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Birthday Burritos (and Other Cake Alternatives)

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Why do we celebrate birthdays with cakes? Where is this law written, and more importantly, why has the thought to rebel never occurred to me before now?

Leap Day Birthday Cakes Have it Better, by Four
Leap Day Birthday Cakes Have it Better, by Four

It turns out, birthday cakes can trace their origins back to no less mighty a people than the Greeks, who offered moon-shaped cakes to the lunar goddess, Artemis. They lit these with candles to represent the radiant glow of the moon. Modern birthday celebrations are more closely related to the Kinderfeste parties of medieval Germany, which were held in honor of a child's birthday, and included cakes lit with candles.

So there is some precedent for our birthday cake ways, but that doesn't mean we can't shake things up. There are such few cakes that really excite me, yet a vast world of culinary options that do. Wild Boar Ragu, for example—that's something I'm pumped to eat, always. I'm pretty sure it can accommodate a candle, it's just a matter of carefully arranging the pappardelle.

Andy Ward & Jenny Rosenstrach's Pork Shoulder Ragu
Andy Ward & Jenny Rosenstrach's Pork Shoulder Ragu

A quick poll of our team revealed I am not alone in my desire for cake alternatives:

Sarah: "Baba ghanouj, first choice."
Amanda: "Baguette + butter + candle."
Kenzi: "Warm brioche + butter + salt + candle." Also, "CEREAL!"
Leslie: "Anything but cake...pie would be first choice!"
Sarah D.: "I always have birthday pie! Last year, this included a candle."
Sam: "Burrito cake." Or, a "root beer float."

Now, I open the floor to you: What non-cake item do you edgy folks eat on your birthday? Have you ever stuck a candle in a steak? Do you want to? Tell us in the comments!

Tags: Cake, Birthday, Entertaining, Food History