Tuesday, December 29, 2009

keeping my day job

Sunday was John's birthday and over the past few years the family has been semi-regularly having a big lobster dinner to celebrate, because there is a chance that someone didn't completely over-eat on Christmas. Also lobster is one of John's favorite foods.

We have no real intentional theme for our christmas tree ornaments, but a large portion of them definitely could be categorized as simply "stuff we like". Here is one of John's ornaments:

John's sister Sue was having two live Maine lobsters delivered for him, but since his birthday fell on a sunday there are 1) no live lobster shipments that day and 2) no live lobster deliveries that day. They were shipped on monday to arrive tuesday, so our family lobster frenzy was scheduled then.

Other "stuff John likes" is the Sharks hockey team:

And chocolate cake, though we have yet to get a chocolate cake ornament. Still, this was to be my task for tuesday before the dinner. I am a mediocre baker and worse cake decorator, yet somehow I got into my head the idea that I would create a Sharks-themed cake on my own. I used John's jersey for the design (note: this is the Sharks "old" jersey. They since have changed their shark design just slightly, but I still used this one because I know John likes this design best, and it's simpler to copy.)

I made a simple two layer round (why not, it's hockey puck-shaped!) chocolate cake with fudge icing between the layers and around the sides, then I used vanilla for the top. Then I really painstakingly tried to copy the jersey design. I have steady hands, I really do. I pull tiny bits of metal and glass from people's corneas all the time, but put some icing into my hands and I just can't control the stuff very well, so the result looks as if I have Parkinson's. This is the best I could do with my rudimentary tools and inexperience:

I was really undecided about what to do about the hockey stick in the shark's mouth. I didn't get the impression that mixing up some yellow icing would come out looking too good, so I just placed some toothpicks in the proper locations, and the overall result was, well, pretty cheesy. I have a friend that makes THE most amazing cakes for her kids' birthday parties and I kept trying to channel her talent during this process, but no to avail.

In the end, it was at least obvious what I was TRYING to make here, and I guess that's something.

John's lobster friends arrived, chilly and lethargic but alive, and not too thrilled to be on the west coast, I could tell. When John got home he unceremoniously boiled them up and they joined the huge masses of already cooked lobsters that Dora and Jeff pre-ordered and picked up on their way to our house.

With a few side dishes we had a truly huge dinner. We haven't had this birthday lobster feed in two years, if memory serves, and I don't remember the girls eating much or any of it previously. Since then they have developed a huge taste for shrimp and John advised them that we'd be having a gigantic shrimp relative for dinner, so they were anxious to try it, and pleased with the result. "More lobster, please!" is what I heard a lot from that side of the table.

John liked his cake, everyone did really, and quite a lot of it disappeared quickly. Fortunately, it tasted better than it looked.


MommaWriter said...

You do know, right, that it's *way* more important how it tastes than how it looks (I sometimes forget that). And honestly, it really looked pretty darned good. I'd eat it!

Trish said...

Please send our birthday love to John! :-)