A Perfectly Laid Back Steampunk Birthday

What’s worse than being a baby who is born in the summer, at least for all your school years? You don’t get a birthday party at school, not even one of those lame ones where they celebrate all the birthdays for a given month together so that everyone is equal… even if their birthday falls on a weekend. No, summer birthday kids are usually entirely ignored. If they aren’t they celebrate ALL the summer birthdays on a single day, which is nowhere near their actual birthdays. Summer kids daring to have a real birthday face the hardship that everyone is “on vacation” during their birthday. It’s never really clear if they really are or if their parents work in the summer so your 1 O’clock party doesn’t fit into the schedule. I always felt that my summer birthday sucked.

Until I met the ONE group of people with a fate worse than a dreaded summer birthday, people born on holidays. I thought it was lame to have small parties where I got SCHOOL SUPPLIES as punishment for being born at the end of July. Holiday birthday people get the same birthday theme every year *insert holiday here* double downer if your birth holiday already implied gifts because you’re getting stiffed. If you remember from the previous few years, my poor boyfriend is eternally stuck with this awful luck– his ill-fated birthday lies on none other than St. Patrick’s Day. Worst part, for the first 20 years of his life his birthday wasn’t even really something that he could celebrate.

After he turned 21, he could only celebrate his birthday with pub crawling for mass-produced British food, and usually there were Scottish bands playing bagpipes involved, to celebrate a kinda sorta made up Irish-themed holiday that’s really just an excuse in the US to have a 4th day of the year where it’s acceptable to be soused (the other 3 being New Year’s Eve, 4th of July, and Labor Day, only veterans get to be respectably drunk on Memorial Day or Veterans Day). The only thing that I could do to make his life better? Naturally I had to give him awesome birthdays… that weren’t actually on his birthday.

This year we went the weekend after and did an awesome Steampunk theme. Don’t worry, we didn’t go over the top because he’s not into big to-dos, but we did have goggles and moustaches and games and themed foods and a few of us even bothered with costumes.

I threw together a global affair on the Menu end, including Mini Bangers and Mash, for which I used lil’ beef smokies cooked in a pre-created brown gravy of mushrooms, onions, arrow root, and Better Than Bouillon Beef which had mashed potatoes to pair with. This little dish went over quite well and I will definitely pull it out again because it’s fast, cheap, tasty, and seems fancy.

We also grabbed some frozen Spanecopita (he is Greek) and Mini Spring Rolls from Costco. Both were also well-recieved and I was surprised with how well the Spanikopita (I’ve seen it spelled both ways, hedging my bets here) in particular tasted, you couldn’t tell that it was frozen at all. It also proved the first time many of our guests had been eased into Greek food so that was a pleasing bonus.

I resurrected my stuffed mushrooms from Valentine’s Day and they were just as fabulously delicious as last time. I then rounded things out with a veggie tray, a cheese tray, and a meat tray. The whole party was built around pleasing all our friends with unique dietary restrictions. There were multiple vegan options (even amongst the cupcakes), vegetarian ones, and still plenty of meat for the religiously carnivorous.


Believe it or not I already had most of these cheeses on hand and just bought the 4 rows of cheese in the middle as a party pack from Costco for $9. The dilled harvarti, beer smoked gouda, habanero jack, muenster, and bacon cheese were all already in the fridge and this provided me an opportunity to get rid of the spoils of a previous wine and cheese night (where the crackers also ended up as leftovers).

The meats were just a simple party tray also also from Costco (can you tell we’re both in the middle of doing theatre shows and didn’t have much time to prep this party?).


Here’s the birthday boy with his birthday Baklava cupcake from Sugar Mamma’s Bakery, a local Austin favorite that’s won Cupcake Wars several times and has fun and innovative recipes. I also grabbed some cute moustache candles, moustache napkins, brown plates, and gold plasticware at Party City to round out an effort on deco.


Though a much more laid-back and subdued party by our standards, we did have people game until 3am, which makes it a success in the eyes of the birthday boy which is all that really matters.


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