Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Surprise Birthday Party

A few weeks ago, I went to a surprise birthday party in Baltimore for my friend Sarah. Rarely do people actually end up being surprised by a party. Someone slips up and alerts the person or the person stumbles across incriminating party invitations. Anyway, Sarah was shocked.

The Subterfuge. Sarah's friend Jenny asked for help from Sarah in moving furniture. Jenny plied Sarah with the promise of a birthday cupcake and a gift. Sarah spent the afternoon running errands with another friend, Danae, and was an hour and a half late in getting to the party. Danae couldn't think of a smooth way to get Sarah to focus on the time.

The Success. People brought all kinds of appetizers, from hummus to stuffed mushrooms. Jenny, however, outdid herself. She made two kinds of vegan cupcakes: lemon cupcakes with lemon icing, and vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting and sprinkles. Then, she decorated a giant sheet cake so that it looked like Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night. She mixed the colors in bowls of frosting, which she used to make a textured, perfect reproduction of the painting. I was awed. The cake itself was chocolate. Beyond being gorgeous, it tasted delicious - a moist, chocolate cake with a whipped, vanilla frosting. I'm still so impressed. I felt like I was eating a high-priced, professionally-made dessert from the televised Charm City Cakes. Beyond the cake for dessert, Jenny offered a few flavors of ice cream and a friend from Brooklyn brought a berry pie.

Earlier in the day, I was at the Native American Museum and, while I was there, I bought Sarah a sheet of skull molds to make Dia de Los Muertes candies. I didn't contribute much in the way of food. The party was planned only a few days before, which may be why the surprise actually worked. I hadn't seen Sarah in a month and she seemed overwhelmed by the party treats and presence of her friends, which was cool.

PS Jenny is in school right now with the goal of becoming a physical therapist. She discounts herself as an artist, despite her ability to recreate Dutch, post-impressionist masterpieces in icing.

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