So, for a change of style, tonight's birthday celebration was done in a suburban cafeteria fashion with one dish - a version of chicken-a-la-king over mashed potatoes.
But first, we had to keep the guests entertained as the cafeteria whips up dinner. Look at those ingredients below, can anyone guess what appetizer was served?
Bravo - yes, a delicious and perfectly made spinach dip from an original recipe I had in the early 80s when this dip was the hottest item on potluck dinner menus.
And, in the typical style of serving spinach dip, it was served in a white (not sourdough) round bread and all could not wait to rip into the soaked bread at the end.
A cafeteria style dinner cannot have fancy wines, so tonight's wine of choice was a rose (it was Tinhorn Creek Winery rose by the way, but a rose nonetheless).
Cafeteria style iceberg lettuce salads were laid out, served with a home-made thousand islands dressing (click on Alf Jazeera Dressing for recipe).
Meanwhile, Replacement Chef (click on Replacement Chef label for more stories about this chef), the originator of the recipe was directing the production of the chicken dish in the kitchen.
Apparently, the chicken had to go in last, the complete reverse order of what I had in mind. And my vegetable spread was missing onions and garlic. So the order of events was onions and garlic, cooked until they melt, then carrots, celery, mushrooms followed by the grouping of zucchini, peppers and chicken.
The dish turned out a spectacle for both the eyes and the taste buds. It was enriched by a can of cream of chicken soup with milk, sour cream, dill and a long simmer.
Dinner was served cafeteria style by filling up the plates off the stove and going to sit and eat wherever a guest felt like it.
A cafeteria style birthday is not a place for a fancy Anita Cake, so birthday girl had to settle for a Duncan Hines white cake.
It was layered and frosted, looking exactly as it looks on the package but with the added touch of crunchy colourful sprinkles.
Along with no Anita Cake, the cafeteria does not serve fancy Shaktea teas, so all settled for a Saskatoon Berries tea.
Now for a compare and contrast, click on the link Happy Birthday Tanya to compare last year's celebration to this one. Which is your preferred one? Vote in comments below.