It was our country's birthday this past week. Dog's birthday was in there somewhere. I'm reminded of Jimmy Cagney's portrayal of George M. Cohen, who was born on the 4th of July. "I always thought the fireworks were for me." I suppose it must auger well for Dog that he thought so, too, for the first four years of his life.
For the first few years, we spent the holiday weekend at my parents' place with a neighborhood parade and home town fireworks and always waited to celebrate Dog's birthday there. When we moved up to Small Town, USA, we relocated our traditions. Before going everything-free, we did the fire works and small town parade stuff...lots of noise, floats, and candy flung at cerubic Hobbits on the curb. The first year of everything-free, we still went to the parade. Dog and I had a discussion ahead of time that there would be no candy from the parade floats. When he's not infracting, Dog has a very rational and sometimes disconcertingly adult way of viewing things. I cautiously informed him that all of the candy had corn in it and suggested that if that spoiled the fun for him and he didn't want to go to the parade, then that would be okay. With a very conciliatory expression on his face, he assured me, "That's okay, Mom. I won't be sad." He and Bug had a grand time collecting the candy and giving it away to all of the surrounding observers. I have to tell you that this gesture from such younglings created quite a few expressions of surprise.
But once the sensitivities had escalated to even contact reactions, we stopped attending the parade altogether. The fireworks has become the high point of the whole day. The volunteer fire department in a neighboring village uses the opportunity as their big fund raiser of the year and they put on a display that would make some big towns ashamed. Well worth the entrance fee. We've made it the focal point of our celebration for several years now and the Hobbits have come to depend on it. They talk about it all of the rest of the year. Only birthdays and Christmas get more air time. Well, Princess didn't like it for the first couple of years, but she's come around. Something to be said for sitting out on the chairs on the fairgrounds, chasing fireflies and waiting for the show to start. It makes one feel connected to all of the generations who have done the same thing every year for the past 200+ years.
Special occasions like birthdays and parties and high days are always fraught with difficulties because all celebrations are centered around food. I remember attending the fireworks display last year and being parked next to a pick up truck that pulled up with a full sized bbq grill in the back. Added a whole 'nuther level to the definition of tail-gating. I've made everything-free birthday cakes....with pink icing yet for Princess, of course....but simple and easy stuff appeals to me these days and I'm glad that sometimes the Hobbits opt for the simple and easy stuff.
This year for his birthday, Dog requested rice crispy treats. Dr. Peter D'Adamo, in Cooking Right 4 Your Type, has a recipe for just such a confection that required very little tweaking for our type: the everything-free type. The original recipe calls for honey or brown rice syrup as the sweetener and he recommends refrigerating the final product to avoid the pieces falling apart. I found that including maple syrup and boiling the combined sweeteners to the string stage yielded a treat that didn't need to be refrigerated to hold together. It's even more delicious than the commercial corn-laden version. Since my Hobbits are children of my heart, they love chocolate as much as I do, so I tossed in some safe chocolate chips as an added fillip.
Rice Crispy Tr....um...Delights
4 T ghee
1/4 cup Lundberg brown rice syrup
1/4 cup maple syrup
4 T maple sugar
6 cups puffed cereal of choice--I used Erewhon crispy rice
1/2 c Enjoy Life Chocolate chips (optional)
In sauce pan, melt ghee, syrups, and sugar together. Bring to a boil and allow to bubble until the liquid creates a string when spoon is dipped in and removed. Pour into bowl with cereal and stir until incorporated. Add chips and stir. Expect the chips to melt somewhat. Press into flat rectangular pan. Allow to cool and cut into squares. These will hold together at room temperature, but refrigeration will keep them fresher longer....if any remain to be stored.
Happy Birthday, Dog!