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You’re Turning 102. What Are You Eating For Your Birthday?

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Oct 27, 2014
You’re Turning 102. What Are You Eating For Your Birthday?

A few weeks ago, the coolest woman in the world celebrated her 102nd birthday by eating at White Castle. Madeline Turpan, who eats at the chain once a month without fail, said it was the best birthday she's ever had.

I respect that kind of devotion to a food, within reason, and am a firm believer you should consume whatever your heart desires on your birthday.

Just ask Leonard Cohen, who recently took up smoking again in honor of his 80th birthday. As New York Times writer Jason Karlawish says, "Mr. Cohen’s plan presents a provocative question: When should we set aside a life lived for the future and, instead, embrace the pleasures of the present?"

This got our gears turning here at Sporkful HQ. What will we eat when we turn 102? I polled my fellow Sporkfullers to find out.

Elite Truong, Blogger

I'd have to say my 102nd birthday meal has got to be shared with all the people I love to eat with, so I can have a little bit of everything. (When I order something just for myself, I get commitment-phobic and nostalgic for all the other dishes I could have eaten.)

I'd go for all the wintry comfort foods and dishes that you can get walking around in Chinatown. Grilled lemongrass pork chops, Vietnamese-style with pickled cucumbers, leeks, carrots, tomato rose, and fish cake, on white rice with a fried egg on top. Lots of dumplings with all the sides (sour cream, applesauce, soy and chili), including momo, pierogies, soup dumplings, BBQ pork bao. And roast chicken with roasted lemons and root vegetables. Plus my favorite dim sum dish -- deep-fried shrimp stuffed-crab claw.

Kristen Meinzer, Producer

A pack of cigarettes and a bottle of bourbon.

Dan Pashman, Host and Creator

One fried chicken thigh, stuffing, and something wrapped in a flour tortilla, probably with melted cheese. Blueberry crisp pie with vanilla ice cream. Beer and bourbon. Who knows what I'll like all those decades hence, but right now, in this moment, I think fried chicken and stuffing might be my two favorite foods. Those and anything wrapped in a flour tortilla. I've loved all foods wrapped in flour tortillas (or similar encasements) for as long as I can remember. When I was ten, I told the rabbi at my temple that my favorite food was moo shu pork.

As for me? I'm also all about parties, so I'd be inviting my living family members and favorite friends to share Cabot extra-sharp cheddar cheese and the best sausages money can buy, dipped in all kinds of mustard. I'd want giant pizzas from Pizza Suprema (I am sure they will still be in business when I'm 102!) with extra cheese, green olives, and mushrooms; spaghetti and meatballs; homemade mac and cheese; super-garlicky and anchovy-laden Cesar salads; my grandmother's monkey bread; my mom's chocolate cake; very cold apple cider, lemonade, and seltzer water; and of course, endless old-fashioned's for everyone.

How about you guys -- what would you eat to celebrate 102? It's gotta fit in your stomach, and the stomachs of your loved ones. This is the real world, not some fantasy land! Let us know in the comments.

Talia Ralph is a freelance writer pursuing her Master's in Food Systems at NYU. She also hosts a radio show about pizza. Follow her on Twitter @TaliaBethRalph.

Photo: Flickr CC / perke

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