Photography by Bree-Ann Merritt Photography Design 

September 29th is my mother’s birthday. This year, she surprised me when she said she wanted to host her birthday party in her home. Why was I surprised? Well you see, my mother typically avoids attention on herself, and she has always had a hard time accepting gifts, praise, and offers of assistance or help. She is a giver, but not much of a taker. For the last 30 years my mother’s main focus has been on her 5 children; she made sacrifice upon sacrifice for me and for my siblings. How much she has done for us and how much she has forgone for herself, is something of which, I’ve only come to realize in my adult life. My appreciation for my mother has grown immensely and, yes, I do wish she would allow people to do more for her, but at the same time I also admire her for her independence and strength. So now you can see why when she asked me to help her with the party she was planning, I was more than happy to help. To be able to do something for someone you love dearly and for someone who deserves it as much as my mother does, was a wonderful feeling.DSC_0256

The task of planning the party was quite simple, because all my mother wanted was a small group of friends and family gathered in her home. She wanted to cook and have loved ones come to share delicious food, good company, music and laughs. I’m happy to report that her party ended up being just that – a beautiful, intimate and fun night! My mother lit up the house with her beautiful smile; she danced, sang and laughed. It was a perfect evening! We started the evening by joining hands and forming a circle around my mother. Then my Uncle Ike led a prayer to bless my mother for her birthday. It was a rare moment in time when my mother was literally the centre of attention! She deserved it and she truly deserves so much more.

Part of my contribution to the party included making her a birthday cake. My mother does not have much of a sweet tooth, so I had to get creative. I modified one of my cake recipes to make her a vanilla bean cinnamon cake. Instead of icing, I chose to make a cinnamon icing sugar topping which I dusted the cake with. While baking the cake for my mother, many memories flooded my mind of all the times I have been in the kitchen with her, watching her cook and being at her side while she taught me how to cook and inspired me with aromatic and delicious meals. When I eat her food now, it evokes feelings of love and happiness. Just stepping into her home, the aroma of the food she has prepared triggers memories of love. I wanted her to feel the same love and happiness when she tried her special cake.


Well I’m happy to report that she loved her cake. Mission accomplished! It’s times like these that remind me of how much food, especially when prepared for friends and family, is such an act of love. Furthermore, preparing food for another person is also a great way to reconnect with our food, learn our way around the kitchen and become confident in a necessary life skill. All in all making food for yourself or for loved ones is therapeutic and will make you and those you are cooking for, feel loved and cared for.


If you think my vanilla bean cinnamon cake is the right fit for someone you love, you can find the recipe here