In case you missed the announcement over the megaphone, yesterday was my birthday.
I was prepared to bake myself a birthday cake, but happily my mom did the honours instead, bringing me my very favourite angel food cake with strawberry filling and whipped cream, tinted pink. Some of you may know that I have what I consider to be a minor dairy intolerance: a serving of dairy can induce stomach issues of the run-to-the-bathroom variety, as well as skin breakouts. But a small amount of whipped cream on such an occasion as my birthday is just fine, which is what I told my mom when she asked me about it earlier.
I grew up in a house where we had whipped cream, not an oil-based alternative, and butter, not margarine. While preparing my birthday cake, my mom asked me if I would prefer Cool Whip, which felt really wrong. Something felt wrong with preferring Cool Whip, with its many unpronounceable ingredients, to whipped cream, with its ONE ingredient, even if that one ingredient is dairy, which I try to avoid.
It reminded me of a conversation I had with a girlfriend about eating other people's cooking. I won't eat meat, certainly, but other than that I don't like being too much of a princess about food. I generally avoid dairy and egg, which brings me into semi-vegan territory, but I do not want to be one of those people who turns up their nose at food someone has taken the time and effort to prepare. Does this have an EGG in it? No THANK you. You used BUTTER? NO. I don't want to be the hard core vegan who literally spit into her napkin when the hostess mentioned that the dip contained honey. Besides, I love honey.
If someone takes the time and energy to prepare food for you, it is an act of love, and I want to always accept it as such. Last summer I visited my grandma, who made me a lovely vegetable stir fry for dinner. She served it with leftover potatoes and gravy, which is normally something I would not eat. In my mind I weighed my own non-meat conviction with my grandma's feelings, and I decided that my grandma was far, far, far more important. I spread a spoonful of gravy over the potatoes. Maybe it was the secret ingredient of my grandma's love in that gravy, but it was delicious.
What does this have to do with lunches? Well, I had cake for lunch yesterday, and I enjoyed every creamy bite.