Today is the birthday of a very special roommate.
N. is 25, one step closer to being officially over the hill like me (26 and proud!) To celebrate, K. and I decided to throw a party at the last minute. It was a surprise party in that the honoree had no idea there was going to be a party despite the fact that I spent the entire day cleaning the house and fabricating mass quantities of chili and pie.
Due to the last minute nature of the whole thing we had no idea who would be there, when they would arrive, or if the three of us would end up drinking the entire cauldron of mulled wine without assistance. Luckily by 10 there was a booming soiree, thanks to people showing up against all odds and K. deciding to hook up the computer to the big living room speakers, the better to blast an impeccably curated 1990s power party mix. And they brought Twister!
When I was a kid we had these books which consisted of extremely elaborate photographs of whole landscapes made up of little objects, and you had to go through and find specific things. For an ADD champ like me, these were the perfect books because you could get lost in them for hours – there was so much detail. It occurs to me now that I’ve turned this apartment into a version of those books, with something to surprise and occupy the eye anywhere you look.
Play along at home! In this post-party scene, can you find: 1 homemade birthday card, 1 batch of yeast-driven waffle batter for the next morning, 4 empties, 6 fulls, the 1 remaining 4 Loko in the house (thank goodness they’re almost gone,) 1 octopus earring from my grandmother’s stash of costume jewelry, 1 impeccably curated 1990s power party playlist, and the Larousse Gastronomique?
It’s against my principles to clean directly after a party, especially since my compadres’ policy is to fall asleep on couches immediately after guests depart. If it makes you more comfortable to pretend that we refrigerated the pie all night and then ate it for breakfast, feel free. Those are leftover apples from the wedding, where we had freshly picked Macoun apples on all the tables. There are still a few left. More pies ahead, most likely. It’s fall!
I was going to make a pumpkin pie too because we have mashed pumpkin from all the moon melons that grew out of the composted seeds of yesteryear BUT I didn’t remember the evaporated milk until I got to the grocery store parking lot and couldn’t stomach going back in and having to make awkward small talk with the high school dude cashier again OR being seen avoiding his line in favor of a less awkward cashier, so pumpkin pie had to wait.
Being of French extraction, N. loves wine so I got a big jug of Carlo Rossi and made mulled wine (and somehow he still didn’t suspect there was going to be a party.) However, he and the guests kept thinking I was saying “mold wine,” which is kind of a gross concept. K. said, “You should label it” and I remembered that I already had, and rotated the pot so the label was facing forwards. Sometimes I forget that I am a genius.
“Mold Wine” adapted from The Joy of Cooking
Boil 1 1/4 cup water, 2 1/2 cups sugar, peel of two oranges, four cinnamon sticks, two smashed nutmegs, and as many cloves as you can stomach using (the original calls for four dozen?!) for five minutes; strain. Dump in big pot with ~3 cups lemon juice and one jug of Carlo Rossi – burgundy varietal. Heat until hot but not boiling. Label pot. Serve in a coffee mug with ladle and a big smile.
Anyway, happy birthday kiddo! Good luck on that bucket list.