I love this time of year. When I was a kid, I called the fall “jean-jacket weather” since I looked forward to pulling my favorite jean jackets out of the back of the closet and wearing them to school. I relished penning my Christmas wish list, and, along with the holidays, I dreamt of my birthday, which always falls around Thanksgiving. My best friend’s birthday was October 4, and when I was a child, it seemed to take a lifetime for the days to pass between her birthday and mine. Now that I’m older, my birthday and the holidays seem to come too fast. Sometimes it feels as if summer ends, and the holidays are here.
Birthdays were always a big deal in my house when I was a child. I enjoyed having two parties when I was little. One party was to celebrate with my friends at the roller rink or another fun place, and the other party was to celebrate with my family. My parents savored having an ice cream cake to mark the special occasion. Birthdays are still a grand occasion for my family. My sons love to plan their party and share a list of their most wanted gifts. And we usually eat an ice cream cake on their birthday and have a theme cake with their friends at their party.
The Amish celebrate birthdays much the same as we “Englishers” do—with a cake and a family party. They also sing the same birthday song as we do.
I’m much older now, but I have to admit I still look forward to my birthday. This year my birthday falls on the day before Thanksgiving. To celebrate, I plan to take a day off work and possibly treat my family to a movie. I’m going to strongly hint to my husband that he should pick up an ice cream cake, and I’ve asked my mother to make my favorite meal—sauerbraten, which is a German recipe my family has enjoyed. My father was a German immigrant, and I grew up eating German meals. My mother makes sauerbraten on special occasions.
My mother and I have purchased a roast that she’ll marinate for my birthday dinner. (Yes, I’ve already bought the roast, but I told you I’m excited!) We like to serve sauerbraten with potato dumplings that come in a mix made by Panni. We find them in the international section at Harris Teeter.
Below is the sauerbraten recipe for you to try. What is your favorite birthday meal?
2 cups vinegar
1 tablespoon of salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 onions sliced
1 carrot sliced
½ cup chopped celery
4 whole black peppers
2 bay leaves
Standing time in marinade: 5-6 days, turn daily
Remove from marinade
Throw away marinade
Sear meat with 3 tablespoons of shortening
Pour large can of beef broth over meat and simmer for 3 hours
In pan, blend:
5 tablespoons of melted butter
5 tablespoons of flour
1 tablespoon of sugar
Blend until smooth on low heat
Stir into simmering meat liquid
Continue simmering until tender