Nov 18, 2005

Of Pirates and Party Manners

We're having a pirate birthday party here tomorrow for Will and Jack. Their birthdays are a week apart, and we're trying to get as many joint parties in as we can. The boys and I looked online for pirate images to use in the invitations, but I remembered, after looking at various etchings and drawings of historical pirates, that pirates were not nice. They made people walk the plank. They (obviously) stole people's ships and money. Pirates really got theirs, though, when they were caught. Gosh!

I hastily steered the boys away from these grim images of piratry, but couldn't find very many happy pictures of real pirates, unless you count this one, which doesn't strike me as quite the right tone for a children's birthday party. Plus, the guy looks miserable. I thought of using web photos of real pirate maps for the invitations, but they seemed a bit esoteric.So we sent generic invitations, and then got your conventional sanitized party pirate pictures, on napkins, plates, tablecloth.

And the cake, you ask. I just made it this morning, Richard Sax's Fudgy Chocolate Layer Cake. from Classic Home Desserts. Instead of chocolate frosting I used a cream cheese frosting, changed a little from the one he lists for the Applesauce-Carrot Cake. All vanilla extract and no lemon zest. I love Richard Sax. Love him. A couple years ago I read in John Thorne's Simple Cooking Newsletter that he was dead. Richard Sax was dead even when I got the book, about nine years ago. I felt so sad, and also very disconcerted that all that time I thought he was alive. If you just read a little from the book, which has been reissued because it is so well researched and written in such a warm voice, you'll know what I mean. He lives in the book.

Then I had to go and make a pirate hat with that gross black frosting in a can. And a skull and crossbones from the slightly less disgusting can of white frosting. Then a bunch of "Easter sprinkles" around the sides for a lighter mood, more resurrection and less death.

Voila! The skull has a drunken lopsided smile and the edges of the black hat jut out oddly in a few places. As Jack just said to me, "It looks good for not being professional." Kind words, matey.


Sugarmama said...

This is one of my VERY FAVORITE OF ALL TIME dessert cookbooks! Have you tried Mother Church's fruitcake out of that book? It's incredible. Also, that coiled, fruit-nut-and-booze-filled Italian coffeecake, the name of which escapes me just now. Actually everything I've ever tried from that book has been fantastic. I'm sure your birthday cake was delicious!

Scrivener said...

Sounds like a wonderful birthday party. Now I remember that when I first found your blog you were writing about the birthday party last year at the firehouse. Wife and I spent months off and on trying to find a firehouse around here that would let us have a party there, with no luck at all.

And now we're starting to plan the girls' party for this year (actually for January--midway between their December and February birthdays). Maybe I'll have to make the cake myself too.