In my family we’ve always valued the gift of time over material gifts when it comes to things like birthdays, Christmas, etc. Don’t get me wrong: we definitely enjoy getting nice gifts, but it’s never been a requirement to make holidays or birthdays “special”; in fact, we preferred giving OF ourselves on our special days. When I was little, my parents & I would go to Colombia every year for summer vacation, and since my birthday is in August, we would always celebrate it there. Being an only child, I was naturally thrown a pretty large party; but being an unconventional family, we did things a bit differently. Instead of having the huge party JUST for me, we would lug everything – party favors, food, a giant birthday cake, extra kids – to the local orphanage and celebrate my birthday there with about a hundred kids my age who had absolutely nothing except for the clothes they wore. Though I was the birthday girl and definitely spoiled, I was taught to share my special day with those less fortunate. And at the end of the day, it was the looks of pure joy on those poor kids’ faces that I remembered as “the best part of the day”. For most of those kids, that was the only party they’d ever get to attend, and it touched me even then to see them enjoy their party favors & big slices of cake.
I think – actually, I know – that because of this type of upbringing, I have learned it’s okay not to spend a ton of money on things for others, and that the best gift one can give is one’s time and consideration. My mom’s the queen of this and for her belated birthday celebration this weekend, she gave me more in the way of stuff than I gave her. I wish I could have competed with her in the “stuff” department, but I was still pretty confident in my gift of a special brunch recipe I made just for her. And because she’s such a difficult person to surprise, I made sure to come armed with most of my special recipe already made so that it could be easily assembled during one of her “down” moments. (Seriously, the woman never stops!)
Despite the difficulty, I have surprised her, food-wise Mama’s pretty easy to please. She’s a fan of most foods but is quite adamant about what she LOVES. One of those loves would be the lovely strawberry, so I wanted to take that love and create something different for her. Since she’s always complaining that I never save her a portion of most of the dishes I feature on PGEW, particularly the crepes, I thought it would be nice to make her some fresh strawberry crepes. But you know me… why be ordinary when you can take things to a whole other level, right? Fresh strawberry crepes are all over the place, so I made them extra special for her by creating a fresh strawberry sauce and a special strawberry-goat cheese base to go along with the fresh strawberry filling. About the only thing that was completely berry-less on its own was the actual crepe! This was sinful but light, familiar but different, and I’m happy to report that Mama LOVED her birthday brunch!