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Do you make your own birthday dinner?

My birthday is always around Thanksgiving and it is always good timing because of the long weekend; however, planning a special night out during the holidays can be tough, Traveling beyond my city seems daunting and the restaurants in my neighborhood while always inviting don't really seem to meet my needs this year. I am leaning towards making my own birthday dinner. While there are a slew (sp?) of restaurants that cook better than I do, I feel like fussing over a meal designed for me by me and having DH pick up some decadent dessert. Have I gone too far down the road of the self absorbed or are there others who pursue a self created happy birthday?

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  1. I personally don't want to, I would get pouty if I had to make my own birthday dinner, but if you want to, I would say that is your choice (it is your birthday!). I'm sure that it would take the pressure off of your husband... I say go for it! Your taking control to make sure your birthday is everything that you want it to be rather than waiting around for someone else to do it, that way you won't be disappointed.

    1. It's your birthday. You do what you want. I actually think that it is kind of cool. It's not self-absorbed. IMO it's kind of practical too. You save money (which most people love to do... especially during holiday season) and you may get more than one meal out of it. Go for it and have a wonderful birthday.

      1. you've actually given me a slight revelation.....

        first off, i did "cook" for my own birthday. but this was primarily because i hosted a birthday party for my sister and myself as also a pre-event for an evening out (see black menu for white night post on the cooking board) and loved the whole menu creation and testing process.

        my boyfriends birthday is coming up and i decided to take him to one of his favourite but ridiculously expensive restaurants in the city. you're really making me reconsider this. he loooooooves to cook and the menu creation process is something he takes great joy in. access to a good kitchen is something that is hard to come by for him currently and now you're making me debate stocking the fridge full up and cleaning it top to bottom to let him have at it for a whole weekend.... perhaps that'll be the christmas present.

        in my mind, birthdays are about doing what you enjoy and having your favourite people with you to do it.

        1. I pretty much always cook at home for our birthdays and anniversary - much prefer it to eating out and it seems more special to me somehow. That's probably part of the reason I never quite get the "looking for a romantic restaurant thing"!

          1. I do this all the time. My husband makes a helluva hamburger out on the grill (summer birthday) and, half the time, I'd really rather make up a big bowl of fresh guacamole and have that and a few mojitos and a burger and then go out for ice cream at someplace fancy.

            I think it's your birthday and you should be able to do what you want. Cooking is fun. What better present can someone who loves to cook get than to be able to prepare whatever meal they want to be enjoyed with friends and especially family who you don't see that often?

            1. Like everyone else is saying, it's your birthday so do want you want. If making a dinner for yourself will make your birthday special, then absolutely go for it.

              Personally, I love to cook for others on their birthday but for me, I would want to either be cooked for or taken out. I wouldn't cook for myself, though I might cook with my SO since we enjoy cooking together a lot. But generally I prefer for that day that someone else do the heavy lifting. Blame it on the fact that my birthday is the day after Christmas so there is always this feeling of it being a near-forgotten day. You'd think after 33 years I would have gotten over it :)

              1. I nearly always make my own birthday dinner. I feel self-conscious when friends want to take me out and I worry endlessly about the dinner being too expensive. I may not be able to cook as well as the top-tier NYC restaurants, but I can certainly cook better than most of the moderately priced ones. If I do the cooking, I know the food will be good, it will be exactly what I want without compromises, and the wine will be appropriate and flowing. Cooking for my friends becomes my birthday present to myself.

                1. I have and see no shame in it, though my version is usually just steaming a live lobster or two, which my wife and kids dislike, and eating it as a big mess by myself after the little ones are asleep.

                  1. No we go out to eat for a birthday. Birthday person choice, typically a new place, or a high end place we wouldnt usually go.

                    This past birthday for me was Joe's Seafood, Prime Steaks, and Stone Crab.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: swsidejim

                      Yeah, that's what we do too. My birthday falls right after Thanksgiving and I would not feel very special at all if my birthday dinner got lost in the shuffle because of the holiday.

                    2. No way. We go out for birthdays and other special occasions. I cook most nights and don't particularly enjoy it, so I love any day off I can get.

                      1. If you like it, do it. If you think you MIGHT like it, try it -- you can always do it differently next year.

                        I just went to a birthday party for a friend where the birthday boy cooked for 50+ people. He appeared to be having the time of his life.

                        1. My birthday is also near Thanksgiving (11/21). 4 years ago, I got fed up of "waiting" for my husband to throw me a party, go out to dinner, etc. So, I threw myself a FAB birthday party catered by myself. Of course, I love to cook & entertain. I made WHATEVER I wanted even though some items clashed with others (cheesy garlic bread, spinach dip, red sangria...you get the idea).
                          For my cake, I made a tower of ho-ho's and twinkies.
                          It's still my best birthday. Every had a nice time.

                          1 Reply
                          1. There are those cook only to avoid a worse fate (going hungry, finding a restaurant everybody can agree on, eating another family member's cooking, etc.) Doesn't sound like you're one of those.

                            Then there are those for whom cooking is a form of entertainment. If that's you, then by cooking your own birthday dinner you not only get to eat a great meal, you get to plan it and prepare it, too.

                            Best of all, through the lens of the cost of a restaurant meal, you can really rationalize purchasing ingredients, wines, etc. that you might otherwise hesitate to splurge on. Make Darrell Corti's car payment this month instead of Rick Mahan's!

                            BTW, as to there being restaurants that cook better than you do, there are some cuisines that are technique-intensive. Classical French, formal Chinese, and historical Nawabi (okay, that's a little over the top, but you get my point) meals reach their apogee only in the hands of a chef with years of intensive experience and hordes of assistants. But there's a new game in town: get the very best ingredients and get out of the way. Just don't screw them up and they'll speak for themselves. Since you're dealing with small quanities, and since you have a personal stake in the meal, you can do this as well as anybody.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: alanbarnes

                              Yeah baby, definitely splurge on whatever ingredient you want! Also, because it is your birthday, you are entitled to grump-free behavior all day from the rest of the household. My partner is wonderful, but occasionally gets grumpy when we prepare for parties (the stress). But if I am preparing my own b-day meal because I like to cook, then he does his best to comply!

                            2. mine is memorial day and we live down the shore so I'm familiar with the holiday/restaurant dilema

                              I love to have a girls day (usually the red door) then back to my house for ultra fancy food/drinks with all the husbands...but I generally get take out (and make the guys pick it up while we're getting buffed & scrubbed)

                              the last couple of years I've been stuck on massive amounts of Veuve, chilled seafood and bite sized cakes...seems to make everyone happy

                              enjoy and do let us know what you made!

                              1. Tracy L, I'm likely a whole lot older than you are and my absolute answer is "It depends"! For one thing, it depends on where I am living at the time; are there restos nearby where I want to eat? Is this the year to fly somewhere exotic for the celebration? or will I prefer staying home to make exactly what my heart is panting to eat (and likely in "soft clothes" what our family calls PJs). Do I want to be alone w/ DH or in the middle of a group of friends?

                                You've had a lot of answers chiming in with a like theme - it is YOUR Bday, there is no right or wrong answer. With any luck, it won't be your last so if this choice is wrong, do it differently next year. Making this choice is not like getting a tattoo; you can change your mind later without pain.

                                Follow your heart.

                                1. It's your birthday, so if you want to cook, go for it. In some countries, it's actually standard for the birthday boy/girl to treat friends on the big day, rather than the other way around.

                                  In your case, it's win-win: you get the food you want, your friends don't have to fight over the bill in a restaurant.

                                  I personally wouldn't want to cook for my b-day, but I'd definitely want to pick where we go for dinner. One exception: I was once surprised with a picnic b-day dinner - the best meal/surprise ever, since it showed people cared enough to remember what I like and go through the trouble of making it.

                                  1. I do not celebrate my birthday! But, if I did, I think that making your own b-day dinner sounds great. Why go out if it doesn't rock your world?

                                    1. Happy Birthday Tracy! I love to cook, and love to eat. And my birthday is on an ideal holiday for getting friends together, Cinco de Mayo. If I'm going to celebrate with a crowd (either large or small) I always cook. A few years ago, we threw a major party but without announcing that it was for my birthday. I was cooking for weeks, making anything that could be frozen over the two weekends before the party. It was absolutely fabulous, wall to wall people of all ages, singing, talking and eating. For the "big 50" I had a smaller party, I think 10 or 12 people. I cooked for that one, but kept it much simpler: appetizers, radatouille, salad, carrot cake. I did everything ahead and really enjoyed the evening. I've also made filet mignon for just my husband and myself. Then, other years, my husband has picked up dinner from a high end local take-out, and of course sometimes we've gone out, anything from Mexican (Cinco de Mayo and all) to the most expensive restaurant in town. I like doing it differently from year to year, I'll bet you will too!