This Evening we celebrated Rachel's 26th Birthday. Rachel arrived about 5:30 p.m. with her Father, Brother, and Roommate. Joe, Ben, Krista, and the 3 C's were all smiles with Bundles of Loving Energy to embrace our Dear Rachel. Rachel was just glowing.
We have 2 traditions in our Family for Birthdays. 1st, the Honoree gets to choose the Meal and the kind of celebration. 2nd, Birth Dates are never long enough to celebrate one's Birth. So we celebrate for about a Month afterwards.
For the Main Course, Rachel chose (with some additions from the Culinary Crafters on Butterfly Hill Farm): Grilled Chicken marinated in Fresh Herbs with Barbecue Sauce (Sauce Recipe was from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle), Grilled Potatoes Marinated in Olive Oil with Garlic (a long time Crawford Favorite), Kale Salad (Recipe from Asparagus to Zucchini), Green Salad, Gazpacho Salad (Glinda's Version), Blue Cheese Dressing, Vinaigrette (Melanie's Version), Freshly Chopped Herbs to Sprinkle on Top, Sour Dough Rye Bread, Homemade Butter, Earth Balance (Commercial Spread as Dairy Free Option), Iced Teas (Spearmint, Anise Hyssop).
After Dinner, the Guests took a Walk out to the Cane Field. Richard and Joe returned to the House. Rachel and Company took a Walk About around the Circle of the Farm, while Melanie and I worked on cleaning up and preparing for Dessert.
For Dessert, Melanie warmed up the Ginger Shortcake (Recipe from Local Flavors) which she had made earlier. She brought the Ginger Shortcake, Fresh Peaches, Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream to the Table where the Guests assembled their own Desserts. Those Bits of Ginger throughout the Ginger Shortcake were little Culinary Explosions. Periodically, the Guests commented on their Surprising Treat to the Palette. To top it off, the Ice Cream was made from Raw Milk from a Cow called "Blessing." What could be better for a Birthday?
As per usual, the Food was Organic and Local. Most of it was grown right here on the Farm. Yes, that includes the Chicken and the Peaches. Some came from other Local Farmers (the Raw Cream and Milk used in the Butter and the Ice Cream). We featured Slow Food, lovingly prepared in Rachel's Honor.
The Vibrance of the Living Energy of the Food extended to its Freshness, Taste and Colors. You would have thought that we were working with an Artist's Canvas. As if that was not enough, Melanie picked Flowers for the Table (which we sent home with Rachel) and I picked Flowers to adorn the edges of the Individual Plates. By the end of the Meal, some were wearing Flowers in their Hair. Spontaneity and Play are so much Fun; they are essential for Birthdays regardless of the Age.
I find it amazing to watch and listen to People eat such Food. The quiet is astounding. The eagerness with which People eat, clean their plates, and respectfully reach for seconds is simply amazing. The gratitude expressed to our Little Farm, the Farmers, and All Beings makes me smile.
I feel deeply blessed that we have taken on this practice. We surely have not always eaten this way. I remember our Humble and Tentative Beginnings. In the late 90s, I decided to fix an Organic Meal for Melanie's Birthday. It made sense. Somehow, it seemed to honor her Life in ways that Conventional Fare did not. It was a big deal for me to make that shift and it was not easy. I really had to think about it and plan ahead. Afterwards, I wondered why we would fix any other kind of Food. It just did not make sense. Honoring Life should happen at every meal, not just at 1 Birthday. While a slow process, the Journey shifted up a Gear.
Happy Birthday, Rachel!