Friday, December 24, 2010

The Thirteen Cakes of Christmas

There seems to be some difference of opinion about the Twelve Days of Christmas. And did you know that there are Twelve Nights of Christmas? If you grew up in New Orleans as I did, you would know that Twelfth Night is celebrated on January 6th and this marks the beginning of the carnival or Mardi Gras Season. Because of the differing of calendars, some have it that Twelfth Night is actually January 5th and Twelfth Day is then January 6th. Others just start counting at Christmas and have Twelfth Night and Twelfth Day occuring on January 5th. But in New Orleans, Twelfth Night is January 6th and that is that. It's their story and they're sticking to it. And so am I!

Instead of celebrating the Twelve Days (or Nights) of Christmas we celebrate the Twelve Cakes of Christmas. But we actually celebrate Thirteen Cakes of Christmas. Why would we do this, you ask? Well, in our house we start off the Christmas Cake season today, December 24th. The reason that we do this is because it is Natalie Andrea's birthday. Yes, my daughter has the distinct honor and disadvantage of celebrating her birthday on Christmas Eve.  So, of course, we start our celebration of the cakes with her birthday cake the first night of our Thirteen Cakes of Christmas.

And believe me, this is no ordinary cake. Well, yes, it really is an ordinary cake. That is the whole point of all this rigamarole that we go through each year. And it really is a "real" cake -- read that as a birthday cake from the bakery and not The Distracted Cook's oven. When my children were quite young nothing was worse than a cake that their Mother had baked herself. Why oh why couldn't they just have a "real" birthday cake from the friendly bakery! So, now that they are very much older and I am somewhat much wiser, I have figured it out. I have learned to place the cake order well in advance. I learned that lesson the hard way - one would expect that you could go into a bakery the day before a birthday and order a cake with the obligatory "Happy Birthday Somebody" on it and pick it up the next day. Well, wouldn't you think that? I did. Ha! I got laughed right out the door the first time I tried that. No birthday cakes at Christmas time unless you order a week ahead. I could have had any cake I wanted as long as it was red and green with Santas, reindeer, holly, poinsettias, or Frosty on it. Nothing doing with a "real" birthday cake with pastel pink flowers and pale green leaves. Oh no you don't!

So now I know to order a week ahead and Natalie can have a "real" birthday cake with pink flowers and Happy Birthday Natalie scrolled across the top. This is a wonderful way to start the celebration of The Twelve (or Thirteen!) Cakes of Christmas.

However you count it, we wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and invite you back to celebrate the rest of the cakes with us right here!

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