party on

Yesterday was my husband’s birthday. On Sunday I asked him what he wanted for his birthday supper.

Me: What do you want for your birthday supper?

Him: I don’t know.

Me: (Staring at him pointedly, waiting.)

Him: What?

Me: I said, what do you want for your birthday supper?

Him (dismissively): Whatever you want.

Me: I want to know what you want. That’s what I want.

Him: I don’t know!

Me: (Silence, waiting.)

Him (sighing heavily): Something that the kids like, I guess.

Me: (More silence. Still waiting.)

Him: Um…I like fried chicken. But that’s complicated, right? So never mind. It’s too complicated. I don’t want something that will stress you—

Me (thoroughly irritated): Is that what you want? Fried chicken?

Him (anxious): It sounds like a lot of work…

Me: That’s not your problem. I can make anything. If you want fried chicken, I’ll make fried chicken.

So yesterday afternoon, the kids and I drove to town to buy his birthday presents (gumdrops, spicy hot peanuts, tinned mints, and Skittles—we’re a real high-class bunch), and I got the chicken…from KFC.

Back home I dumped the mountain of extra crispy legs onto one of my big baking trays and slipped them into the oven to stay warm. I heated up some leftover corn, made a big bowl of mashed potatoes, and opened a jar of applesauce.

I dumped the contents of a boxed angel food cake into a mixing bowl, added water, mixed well, and slipped the pan of white goop in the oven to bake while we ate our supper.

My husband like the chicken. He asked lots of questions about it.

Him: This is good. What’s in the coating?

Me: See if you can guess.

Him: Probably flour and water and spices.

Me: That might be right.

Him: Cornflakes?

Me: No.

Him: Oatmeal?

Me: Nope.

Him: Bread crumbs?

Me: Um…I’m not exactly sure. (The kids were laughing their heads off.)

Him (comprehension dawning): You didn’t….make this. This…this is Kentucky Fried Chicken!

Me (giggling demurely): I told you fried chicken wouldn’t be a problem!

I didn’t take a picture of our gourmet chicken dinner, but I did snap a photo of the cake. Be impressed, y’all.

Do I ever know how to rock a birthday or what?

PS. We wrap our birthday gifts in newspaper. Real snazzy.

PPS. My husband was reading through this tonight, a little smile on his lips, when all of the sudden he erupted with a roar, THAT WAS A BOX CAKE?!

He didn’t know! I had no idea!

Moral: if you’re using a box cake, make it look real bad and everyone will think it’s homemade.

This same time, years previous: the quotidian (10.10.11), apple pie


  • Mavis


    Kinda disappointed you didn't get him socks and underwear… That's what I get my husband for his birthday… if he's lucky.

    Nice work JJ!

    Note to Mr. Handsome – When the wife asks you what do you want… Have an opinion and tell her what you want. It makes things go faster and doesn't freak us out as much. 🙂

  • Theresa

    LOL! Hey, it's the thought that counts 🙂 I bet my husband would actually prefer take-out to my cooking for his birthday. Not that my cooking is bad, but take-out is more of a treat. And he's not a sweets person, so even though I insist on baking for his birthday he'd probably be more than happy with a boxed cake too. Now that I think about it, maybe I should make this meal for my husband's birthday next month!

  • Margo

    oh, you are something ELSE. (shaking my head, laughing) I should do the chicken trick at my husband's birthday – he loves fried chicken and I am not keen on deep frying.

  • the domestic fringe

    Funny. We wrap in newspaper too.

    Truth: I've never attempted an Angel Food cake. It seems tricky to me. Maybe it's just that I don't like to separate eggs. I never know what to do with the yokes, so I just avoid cakes that need egg whites.


  • goodbadi

    This reminds me of the time (non-birthday)that I served Big Macs to my housemates…but when I pulled them out of the oven they were still boxed, so no one even thought to guess about the ingredients.

  • jodi

    hahaha!! This is awesome! I am taking notes over here for the next birthday celebration my husband has. 🙂 Genius idea about the cake too… 😉

  • Suburban Correspondent

    Wow – that's impressive. We had Larry's birthday today – we, too, give candy as presents. And half the family was sick, so it wasn't very festive, what with all the whining and moaning.

    I splurge though – I get my gift wrap from the dollar aisle in Target.

    • Jennifer Jo

      I wrestled with it to get it out of the pan. And I won … because it's out of the pan AND it's all deflated looking. Just call me a culinary Jacob.

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