Black and White Birthday
Updated: Aug 4, 2020
An added bonus to getting married is that you suddenly have all these new photos of you looking fly to use for funny invitations.
I turned 27 this year. Yes, I am sure you realized by now, I am year of the Dragon. I've always liked being born on September 18. It's mathematically pleasing to me. It all adds up to 8 - 9/18/1988. So good.
The idea for a black and white dinner party occured to me when I saw some squid ink pasta at Seasons in Bethlehem. The idea evolved pretty quickly from, "Let's have a party where we serve this black pasta for the hell of it," to, "LET'S ONLY SERVE BLACK AND WHITE FOOD BECAUSE COLORS ARE FOR SUCKERS!"
I don't really think color is for suckers - I like chartreuse in particular - but this was a fun challenge.
We asked everyone to come in black and/or white, naturally, and we let guests know it was a mildly black tie affair. Interestingly, only one person chose to wear white. Now we know.
In the development of the menu and acquisition of the ingredients, I learned that black foods are full of antioxidents and really quite good for you. White foods, on the other hand, are not so great for you but god help me if they aren't the most delicious (looking at you, sour cream).
We learned a few things that night about the noir and the blanc. Primarily, before you put multiple black and white things on a plate together, you are not really aware of how white or black these things really are. For example, roasted parsnips and and cauliflower are sort of not white at all. Black potatoes: not really that black after an hour in the oven. Basically, roasting makes things brown. Maybe you knew this already. On the other hand, mozzerella balls and squid in striped pasta - totally black and totally white. Good job there.
Cheese is another tricky thing. That Morbier might look white next to some fucking Wilde Weide, but it's not. No, it's pretty fucking yellow.
The cake, on the other hand, was damn near flawless. I made the cake at my grandmother's house, and she was very confused why I would spend so much time on a cake. She offered to help me, but when she saw all the little pans I intended to use (each square bakes separately!) she was like, "Fuck you, I'm going back to Ken Burns." Whatever, Grandma. That cake was the shit.
Veronica says, "Check out this cake!" I used François Perret's recipe off of le Meilleur Patissier, this French baking show I'm unabashedly obsessed with. If you read French, you can find it here. In his recipe he uses a clean paint sprayer to put the clear glaze over the cake in a uniform manner. You know what I don't have? A paint sprayer. Who the hell has a clean paint sprayer? Whatever, I like my cakes like I like my women - unglazed.
Black and white birthday - definitely a success. It also inspired a follow-up party: RAINBOW DINNER. This will be planned in the spring when the rainbow of produce is back in action. Stay tuned.