How to celebrate an anniversary
My friend Anne is one of a kind. Ageless, stylish and with sense of fun like no one else I know. I first met her when she came to one of my cooking classes a long time ago, before I switched careers and became a lawyer (she still has the lentil soup recipe from that class). We quickly became friends and that friendship has endured and deepened over the years and now I think of Anne, Sam and their family as my family.
Did I mention sense of fun? Hear this. To celebrate their anniversary Anne slips into her somewhat original wedding dress and her husband Sam chauffeurs her around (yes, chauffeur cap and all) in their luxury car to unsuspecting (and sometimes bewildered) friends and acquaintances. Apparently, she has been doing this for 40 years and this year they celebrated their 59th years of marriage (yes, to each other).
In the last couple of years Anne invited me to join her in the outing as a Bride’s Maid. Of course I jumped at the opportunity to have fun with Anne and went out in search of a bride’s maid dress. Understatement has it’s place, but not here. I was looking for a stylish overstatement. Yay, I hit gold (or is it oil here in Alberta?). I found a knee length dress made entirely from three dimensional pink roses. Ahh, the perfect dress for the occasion. I even found a pink bracelet with the very same pink rose that was on the dress, to wear on my wrist. What are the odds for that find? Not having quite enough pink, I found a fun looking large pink key chain to dangle off my silver purse. A gorgeous pink silk shawl that I received as a gift (I only buy black) completed my pink bride’s maid outfit for the day. I was ready to play.
I met Anne and Sam at their condo. They were both dressed the part, Anne in a wedding gown, a veil and her beautiful jewelry, Sam in his beautiful suit, chauffeur’s cap in hand. We first drove to the bakery where Anne has placed an order for the wedding “cake”: heart shaped linzer type cookies filled with raspberry jam in the center. We put a few of the cookies in a little basket she carries and the rest stayed in the trunk of the car, awaiting delivery to unsuspecting friends.
First stop was one of the prestigious law firms in town. Anne had someone to visit there. The security people looked at us suspiciously but still, smiled and let us through without a question. We got off the elevator on the 30 floor and went to the reception. The gal at the reception looked at us bewildered, not knowing what to do with us. We explained that we are here to see so and so. “is he expecting you?” She asked. We explained that no, this is supposed to be a surprise. Reluctantly the young receptionist dialed the lawyer and was relieved that he was not in his office. She was probably hopping that we will leave but she doesn’t know us. We were on a mission and were not leaving so soon. We settled in the reception area on the comfortable couch and were fielding a few questions from waiting clients. I told them that the law firm just opened a new department for a quick divorce – altar to lawyer kind of things- and we were the first clients. Thankfully they laughed and played along, telling us about their own marriages etc. Anne got a little tired of waiting and went up to the desk, then positioned herself in front of the elevators and asked the passing lawyers if this is a good place to look for a groom. I have never seen lawyers go away so quickly. It was hilarious (for us). Eventually the targeted lawyer arrived (I somehow think he knew we were coming) and he played along beautifully and had a good laugh. Even the receptionist came around and declared that she has been doing it all wrong and from now on plans to come to work dressed in a wedding gown looking for a husband. She was a good sport.
We continued all day in the same style, surprising some people, expected by some who knew Anne does this on their anniversary, and I thought her friends played along and got a good laugh out of it, as well as great cookies. Japanese tourists wanted their picture taken with Anne in her gown at the restaurant (we had to stop for lunch of course), some security people wanted to take a picture in front of the buildings we went into. Anne carried it on beautifully, smiling, handing out cookies and explaining the concept to those who asked. We even stopped by her dentist’s office and she handed anniversary cookies to the dentists and staff. They have seen her in her wedding gown on a previous visit when she showed up unexpectedly while her husband was in the dental chair for a treatment, and proceeded to sit in his lap, dental chair and all. Only Anne can do this. She is hilarious. Last year we went to see the mayor but lucky or unlucky for him, he wasn’t in. Still, Anne managed a picture with a cardboard cutout of the mayor (at the public library) in her wedding gown. You should have been there. This year we actually made it into the Mayor’s office and he was perfect. He laughed and visited and had pictures taken with Anne and later tweeted the most hilarious tweet: “Big News everyone. Miss Anne (from the romper Room) finally said yes!”
We finished the day at a fashionable restaurant where we stopped for a latté and a bite to eat. My husband joined us as well and we had a few good stories to tell. Funny thing is that a lot of the people at the restaurant were congratulating ME. I wonder why.
I am already looking forward to our next outing next year (I am available, Anne). We have it down to a science now and I can’t wait to see people’s expression at seeing the unexpected. I know what Anne is wearing. What am I going to wear next year?
Happy 59 anniversary Anne and Sam. I love you both. Best wishes for many more years together.
See recipe for the cookies below.
Anniversary Linzer Cookies
1 1/2 sticks butter
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup ground almonds or hazelnuts
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup raspberry jam
Confectioners sugar for dusting
Place the butter in the bowl of a mixer and mix for a couple of minutes to soften. Add yolk, sugar, orange zest and vanilla and mix 3 minutes or so until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Add the flour and ground nuts and continue mixing first on low then on medium speed until the batter is nicely combined. Use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl down a couple of times.
When done use a spatula to scrape the dough onto a parchment paper. Form the dough into a rectangle, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for about an hour to firm up.
When ready to proceed cut the dough in half (keeping one half cool until ready to roll it) and roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper (it helps because the dough is soft and tends to stick to the rolling pin). You can sprinkle it a little with confectioners sugar or a dusting of flour to help with the stickiness. Roll it out to about 1/4 inch thick.
Cut the cookies into hearts with a cookie cutter (or use other shapes). You will need two sizes heart shaped cookie cutter: a large one for the cookie on the bottom and a smaller one to cut out the heart shape opening for the top cookies. Don’t throw away the heart cutouts, bake them along with the larger cookies and serve with the rest.
Bake the cookies at 350℉ on a foil lined baking sheets spacing them about 1 inch apart. Be careful not to let them brown. You may need to rotate the baking sheets once through the baking to avoid any hot spots of your oven.
Remove to a cooling rack. When the cookies have cooled spread the bottom cookie with the jam.
Dust confectioners sugar over the top cookies and then place on top of the bottom cookies to create a sandwich-like cookie with the heart shape opening through which you can see the jam.
Makes about 12 “sandwich” cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutter.