I love birthdays.  I always have.  My mother always made them very special for my siblings and me. During childhood I looked forward more to my very special cake, baked by local baker Mrs. Hazen, than I did any of the presents I was ever going to get. 

My 10th birthday was slightly traumatic because 9 was my favorite number and I thought so many things would change once I hit double digits. Alas, I survived.  My 16thbirthday was celebrated with a party.  It was fun but I don’t really remember any of the details.  My 21st birthday was nothing crazy.  I was in college and my family came to town to take me out to dinner and afterwards I went out with a few friends to a nice bar.  My 30thbirthday has been my favorite so far.  My sister and brother-in-law threw me a fabulous party at their house where we celebrated with family and friends.  I loved that one. 

As I write today I am preparing to celebrate a milestone birthday next week.  I don’t like to think of birthdays as any other day.  They’re special (even though I know about 6 other people who share my special day).  And I don’t want to think of the sad possibility that birthdays are just another part of childhood that goes away when we grow up.  To me that’s just depressing.   And why should birthdays as adults feel avoided, morose or worst of all ignored?  I believe our birthdays require celebration.  After all, what’s the alternative? 

On average in the United States, most people will live to see 78 birthdays.  Not too shabby considering that in many other countries people are lucky to see just 48.  Birthdays should be cherished.  Even though getting older is a kick to the gut, if you look good and still have your health you have much to celebrate!

And there are many ways to do so:  Instead of dinner on your birthday, have a dinner the night before your birthday, staying up until midnight so you can ring it in like New Year’s; take the day off if possible and do whatever you want; eat your favorite foods; do something adventurous that you’ve never done before; if you’re out and about tell people it’s your birthday – you may get a birthday surprise; do something special that you’ve been wanting to do but haven’t gotten to.  I even know some people who somehow manage to celebrate their birthdays for an entire week and sometimes the whole month. 

As for me, there’s really only one way I want to celebrate– just a fabulous dinner at home with my family.  I know, shocker!  But the menu is ready to go and I couldn’t be happier.  I’ll be channeling my Italian grandmother as we prepare the meal.  The most important thing to remember is how fortunate I am to celebrate with good food and good wine all with my family.  What could be better than that?  

Kara’s Birthday Dinner Menu

White Bean Hummus
Roasted Red Peppers with Mini Toasts
Rosemary Roasted Mixed Nuts

Baby Arugula with Shaved Parmesan and Figs

Entrée – Pasta Trio
Rigatoni Bolognese
Spaghetti Carbonara
Goat Cheese Ravioli with a Lemon Pink Peppercorn Sauce

Carrot Cake Cheesecake with Cream Cheese Icing