For the last three days, we've been celebrating my friend's birthday. On the actual day of her birth -- Thursday -- the plan had been to make beef bourguignon, a dish we'd done together before and had enjoyed the effort of trying to follow Julia Child's instructions.
I took the cast iron dutch oven and a cake pan by her house before heading to massage school. She was also doing her mother's chocolate cake recipe (an enterprise that another friend and I had attempted once, and only once, for her and one, we now agreed, for which we would always offer our support but never again attempt its complexity). The idea was that she would get off work a bit early and I'd meet her at our girlfriend's house as soon as I completed my last massage of the day.
When I walked in, something hit me. I wasn't sure what it was but I knew the situation wasn't what it should be. I dove into the fray and added fresh rosemary to my chopped potatoes and since they were going to need to roast at a higher temperature than the beef, I asked what the timing on Julia's recipe was going to be.
"I don't know," she said. "I haven't taken a look yet. Let me see."
Reading aloud, she got to the source of my concern. "3 to 4 hours."
"We'll be doing takeout tonight," I replied.
Fortunately, we are all quite affable in the kitchen so in the middle of the laughter we found the Thai takeout menu and ultimately enjoyed some spicy delights while smells of beef broth, wine, luscious beef and vegs wafting throughout the dining area. I didn't stay for the unveiling of only the first step Chef Child's French cuisine. I had an early start to my Friday but I did get to taste it on Saturday evening.
Friday we enjoyed a taco bar back at our favorite kitchen with games following. Friends around the table laughing at each other's foibles with dominoes and Rummy tiles emit sounds that energize my soul.
After a half day on Saturday in a board meeting, I ran a few errands and then met the birthday girl at my house. We had a sleepover planned. First we'd finish the beef dish, then we'd hook up with a massage school friend, attend an art show and finally, she'd be treated to a birthday massage.
All went off like clockwork.
At the end of the night, as I said goodbye to the massage therapist who had been deemed "unbelievable," I realized that even the reality of few funds can't keep creative women from a good time.
Celebrate? You betcha! Wonder what we'll come up with for the holidays?