I recently celebrated my 24th Birthday! It’s been a few months since I’ve started eating AIP, and I was craving birthday cake. A week before my birthday, my friend Sarah and I were perusing an AIP cookbook my mom had given me. We came across this amazing looking carob layered cake and my mouth started to water looking at the photo. We decided to make it together and serve it at my party.
Three hours before the party, Sarah came over and we filled my food processor with weird things I would never think could go into a cake. Plantains and gelatin made up most of the “batter.” We marveled at how much it looked like real, floury, chocolately goodness. And when it was all done, we added the rich frosting to the two tiered cake. It was very dense, so we cut it into small pieces to serve everyone. The carob tasted slightly different than chocolate with almost a coffee flavor. Paired with a cup of my AIP “coffee” this cake tasted divine. Perfect for my birthday cravings!
While all of the cake making was going on, Sarah and I also made three other dishes. An AIP oyster stew for dinner, an AIP squash and apple casserole to take to our church potluck the next morning, and brownies, full of gluten death for all of the guests coming who didn’t have the diet restrictions I have. I must say, I was very impressed with our ability to juggle four different recipes without mixing them all up. There were no oysters in the brownies at the end of the night!
As everyone came, we got out our arrangement of mix-matched wine glasses. We broke out the extra old lawn chair we keep in our spare room. We used every single plate in our cupboard, and every fork. Friends brought their favorite bottle of wine to share, and they made sure I had a great alternative to alcohol (an amazing spicy carbonated ginger drink that looked and bubbled like champagne). After much laughter and a fun round of Cards Against Humanity, we realized it was past midnight, and slowly they all made their way to the massive pile of coats and shoes by our door.
The next morning Josh and I stood in our kitchen, looking at all the dirty dishes. He brought all the wine glasses over to the sink and said with a smile, “You know, we’ve gotten good at hosting.” I thought back to when we first moved into our little apartment. Even before we had couches in our place we had people over for dinner. We’ve always desired to be good hosts, but our desire comes not from a craving to be popular, but a call to imitate Christ. With Christ, there is an abundance of good things. He brings out the best and there is always enough at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Unfortunately, having an unlimited supply of food and drink is not always possible, but we’ve come to realize that hosting well means a lot more than the quantity of munchies. It is seeing the little details ahead of time, like putting the water pitcher out as soon as the wine glasses are filled, and making sure there is good music going. It’s lighting a few candles when the gals are over and making sure there’s a blanket for that one friend who likes to cuddle up in our big comfy chair. It’s not worrying about the dishes and engaging fully in conversation, making sure your guest is heard and valued. That takes trial and error, and luckily our friends keep coming back so we can practice on them. We may not have a fancy house or the most expensive wine, but to us, hosting well is making our best effort to ensure our guests feel welcome.