My Birthday Fare Part I: Oysters and Chicken and Cupcakes, oh my!

So while I still have a bunch of Aruba food fun to share with you, today I'm taking a little break to tell you a little about my recent birthday fun and food. As it turned out, work sent me to Atlanta over my birthday, so I quietly celebrated a few days later with Shaun and my family in a backyard barbecue.

Early dinner began with oysters and jumbo shrimp, items that Shaun and I purchased while down the Jersey Shore earlier that morning. I'll admit here and now: I had never tasted oysters before. A bit put off by its raw and slimey nature, I recalled Tony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential and his sermon on the heavenliness of oysters and how his first taste at age 8 changed his culinary, food-loving life forever. So with a plate of cold oysters shucked by none other that Shaun himself, I closed my eyes and went for it. The result? Resounding sweet success. Sweet and salty doused with a few drops of fresh lemon and a dollop of homemade cocktail sauce, I finally understand what the whole hoopla is over them. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking some up.

Next up was the main course of barbecued chicken wings, grilled yams and cauliflower salad. With her very own marinade, my mom cooked up enough chicken for an entire block party. Juicy and charred by the grill, I went with all drumsticks (rather than the other wings) and they did not disappoint. For the yams, we cut them into wedges, coated them with olive oil, salt and pepper and then grilled them up on a tray placed atop the grill. Mom also put her very own twist on traditional picnic potato salad by substituting cauliflower for the potatoes. Not a bad way to put a healthy twist on an old fave.

Last up was dessert and oh how my family knows my taste to a T. Moist and rich chocolate cupcakes frosted with traditional buttercream hit the mark and I'll admit to even enjoying them for a few days following the party.

So there it is. A tale of my homemade birthday feast and the first time I ever ate oysters. What is your ultimate birthday meal? Have you ever went out on a limb and tried something that semi-terrified you?