Saturday, July 18, 2020


Cameron's mild birthday wishes were (mostly) fulfilled, but there were a few surprises for both of us. Cameron woke up to hung streamers and breakfast baklava, and then both of us started on a day of work. Whereas Cameron logged off around 13:30, I worked a full day and then some. Although Cameron wasn't on his computer, he was still working. 

I gave Cameron three birthday cake options: I could bake it, I could buy it, or he could bake it. He chose to be the baker. He had decided on a seven layer chocolate hazelnut cake that came from the Great British Bake Off, and even though I had been collecting ingredients all week I still had to make three runs to the grocery store that day (more eggs, more cocoa, and more cream, more cream, and then more cream). It only took about 4 hours, honestly quite the accomplishment for seven layers, and ended up being the best cake I've ever had–well done, Cameron! 

Eventually I finished up work and ran downstairs to pick up some take out from The Himalayan Treasure (literally in the building right next to ours), per request of the birthday boy. To add a little more surprise to the day I laid out a small stack of presents which Cameron slowly worked through throughout the day. Other than some Huma energy gels, everything else was kitchen related and will likely be equally beneficial to me as they are for Cameron. I guess I'm best with practical gifts. 

The real surprise was actually the next day. I once again had a normal workday, but Cameron left the house for a team lunch. Before his expected return, I left the house to meet a friend for dinner with a text to Cameron that there was leftovers for him in the fridge for his supper. When I returned home a few hours later, Cameron was surprisingly still out. Cameron was out at a bar! I wasn't going to be left at home alone, so at 21:30 I left the house to meet my husband at a bar–that had never happened before and now we were off to celebrate a proper Polish birthday!

It's maybe a bit of a stereotype that Polish people like to drink, but it's a stereotype that gets repeated to us regularly. That's not all that makes a birthday special though. Regardless if you choose to celebrate your true birthday day or your name day, gifts and admiration are appreciated, and I think it's common to have a celebratory dinner and a cake. Singing Sto lat is a must! At the store I found some "Happy Birthday" balloons and party horns, but no birthday candles. I searched multiple stores, and found no candles. Maybe it's because of an abundance of caution with Coronavirus, or maybe Polish people just have a better sense to not blow saliva on something that you are going to feed to your friends. Other than that though, I think the traditions are largely the same. 

And now the Polish birthday song, with a rough translation to English:
Sto lat! Sto lat!                                                        100 years! 100 years!
Niech żyje, żyje nam.                                                May they live.
Sto lat! Sto lat!                                                        100 years! 100 years!
Niech żyje, żyje nam.                                                May they live.
Jeszcze raz, jeszcze raz! Niech żyje, żyje nam.        One more time, one more time! May they live.
Niech żyje nam!                                                        May they live. 

This song isn't specific to birthdays, but can be sung at many celebratory occasions, including name days, weddings, and anniversaries. 

A pile of gifts for the birthday boy.

We improvised on the birthday candles. 

Round one of gifts: jars and mixing bowls I picked up the night before from Facebook Marketplace. Buy used!

Breakfast baklava. 

Master baker at work. 

Base layer- chocolate cake. 

Pralined hazelnuts to be mixed in with a few of the layers. 

Cameron showing the gravity-defying gelatin. 

Layering in some hazelnut bavaroise.

Chopping chocolate for the chocolate mousse. 

Making chocolate mousse. 

Between each layer is a round of freezer time to let everything solidify together. 

Taking a baking break for dinner...

...and another round of presents. 

Final layer- chocolate mirror glaze.

Look at that clean first cut!

Proud baker!

Final look with the model on the screen in the background. 

I met Cameron at Lost Bar, where his coworker's friend was playing bass for the live jazz band on Friday night. 

Lost Bar stays pretty hidden. Other than two bodyguards waiting outside, it feels like you are entering a  residential apartment complex. 

This dapper fellow greets you at the entrance and reminds you to stay safe!

No comments:

Post a Comment