Monday, September 08, 2014

MoFo: My Parents' 50 Year Anniversary!

Yesterday was my parents' 50th Wedding Anniversary. Isn't that just amazing? Fifty years ago, they were a coupla kiddos who'd only been going out for about a year or so, when they confidently jumped into the state of matrimony. And look at them now! 

golden balloons, golden banners, golden candles, gold gold gold

Our family tends to be pretty low-key, so we didn't have any family vacation rentals in Hawaii or renewal-of-the-vows ceremonies on the beach. Instead, my mom suggested we have "a potluck."

Ha ha! "A potluck" seemed just a little too low-key... so eventually we settled on an "upscale potluck," with folks bringing some nicer dishes and a little more effort than usual. Also, since it was a golden anniversary, we decided to go with a golden foods theme - as you'll see! We had the dinner at our cousin's beautiful house - which has been the home of countless special family events over the years (including my very own wedding!).

My parents really love bruschetta, so making lots of bruschetta with golden tomatoes was the very first thing I thought of. I brushed the breads with garlicky olive oil and then grilled them for extra yumminess. The tomato topping is just orange and yellow tomatoes (seeded!), a little bit of olive oil and salt, and lots of fresh basil.

 Here they are, fully assembled and ready to be passed around to guests. Maybe you can see the cute little gold pom-poms we used for decoration! Of course these were quite a universal hit - because bruschetta is just so dang good, especially with super-fresh bread and super-fresh tomatoes and super-fresh basil. Ahhhh.

My aunt Laura put together this amazing array of (mostly) golden veggies and hummus: sungold cherry tomatoes, yellow green beans, bell peppers, special red carrots, summer squash and celery. On fancy golden paper plates! So beautiful and yummy.

sparkly gold table decor!

I also made this giant bowl of grain salad with roasted golden beets and roasted cauliflower. The truth is, this salad wasn't really all that hot. And, I made a metric ton of it. I made a tahini-garlic-lemon dressing, and it seemed really yummy. But, by the time I served it (a couple hours later), it seemed like all the dressing had been soaked up or evaporated and the end result was thoroughly mediocre. Not really bad, but not good either. Fortunately, my parents really love farro, so my mom took most of the leftover farro so that she could repurpose it in future dishes. I took home the rest of the roasted veggies and I'm sure they'll still be tasty once I throw together a new batch of dressing. I guess I should have followed a recipe for such a special occasion, but I was feeling gusty!

 One of my mom's best friends brought along this curried couscous salad with currants and golden chunks of mango. It was SO GOOD. A total hit, which made up for my less successful salad! It was a perfect sweet-savory salad combo. I went back for seconds.

Of course there was corn on the cob. My parents are both big fans of fresh corn on the cob (like most people!), so we knew this would be another golden summery hit. 

My brother's fiance also brought some really nice and fancy roasted golden potatoes that I forgot to get a picture of, and a lot of lovely (non-vegan) food. I didn't take pics of the non-vegan food, but I didn't want to skip over her contribution!

Of course there was dessert! I talked about it with my mom and dad, and we decided it would be fun if I made a spice cake - which is what they had on their actual wedding day fifty years ago. So, I turned to my grandmother's trusty Applesauce Spice Cake (from the Joy of Cooking). I made a double layer cake, with coffee flavored frosting and special golden sparkly balls.  If you are looking for a damn good spice cake, look no further. Everyone loved it! 

It was so much fun to make this cake for them and think about them while I was making it. There's something so magical about preparing food for someone and holding them in your heart and in your thoughts as you chop and stir and mix all that love into the food.

Mostly, my mom got away without having to do any work for her own party - but we did ask her to  put together a collection of photos - covering 50 years of togetherness. She did a great job! My tech-savvy aunties got the pics to display on continuous loop on the screen in the living room, which was so great. Just look at these two - this picture is from their engagement - so sweet and youthful!

I gave my mom golden mardi gras beads and my dad golden deelie-boppers as anniversary gifts.

The evening was filled with love and warmth and stories and memories and recollections. And of course, they re-enacted the cutting of the cake!

It was a truly wonderful evening. I feel so grateful to have such special parents. As my mom said last night, it takes a certain amount of luck to pick a partner who you can grow and evolve with and continue to enjoy and love them for so many years. My parents still enjoy each other's company, go out to movies, travel together, respect each other, support each other's interests and passions. They are both passionate people with strong individual pursuits, but they have also modeled respect and admiration for each other through all these years. Of course I have learned a lot from each of them over the years - various traits and qualities and interests, but it was lovely to reflect on what I've also learned from THEM as a unit.  It really felt quite special to have this opportunity to celebrate them and their many years of togetherness. I love them both so much. 


  1. C-U-T-E!! Thanks for being Chief Party Planner & Ringleader, and sending out this great account of our evening with such fantastic pictures. Can't wait to see more! XXOO

  2. This post is just so sweet! I love it.

    Also, why have I not made bruschetta yet, with the pounds of tomatoes my garden is currently producing?! Thanks for the nudge!

  3. This is so so lovely! Thank you for sharing. 50 years is definitely something to celebrate and your parents certainly look utterly in love :)
    Great effort on putting together that spread, especially that beautiful cake! Sounds really tasty too.

  4. Anonymous7:42 AM

    My family celebrates every event with a potluck too, my parents have been together 50 years as well, it's remarkable! I love how your Dad has the same sort of wild, wonder look in his eyes in his 20's to the picture of your Mom feeding him cake. So sweet, thanks for sharing.

  5. Anonymous11:38 AM

    So sweet, Amey! What a wonderful way to celebrate. My family does potlucks like that, too--I think it makes important events more personal, rather than sitting around a table in a fancy restaurant. :)

  6. What a sweet & joyful post! All the food & decorations look amazing! Happy anniversary to your parents! :)

  7. What a wonderfully special and beautiful day your amazing family put together. The food all looks wonderful and I love the gold theme. Yay for love! And yay for finding someone you can change and grow with <3.

  8. How lovely! Happy anniversary to your parents! I love themed potlucks, and the gold theme is just so fun. I once went to an orange themed potluck (it had to do with something spiritual and cosmic going on that night).

  9. What a beautiful day, it sounds lovely. I love all the gold everywhere throughout.
    I am seriously impressed with that cake, it looks amazing.

  10. aww! this looks like such a great feast. I love all the colors in your food. Thank you so much for sharing your food stories with us!

  11. Awwwwwww. Happy anniversary, Amey's parents!

  12. Aww congratulations to your parents - they look so happy and so healthy! I love the idea of a golden food theme - and what a stunning cake! Thank you for sharing this beautiful day with us :)

  13. Oh this is so cute! Congrats to your parents. The food looks great and what a fabulous cake!


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