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What is your birthday tradition?

I am just finishing 3 days of birthday celebration (Last night was a Peruvian feast at a neighbors.) here on the coast of Maine. But on the eleventh, my birthday, it is tradition to either go to a beach or more recently our lakeside cabin and have a traditional clam bake. We begin w/ crab salad on crackers and Pilsner Urquell beer (Always Urquel) on the dock. When time for dinner, into the pot goes potatoes, lobster, clams (soft shell) and corn on the cob. When cooked, we sit at a picnic table on the dock and dig in with potato salad, cole slaw on the side and a bottle of bubbly to wash it all down. We finish off the evening w/ strawberry short cake. This year, things have been hectic and we decided to go out to camp (local jargon for cabin), spend the afternoon relaxing in the sun and on the way home stop by a local lobster shack. When we got to the restaurant, Ruth & Wimpies, they had just run out of clams! We substituted fried clams as a a starter, and ordered lobster w/ mussels and corn on the cob. The fried clams were fair, the lobster very small, the mussels ok and the corn tasted old. Ruth and Wimpies is noted for their pies but, that night had no strawberry or other fruit pies, so we got none. I'm not usually a fussy eater, but I was so disappointed! I realize now what a tradition preparing our own Downeast clam bake had become. Do you have a tradition with birthday foods? Tell us.

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  1. Hmmmm clam bake! i've always want to go/have one! I'm sorry to hear your latest bday ritual wasn't up to par to your home-cooked clam bakes.

    In Filipino tradition, we make pancit- rice noodles with shrimp, chicken, chinese sausage, fishballs, some veggies like sliced carrots, celery, onion,=well at least that's the way my mother makes it. The noodles are to represent long-life. Even now, as I'm getting older, I still ask my mom to make it, even if I'm going to dinner with my SO or friends. I remember the first year I didn't have it- my freshman year of college when I was away from home. I was super sad about it, and like you didn't realize how special the dish was, as well as being away from my family.

    Another birthday tradition, but one that has gone extinct for me- the Carvel cake. Oh man, I remember having GIANT Carvel cakes at my birthday parties when I was a kid and how happy I was that half of the cake would be left over- dessert for a week at least after my birthday!

    2 Replies
    1. re: teamuse

      On a recent birthday, I bought a Carvel Fudgie the Whale cake ... you can't go home ... it was horribly sweet.

      These days ... Chez Panisse ... I have my birthday at Chez Panisse ... downstairs ... the big dinner.

      I also buy a different whole cake for that day ... I rarely buy more than a piece ... I think I'm downgrading to a cupcake this year.

      For various reasons, I am birthday'd out. I just like to treat myself to something that makes me happy. Ditto for the SO. I buy him what will make him happy.

      Growing up it was the traditional white birthday cake. My mom's birthday was 9/24, parents were married 9/27 and my birthday ... years later was 9/28. It was a lot of cake that week. Each event required a separate cake.

      1. re: rworange

        "On a recent birthday, I bought a Carvel Fudgie the Whale cake ... you can't go home ... it was horribly sweet."
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        i've posted several times about the tragic downward spiral of the quality at carvel. it's truly awful now. so sad.

    2. It's funny you bring up this topic-- my husband's birthday is tomorrow (June 14, Flag Day) and growing up, he always had a Flag cake (the cake itself might be yellow or white, but ALWAYS blueberries, strawberries and white frosting making the American Flag on top.) I made him one last year, violating my own "rule" about not buying strawberries until we can get local ones or have them in our own patch.
      I myself as a child always had a Boston Cream Pie for my birthday (Mmmm! I still love it, with the cool creamy custard in between and the fudgy frosting!) while everyone else in my family insisted on this particular carrot cake for their birthdays (it's a scarily decadent recipe that uses oil, no raisins, and 8 cups of grated
      carrots.)
      In my family growing up, the birthday boy or girl sometimes chose a place to eat dinner out. Because we didn't eat out very often, we didn't really have a vast repertoire to choose from, but I remember choosing to go into Boston to the European, a classic North End place, for pizza. (I don't think it's open any more.)
      Now that we have a son (only 5 mos.) I've been thinking a lot about traditions, and just yesterday, I bought a special brightly glazed plate at our local Artists' shop, with the idea of starting a tradition of our own: Whatever the cake of choice, the birthday boy (or girl) gets their slice on this special plate. I was contemplating breaking with tradition and making my husband a pineapple upside down cake (which he also loves), but I think you have reminded me how important tradition is-- he'll be pleasantly surprised, I think, to get a Flag Cake after all.

      4 Replies
      1. re: missoulagrace

        Oh! The European! I was just thinking about that place yesterday. Growing up in the suburbs of Boston, my family used to go there rather frequently for pizza. We went often enough that the host,(do you rememer that guy? Very distinguished.), came to remember us. We stopped going at some point. Years later, when I was probably in college, we stopped in and the host remembered us! We were flabbergasted. They closed, sadly, I think in the late 90's. They auctioned everything off and my brother is now the proud owner of one of their booths. The distinguished host resurfaced for quite some time at the Union Oyster House. He seemed ageless to me. I loved that place. Thanks for letting me share my memories.

        1. re: hilltowner

          Thanks for sharing them! Tell me... (it sounds like you were there as more of an adult than I)... was the pizza as great as I remember? And what was the name of the other classic North End place one might have gone for coffee and pastry after? Across the street, maybe?

          1. re: missoulagrace

            As I recall, it was pretty much classic Boston pizza, similar to Regina if you ever get back to Boston. I loved it, but honestly, it has probably been close to 15 years since I had it. The pastry place you are thinking of is probably Mikes. We always went there after dinner for cannollis. It could also have been Modern, but most people from out of town tended to go to Mikes.

            1. re: hilltowner

              Pizzeria Regina....I haven't heard/thought of/uttered that phrase in a long time!
              It's funny... no one in Montana seems to know how to make pizza. Pretty much classic Boston pizza.... (sigh) seems like such a lost and special thing to me now! Sorry to go off on such a tangent, but there also used to be a pizza place on that street at the bottom of Beacon Hill, near the pub the Sevens, that served late night slices? I have literally salivated and closed my eyes many times wishing for a slice, folded in half...

      2. I like to spend the month of my birthdsay eating food I don' normally eat in my lifestyle of fitness and working out.

        We break the weekends up. One weekend, we go to pizza night at my local favorite health food place. This isn't traditional pizza, but it isn't healthy! A huge deep crust topped with my choice of fresh veggies. Real cheese, fabulous fresh sauce. I usually get eggplant, toasted garlic, tomoto, zucchini, mushrooms, peppers and more. A "single serving" is the size of my torso, I swear!

        One weekend, I go out for a pancake and biscuit gorge. I try and get three cakes, each a different flavor on the menu. I may go to the griddle in LA this year-no biscuits,there ,though. then we go for a huge hike or bike ride to burn carbs.

        One weekend, my husband takes me out somewhere nice. A good place.

        One of those weekends, my husband uses a small deep pizza pan to make me a giant triple chocolate chip cookie (white, milk, dark) and we top it with ginger rosewater ice-cream from our favorite Persian ice cream place. Oh yum! I deny myself any sort of cookie for a month or two before, just so it tastes even better!

        The last weekend is sort of a wild card. Gotta have some unpredictability!

        My husband is a leap year baby, and so every time he actually gets to have his real birthday, we do somehing special. I make something interesting with lamb to feed the crowd at his party/homebrewign event. this year I smoked a leg after letting it sit in a morocan rub. Wrapped that baby in garlic and let it smoke in my offset smoker for a few good hours. then I made a 3 layer fresh pumpkin spice cake from scratch. I also made katchapouri, cous cous salad, a blue cheese cheesecake, and a simple green salad.

        So for him, the tradition every four years is special lamb and some large cake. Of course, we celebrate for him every year, but the leap years are special.

        1. happy belated!

          i'm not big on celebrating my own birthday - i usually just organize the festivities for everyone else's :)

          but as a child, it was family tradition to special-order a carvel ice cream cake. all chocolate, extra fudge, extra crunchies...and decorated with whichever superhero, cartoon character, or theme was en vogue at the moment.

          2 Replies
          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Those crunchies really made the cake special, didn't they? I was saddened to read upthread that the cakes are no longer as good. They're a favorite childhood memory - my parents only very rarely bought an ice cream cake. My mom was a fabulous baker, and her cakes really were better. But Carvel cakes seemed more exciting somehow!

            1. re: Catskillgirl

              yep, we loooved the crunchies.

              alas, the magic is no more. a couple of years ago i ordered one for a friend, to fulfill an unrealized childhood dream of his - while he'd had carvel cakes, he'd never gotten "fudgie the whale," and had always wanted one. so i special-ordered it for him the way my family always did - with extra crunchies and extra fudge inside, plus an extra cup of each on the side.

              i have to confess, i was almost excited as he was - it had been years since i'd had carvel ice cream cake. well, my first bite turned out to be my last. it was truly awful. the ice cream was mealy, with a bland flavor reminiscent of freezer burn. the icing - which had always been one of my favorite parts - tasted remarkably like a blend of plastic and cardboard. and the crunchies...oh, those beloved crunchies. they were stale and bitter, like eating gravel that had been flavored with old, cheap cocoa powder.

              this guy [the "birthday boy"] will gladly eat practically anything, quality & nutritional value be damned. [if necessary, he'd be perfectly happy subsisting on frozen pigs in blankets, ramen noodles, & ben & jerry's.] and yes, he did finish the piece i cut for him. he even finished off mine after i took that one regrettable bite. but then he did something completely out of character, something i've NEVER seen him do... he left the rest of the cake behind, and never came back to get it.

              that thing sat in my freezer, untouched, for DAYS. i finally tossed it after about a week...and he eventually confessed that even HE had thought it was pretty crappy, but had eaten it for nostalgia's sake.

          2. Happy Birthday to ME!! Today is actually my birthday and I've been reading the wonderful traditions and remembering the years past. For many years I also had Boston Cream Pie, which was one of my Mother's best dishes, and my all time favorite. Now, as an adult I've spent many past BD's having a choice of dinner options, at a favorite restaurant. I usually do all the cooking in the house, so this is a true treat for me. I also try to pick a place that serves something that I wouldn't normally fix myself.

            Tonight, unfortunately, I've got three sick kids, (all with flu symptoms), so we're staying in, but I'm fixing Surf & Turf, with some nice steaks and jumbo shrimps. We'll celebrate out another time.

            So, to all of you celebrating I wish you many, many more years of favorite traditions. May we all have peace, prosperity, and good health.

            3 Replies
            1. re: othervoice

              Happy BD. Our daughter turned 21 last Sunday. The 23 year old still gets Boston cream pie.
              I've got 10 lbs. of soft shell clams for steamers w/ artichoke & corn on the cob (maybe some asperagras to.) My wife said with a smile, "What is this, the fourth night of celebration?"
              I used to make Ice box cakes in fanciful shapes for the kids when they were little. They chose the theme, I made the cake; superman shield, castle, dinosaur, a snake etc.
              Hope everyone feels better.

              1. re: Passadumkeg

                P
                Thanks so much for the sentiments. I know my Mom is sending me a large BCP straight from heaven. Your daughter's a lucky girl to have such thoughtful parents.
                O

                1. re: othervoice

                  JMJ! We got 5 kids from Seoul to Costa Rica to Austin to Maine. First time they will be home together in 5 years. The cabin will be packed and fun!

            2. I'd love to go on a clam bake. Sounds lovely.

              I don't have a birthday tradition, except that I usually drag my SO and son off on a chowish daytrip. Last year we went to Sonoma and visited farms and nurseries. My birthday is in August and it's often very hot, so they're indulging me.

              For my SO, we usually get rid of the kid and watch a zombie movie and eat BBQ. I really don't like to do either, so it's an act of love. This year, I made a cake with little plastic zombies and "blood." (I dragged a toothpick though drops of red food coloring.)

              One non-birthday tradition: we always have a picnic on the beach on the summer soltice to watch the sun disappear into the water.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Glencora

                From living in Scandanavia, we build a large fire on the beach at the lake and stay up all night; not this year though, gonna go party w/ my 92 year young mom. She's a hound; from Thai to Mexican!

                1. re: Passadumkeg

                  P
                  Give your Mom a big hug from me.....and the fire on the lake sounds absolutely fabulous.

              2. Perhaps not a CH reply, but my wife (on her birthday) goes to the local supermarket, finds the most disgusting cake, has her name put on it while she waits, goes home, eats as much as she can (mostly icing) and becomes ill!!! Tradition, go figure.

                12 Replies
                  1. re: Sinicle

                    Your mother isn't diabetic is she? The tale reminds me of a seriously diabetic patient I once had who, in a fit of depression, went to the bakery, bought five lemon meringue pies and went home and ate them! He figured he may as well go out happy. Fortunatley a neighbor saw him with the stack of pink bakery boxes in the hallway and after an hour or so, decided she'd better check on him. Saved his life! The books I could write!

                    Anyway, about birthdays.. When I was little, my mother always held birthday parties for me in San Diego Zoo. (Yes! The zoo is THAT old! <g>) In late elementary school my parties were in the side yard, with lunch and cake at the huge canopied picnic table my grandfather built under one of our giant pepper trees. If anyone has ever been around a pepper tree in California, you understand the need for the canopy! In junior high through to about tenth grade, my birthday parties were hay rides with a taffy pull and birthday cake after, then the boys went home and the girls spent the night. Until the year someone stuck taffy under my bed, between the blades of my venetian blinds (then raised the blins), just all over the place. It went unfound until the ants told me where to look. Probably one person did it all, but that was the end of taffy pull birthday parties for me!

                    For my kids, when they were little I did really elaborate birthday cakes for them. You can see a couple of them by checking out the photo link on my profile page. Until we moved to El Paso, I had their birthday parties beside our pool with a pinata. Well, at least a pinata for my son's birthday. His is November 1st, the day after Halloween. They were always told to eat Halloween candy til it was coming out of their ears that night, because the next day it all went in the pinata and back home with the other kids for their dentist bills! '-)

                    The most memorable birthday I have ever had was when my first husband and I lived in Turkey, and he and three girlfriends got together and threw a huge surprise party for my 25th birthday. As the saying goes, they "did it up brown." Georgia cleared her very large living room and turned it into a dance hall with a live band and a HUGE balloon chandelier in the middle of the room with faces and red bows painted on all of the balloons. The dining room was loaded with all sorts of incredible food. And of course, a cake. At least I'm pretty sure there must have been a cake. My sharpest memory doesn't center on cake! I couldn't figure out why so many dancers were gathering under the balloon chandelier and laughing. I asked my husband. He danced me over and all 50 or so of the balloons were Trojan condoms! Georgia said all three of them who had blown them up and painted the faces had very sore jaws, mostly from laughing. Oh, and Paul and Georgia named their resultant baby girl after me. She'd used up their total supply,..

                    This year will be my 75th, and I do know my son, daughter-in-law and grandson are coming from El Paso. Don't know about my daughter or brother. But it's not until September.

                    Happy Birthdays to all of us, no matter when they are! And I want some clams! '-)

                    1. re: Caroline1

                      75 years young! Mom is 92, still drives, lives alone and is a chow hound! Next week I'll be taking her out for Vietnamese, Thai. Mexican, Polish and....Turkish!!! We'll Raki on....Ho Ho Ho, what a puny fellow! Mom's only complaint? She can't open a wine bottle with a cork screw. My own coal miner's daughter! God bless her. When she retired from teaching, she called us to inform us she had bought a Eurail pass and was going to bum around Euope w/ us, and she did.

                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                        I like your viewpoint! In a story not particularly apropos to food, but very much about birthdays, when I was just hitting my early teens, I thought I'd go for a terrible scolding for impertinence from my very proper Victorian grandmother. (Truly Victorian: As a nineteen year old in northern England, she stood for hours waiting for a glimpse of Queen Victoria as her carriage passed by!) So I asked her what it was like to get old. Instead of lecturing me about being cheeky, she thought a moment, then said, "Well, in your mind you can be any age you'd like, be it nine or ninety. But getting old means your body betrays you." As I follow in her footsteps, my god, what a wise woman she was!

                        I like the "Raki on!" Sounds like a good plan to me! Sounds like one of these (http://tinyurl.com/5w4hk6) might just be the ideal birthday gift? Have yourselves a blast!

                        1. re: Caroline1

                          Wow, Caroline, your cakes are beautiful! I love the carousel the most, but they're all lovely. What a talent you have. And patience! I was born without patience, I think. I dislike baking for that reason.

                          How very cool that your grandmother saw Queen Victoria. And yes, she was very wise. I'm 48, and my body feels 84. But my mind is still about 16!

                          1. re: Catskillgirl

                            I once told my favorite doctor that I don't want no crummy organ transplants. I want a full body transplant, and I want to pick the body! Five nine, 21 inch waist, perky boobs, great condition. He said I could be first right after him. I told him he'd look funny with perky boobs.

                            For me, cake decorating is very relaxing. But I do old fashioned butter cream icing. I don't like fondant simply because little kids can't sneak a finger full of icing from the back of the cake. '-)

                            Hey, I always make them wash their hands first!

                            1. re: Catskillgirl

                              How ironic, then, Catskillgirl, that you run a commercial bakery!

                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                But I don't do the baking! I run the wholesale department. The bakers bake what I ask them for (in theory). Me - I spend my day in airconditioned splendor on the phone with customers and vendors while those poor guys sweat down by the ovens.

                        2. re: Caroline1

                          Great stories. I like the idea of using Halloween candy in a pinata.

                          We have a big pepper tree over the picnic table on our deck. I love it, though it is messy. When my son was younger he'd sneak peppercorns into our food. Yuck.

                          1. re: Glencora

                            You know, the first year we did the birthday pinata, I thought I'd get howls of protest from the kids. To my amazement, every year they had a contest over who could get the most goodies for it! Made 'em back off when I caught them trying to sneak out of the house with my best pillow cases as loot bags.

                            We had five huge pepper trees on our property, all over a hundred years old. As an adult, I looked for one to plant in my yard a decade or so ago, but decided that in my lifetime, it would always be a "bush" by comparison Never tried eating the peppercorns though. Are they edible? Well, you're obviously still alive, so at least they aren't toxic.

                      2. other than cake, every year my mom makes me seaweed soup. And well if i'm not at home then I whip up a batch of my own seaweed soup (extra EXTRA lazy version).

                        beef dashida
                        water
                        garlic
                        good handful of wakame

                        btw I have no idea why koreans eat seaweed soup on their birthdays. anyone know why?

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: bitsubeats

                          The soup in Mi-ok-guk, is fed to babies, is represents nostalgia for when you were born. So sez my Korean daughter-in-law. It is still the tradition in Korea.

                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                            oh yeah that's right (: thanks

                            it isn't a birthday without seaweed soup

                        2. Wow, I wish I had a clam bake on my birthday.

                          I'm 23, so birthdays usually involve more drinking than eating. It's easier to wrangle people into going to a bar with a good happy hour than to dinner.

                          When I was younger I would request fried chicken, artichokes and mashed potatoes for my birthday,

                          My birthday falls during Lent, which I sometimes observe for non-religious reasons (just a convenient time of the year and length of time to give something up). One year I gave up both chocolate and cake, which was tough, but my wonderful roommate did surprise me with a chocolate cake as soon as Lent had ended.

                          1. Menus change, guests change...but the cake is ALWAYS a princess cake from the same bakery (Palo Alto Baking Co). I just can't get enough of the custard and marzipan among other things, it's sooooo good!!!!!!!!! And because my b-day is in March, and the cake is a light green color, it has the perfect season look.

                            1. I always thought a year was too long for a child to wait for a birthday, so when my kids were little I started half-birthday celebrations. No gifts. I made a round cake, cut it in half and frosted it as a half-cake. We sang "Happy Birth...., Happy Birth...., Happy Birth....dear...Happy Birth...to you." They're no longer children, but still love the half-birthday celebrations and so does their dad.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: ola

                                My brother's birthday is Dec 22, so he always felt cheated out of his own event -- everything got wrapped into Christmas. (Dont feel bad for him -- he also got double the presents!) So in the middle of summer (June 22) my sisters and I would bake him his favorite birthday cake (sans the Holiday motif that he got in December) and threw him a little soiree. Nothing says summer to me like chocolate cake with a lemonade chaser!

                                My personal birthday tradition is just for that one day, I stop worrying about my ever-expanding waistline and just enjoy whatever I want to eat. Sometimes it is a bowl of fresh strawberries, sometimes it is Italian cream cake. On that one day I can have as much as I want of anything I want.

                                1. re: Cheflambo

                                  My birthday is December 21st and I feel the same way as your brother. Ive done the June 21st party in the past, but lately I try to forget birthdays, as they seems contrived and artificial.

                              2. Happy Belated Birthday Passa! I'm so sorry your feast didn't happen this year. Now you know how important the tradition really is. I hope next year's birthday is perfect!

                                My hubby & I were always camping on his birthday, which was the 4th of July. Every year I forgot about a cake until we were out in the woods, every year he said forget it (because he was a diabetic he could only have eaten a sliver anyway) and every year we had a few too many beers by the campfire. *G* My birthday was always simple - he'd buy me silvery-pink roses like I carried at our wedding and we'd relax at home. Simple & perfect.

                                1. Today is my birthday! And I am currently eating my Pancit as I type this!

                                  Happy Birthday to me!
                                  Happy Birthday to me!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Veggietales

                                    Happy Birthday to you Veggie.....Mine was on the 13th...You reminded me of the many people I knew, usually collegues, who would bring in the Pancit for lunch and share. Ah, the good old days. I haven't had it in years.

                                  2. My birthday is in September and it's a month long celebration..I love being a Virgo!
                                    I always travel somewhere fun for my birthday, for a week or two and I eat and drink way too much and have the time of my life..
                                    Happy Birthday to all!

                                    1. I love my birthday tradition. Dinner with my family, grandma fixes the meal of my choice. I go for either fried chicken or chicken and noodles. Mashed potatoes. Deviled eggs. Green bean casserole. A grocery store cake and hopefully homemade ice cream, if I can talk grandma into it. It's a great time! My family knows how to party.

                                      1. Hey, I'm a big boy. Got my calms Fri. night and more today. Last night we went to a Mexican Fiesta, hosted and attended by a bunch of Mainers. I brought home pico gallo and a hot pinto-cheese-chile dip. My wife and I were the only ones that could eat it and it wasn't even hot!
                                        A lesson learned. Amazing. After the party we went to our camp as it was much closer. But for breakfast, for Father's Day, we went to a little local diner/restaurant; Chester Pikes Galley in Sullivan. What a find. For Mother's Day we had Lobster Benedict. Today, Eggs Chester; baby spinach topped w/ crab cake, poached and Hollandaise w/ a side of excellent red potato home fries and a side of corned beef hash that is 3/4 corned beef and 1/4 spud. We split a pecan pie for dessert. Yum!

                                        1. This is a fun topic!

                                          My birthday is September 3rd, and I always celebrate Labor Day weekend as my own personal holiday. I have two cousins, one 5 days older and one just a few days short of a year older. As kids we celebrated our birthdays all together at the family Labor Day cookout. We each would also have our individual parties, too.

                                          My family still has the party, but without the birthday aspect, because are all well into our 30s. But I'm going home for Birthday Weekend this year, so I might make a cake for the Birthday Kids to have together.

                                          My other favorite birthday thing is to go to Provincetown for day. I grew up near there, and it's one of my favorite places.

                                          Last year my mom flew to SF to see me, so we had a party. We went to the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market and bought a ton of whatever looked good. I spent the whole day cooking, and the next day I had a bunch of my friends over.

                                          I try to do something fun for my birthday every year. I like to entertain, so I usually try to have some kind of party. I don't think I'll ever outgrow wanting to have a birthday party!

                                          1. In the Nordic countries, and much of Europe, ones birthday is paid holiday!
                                            My Yankee wife's tradition, for her birthday in July, is to go to The Tidal Falls Restaurant (formerly known as the ...Lobster Pound) in Hancock Me. She has been going there for over 50 years! A great place. Lobster a la carte, great sides and a greater view of a reversing tidal falls and it's BYOB. Who could ask for more? They now have BBQ too for mareaphobes!

                                            1. I don't know when or why this started, but for as long as I can recall, the birthday girl or boy in my family would have their nose buttered. The butter-er had to try to be all sneaky about it, since obviously no one wants a buttered schnoz....ahhh good times.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: KayceeK

                                                In Bolivia it was common to shove the birthday person's face down into the cake as they blew the candles out.

                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                  Which begs the question, why was anybody ever dumb enough to blow out their candles!

                                                  A favorite favorite commercial -- it may have been regional -- features a little Hispanic kid in the southwest travelling alone for miles to get to his grandfather's house in time for his birthday. The little kid arrives late. The cake, ablaze with candles, has already been set before the old man. The little boy dashes in and gives him his present: what looks for all the world to be an empty jar. When the grandfather opens the jar, it is full of wind that blows out all of the candles!

                                                  I think it may have been a commercial promoting wind energy or some utility company, but god, it was an evocative heart tugger! GREAT filmmaking, bad commercial when I can't remember the product.

                                              2. The biggest prime, or dry aged steak( cooked rare of course) I can order at one of Chicago's finest steakhouses, at least a pound King Crab Legs, or some fresh Stone Crab claws since they are in season in March, and as much top shelf 100% agave tequilla I can drink, paired with some cold beers.

                                                1. Oh wow...a clam bake and all that tradition, sounds like your birthday is always magnificent! And I'm so glad I came across this post because...

                                                  While I don't have a birthday tradition, my birthday is coming up (June 29) and maybe I should start one this year! I'm turning 23, so why not?

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Chew on That

                                                    Hey, I've been doin' it for almost 20 years! Came to Maine in '86 and except for some years in Bolivia, do it every year. The best was the year my birthday coicided w/ the end of school. We all went out to a beach and had a great party. I had a case of Beck's in the water to stay cold and the tide rose and the case was slowly floating out to sea. We had a black lab, I threw a rock which landed behind the beer and the pooch nosed the case back and even went back and got 2 bottles floating in the sea. Now that is man' best friend!

                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                      LOL at the well-trained dog! There's nothing nicer than ocean-chilled beer. And I'll bet the water temp there is barely above freezing, judging from my one early-summer experience at the Cape. Brrrrrrr. Chilly for swimming, but perfect for chilling the brews!

                                                  2. Wide variety of menus and locales from a BBQ in the backyard or a clambake like P's(it's been a while since one of those since it's hard to do now that I live in Missouri), to my 50th that my DW threw for me with 12 of our friends and family at the French Laundry, that was magical and wonderful and probably the best meal I've ever had, but there is one constant; Famous Chocolate Wafer/whipped cream Ice Box Cake.. This started when I was a kid and we would frequently be camping on my birthday, so not much liklihood of a baked cake, but I really like the cake, especially after it sits for an extra day and is unbelievably moist. And they're so easy to make.The only problem is finding the wafers these days; so few stores carry them. Even less carry the alternative; Nabisco Golden Edge Wafers, that work well in the cake, and I'll alternate with the chocolate ones when i can find them. Good thread, all.

                                                    1. I was born on Thanksgiving afternoon in the USA, so almost every year my birthday falls in a four day weekend. We ALWAYS go to my sister-in-law's home just north of New Orleans for Turkey Day. Her Cajun husband smokes a big one plus a fresh ham in the smoker he welded. Good family, good friends, great food, no alcohol unless brother-in-law pulls out some local 'shine or he and his brother get into a wine-making competition.

                                                      Some years I'll have a dinner in New Orleans, I love Brigtsen's and Commanders. Some years I'll go back to the Biloxi area nearer home - I ate at Salute with my parents and Vrazel's with my wife last November.

                                                      So, my tradition is the Thanksgiving dinner with family, multiple dinners with immediate family, and multiple days to celebrate. May we all be blessed with many more birthdays!

                                                      1. My birthday is July 5th, so I was led to believe as a child that the whole nation was celebrating my birthday with fireworks! Now it is a tradition to spend the 4th in the water and then off to the fireworks. On the 5th, I get my pick of restaurants and I normally pick a restaurant that I have read about but normally wouldn't get to enjoy.

                                                        My hubby is a January baby and he always gets a cheesecake and depending on our schedule either gets a home cooked meal of his choice or a restaurant of his choice.

                                                        What a great thread!

                                                        1. Breakfast- Something I would never normally allow on a normal day, like donuts (maple bar or apple fritter) or McDonald's (Sausage McMuffin w/ egg, hash browns and a Coke)

                                                          Lunch- Usually at work, so either a turkey burger with fries (don't forget the bbq mayo for dipping) from Red Robin or pizza.

                                                          Dinner- Mom's corn chowder with lots of crispy bacon on top. It's the one time of year I can guilt her into making it for me. Sooooooooooo good!!! Red Velvet Cake from Bake & Broil for dessert.

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                                                          Jongewaard’s Bake 'n Broil
                                                          3697 Atlantic Ave, Long Beach, CA 90807