What a weekend this has been! I had the honor of having two catering jobs this weekend. Unfortunately, they were both on Saturday, and within two hours of each other, so I couldn't really relax and enjoy being present at the first one. This was a shame, since the first event of the afternoon was the Grand Opening of Armonia Health's community acupuncture clinic in Durham. Lilan Hsiang Weiss first envisioned this bilingual community-centered health center nine years ago, and was celebrating the manifestation of that long-awaited vision.
Boy, do Lilan and her husband, musician Alex Weiss, know how to throw an interesting party! One of Lilan's signature traits is her reverence for diversity, which was evident in the crowd of friends and well-wishers who came to bless the new space. The ceremony began with a Taiwanese prayer to the Four Elements of Nature, followed by Alex playing a native Earth-healing song on his Cherokee-made wooden flute. Next there was a Taiwanese style ribbon-cutting and ceremonial entrance into the office, accompanied by Alex on his trumpet. You can see a brief video here (Instagram literally only gives you a minute to work with). I also want to mention that the entire ceremony was translated into both English and Spanish (with some Mandarin thrown in for extra exoticity).
As honored as I felt to be a part of such a spiritual and heart-felt event, I had to rush off so that I could make it to my next catering event. The next event was super important - my father's bleep (hint: the censored # ends in a 0) surprise birthday party. My dad is a fantastic man, who I wish you all might some day have the pleasure to meet. If he were to enter an older male beauty pageant, he would probably be given the "most congenial" or "best personality" award, hands-down. My dad has many talents (like being able to fix anything), yet he is so darn likable and pretty humble, so if you only met him briefly, that is probably what you would guess his superhero power was. As you might guess by my description, my father is a people person, and he especially loves his family. Thus when my mother, siblings and I were planning his party, we decided the best present ever would be to surround him with his family. My mother is extremely shy, so I won't say much about her here except that, for a woman who doesn't like planning (or attending) parties, she did some amazing planning and coordinating work to pull this one off, and my dad was both suitably surprised and thrilled. My brother, the actual certified chef of the family, provided the bulk of the food from his restaurant in Charlotte, while my sister's piece de resistance contribution was the Cake.
It was her brainchild to make the cake in the shape of a photo album, with pictures printed on edible rice paper. She found a specialty bakery in Charlotte, and arrived in Hillsborough the other night with it in a box so big that no one else in her family could fit in the car with it!
I mean look at this cake! Not only was it gorgeous, it had three gigantic layers of German Chocolate cake underneath all that decorative frosting. If only it had been vegan...