and this was no exception. So we spent the afternoon crafting two layer cakes; one raspberry cake with cream cheese and lemon zest frosting and another “extreme” chocolate cake with double chocolate frosting and a dusting of Butterfinger. Neither of us have any real experience making layer cakes, so it was in part a trial-by-error experience. I do say, I think they turned out quite beautifully, though maybe not the pinnacle of cake perfection. We didn’t mind and I don’t think anyone else did either.
The rest of the evening was us elbow deep in rolling sushi, eating too much "dessert nigiri", and trying Isabel's soju concoctions. I was taken by our coming together in it all—everyone brought a little piece of themselves to share, as though we weren’t just having dinner but reminding ourselves of the community we’ve always been. It’s strange to think I have known all of these friends for nearly a decade now, more than a third of my life. It’s no wonder it all feels so comfortable.
I’m not sharing a recipe this round mostly because the cakes, while pretty, can definitely be improved. I may explore other recipes and revisit this. Plus, I got some decent photos and want to keep track of my progress as I learn more and improve. However, I did have some time off this week to snap a few other dishes and those will be up shortly!