Sometime over the past year our son Ben surpassed me as the best cook in the house. He makes fantastic pies with homemade crusts, gives me advice on preparing roasts and rolls his eyes now at many of my attempts in the kitchen.
He’s also increasingly interested in nutrition. So on his 17th birthday last week, when I asked what kind of cake he wanted, his answer was: None.
It’s not like he never eats dessert. But he’d just had some apple pie the day before in his advanced foods class, and he didn’t like the idea of having cake the very next day. So we went out to a new gourmet burgers place and came back and opened presents without cake. Or candles, for that matter.
He was perfectly fine with it. But I kept fighting this nagging feeling, like I wished I’d come up with something healthy to replace the cake. I know, I know, we don’t always need to celebrate with food. (And we’d just gone out to dinner, for chrissake!) Still … it was hard to avoid the feeling, at least on my end, that something was missing.
I retrospect I wish we would’ve at least lit a candle, even if it wasn’t stuck in a piece of sugary goo.