It’s my birthday and you’re invited

… to the next installment of the International Incident parties – this month we’re bringing DUMPLINGS!

More on that later. Since it’s my (40th) birthday, I thought you could indulge me with a few paragraphs and pics about me. Because if it can’t be all about me today, when can it? 😉

A few facts about me that might explain who I am today.

1. I have always loved to eat. Actually I have always liked to be in charge of the food as you can see in the picture below. Note my (older) sister isn’t allowed to hold the bag of chips (crisps).  This has translated into me being a bit of a control freak in the kitchen (ahem) to the point where when we host dinners where everyone is supposed to bring a course (we’re in a dinner club where that’s the idea), I only let people bring cheese and chocolate to end the meal because I want my menu items to match. I mean, who wouldn’t?

2. I have always needed a lot of sleep. I was, in fact the dream baby. Check me out snoozing away in the pics below!  As you can see, my sister was an excellent caregiver (note how I am just snoozing on despite the photo op!).  She also forced taught me to read before I should have been reading, including her “Digger the Dog” readers she used to bring home from school. Meaning that two years later, when I started school, I had already read the reader series I was supposed to start on causing many headaches for my teachers. Begin as you mean to carry on, I say! No, I was not an easy student.  But I have always loved to read and write. Perhaps I was destined to be some sort of writer even though I dropped Journalism after one year…

(hey – I was only 7 days old in that pic!!)

(hey – where did my red hair go???)

3. I was brought up travelling, in part thanks to my dad’s job at the ABC.  When I was 2, we moved to England. We went on a ship (took 6 weeks!) of which I have very fuzzy memories, including mum bribing me to come inside when the boat was leaving Adelaide by telling me “We have biscuits in the cabin” (see #1 above), my sister and I going for a little walk around the ship when mum and dad were at adult dinner because my sister thought it would be fun (hey – it was 1972, that’s what you did – left your kids locked in the cabin whilst you went off to dinner. Unfortunately for mum and dad, Amanda is a smart cookie too and figured out how to unlock the door. She was 4, after all.), and inhaling a whole packet of Disprin (whilst mum and dad were also absent from the cabin) because I thought it would taste good. It did. I still like the taste and am sorry you can’t get it here in Canada.

We soldiered on and had a grand old time in England. Plus, we were very groovy, as you can see in these photos:

(check me out in the low-tech pusher – stroller for North Americans !!!)

I guess travelling around the world at such a young age instilled a love of travel in me that I still have.  When I look back at what mum and dad accomplished with two little girls without all the bells and whistles parents have these days, I am in awe.  Mum and dad – you rock!

(Can I just interrupt this post right now to say how unfair it is that mum and Amanda got the lovely hair in the family?  I love you dad but your straight, finer than fine English hair isn’t one of the best things I inherited from you. Just sayin…)

All that to say that I strongly believe  early experiences really do shape who you are and how you see the world.  And I wouldn’t have changed a thing about my childhood. Thanks mum and dad.

All right then, onto the PARTY!  Amusingly, this month’s theme is dumplings which I find fitting as I *was* a bit of a dumpling as a child. There are some cruel cruel pictures mum and dad took of me when I was a roly poly baby (actually sitting next to a roly poly toy) that I refuse to post here. But mum, dad and Amanda, you know which ones I mean.  The word dumpling does spring to mind.

In keeping with my stubborn nature and wanting to do everything and not admitting that perhaps I don’t have time to do everything, I was a little distressed to realise that I was not going to have time to make the dumpling wrappers from scratch this month.  But hey – it IS my birthday so you have to cut me some slack, right?

I like simple flavours in my dumplings and chose this recipe from Gourmet, May 2009, for Shrimp Scallion Dumplings.  I made them two ways – pan fried and gently poached.

I started out pan frying them but it got a bit out of control and I abandoned the pan since I didn’t want to have to clean up (even more) spattered oil…  The “gently poaching” worked fine but I found my wrappers came a bit loose and they didn’t hold together so well. They were delicious nonetheless and reminded me that it’s not so hard to make a weeknight meal a bit out of the ordinary.  Next time, though, Penny et al, I promise to do the challenge from scratch. But you’ll forgive me this one time, won’t you? I am entering my FIFTH decade, after all…

(thanks for indulging me!)

Penny will have a full roundup of all the dumpling parties soon but in the meantime, you can check out some of the other entries:

96 Responses to It’s my birthday and you’re invited

  1. penny aka jeroxie May 12, 2010 at 06:06 #

    Happy birthday sweetie! And yes, you are absolutely forgiven. I am happy that you attended the party. I hope that you get many presents and all yummy days and week ahead.
    xoxo jeroxie

  2. Anh May 12, 2010 at 06:11 #

    Happy birthday! And I love how you have brought back all those beautiful photos!

  3. bunkycooks May 12, 2010 at 06:31 #

    Happy birthday! Great stories about growing up and cute pics. 🙂 Your dumplings look awfully good…I think you fulfilled your commitment perfectly.

  4. Jessica @ How Sweet May 12, 2010 at 06:46 #

    Happy birthday! I love looking at old photos. 😉

  5. Joan Nova May 12, 2010 at 06:57 #

    Lovely post (especially liked the ‘groovy’ photos). Best wishes for your birthday.

  6. Shirley May 12, 2010 at 07:12 #

    A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! You sure were a dumpling!!!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite May 13, 2010 at 07:12 #

      Oh you haven’t seen the HALF of it. Hence why I didn’t post certain even more dumpling-like pictures!

  7. Belinda @zomppa May 12, 2010 at 07:50 #

    Happy birthday!!!!!!!!!!!! What a great way to celebrate.

  8. A Canadian Foodie May 12, 2010 at 07:54 #

    Love the family pics! Coincidentally, I had done the same thing last post – but old old old family picks… first family angel food cake made by my great grandmother for her 50th wedding anniversary in a dishpan!
    Your mom and dad must be a little older than me – 10 years or so… I was also wearing those same clothes – but I was 13 or 14. Love them!
    Especially he glasses. You and your sister are cutie patooties, too.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite May 13, 2010 at 07:11 #

      Oooh see I wish I had ben wearing groovy clothes like that when I was 13 or 14 – I was stuck in the 80s bad gear! Thanks for stopping by Valerie!

  9. Suzie the Foodie May 12, 2010 at 08:00 #

    Happy Birthday! I can think of no better way to celebrate than with dumplings, genius! I loved learning more about you and can tell you and your family have magical gypsy blood running through you, lovely.

  10. merry jennifer May 12, 2010 at 08:05 #

    What a great trip down memory lane! Love, love, love the old photos. Happy birthday to you, Mardi. I hope this next decade is your best yet.

  11. Paula - bell'alimento May 12, 2010 at 08:09 #

    Happy Happy Birthday Mardi! I hope your day is completely delicious! Mwah! I loved seeing all your fotos. Your family is gorgeous & your mamma has such style! Lovin the mini & the boots! Fantabulous! So happy that I’ve gotten to know you this past year!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite May 13, 2010 at 07:10 #

      Thanks Paula – it’s been great to get to know you this year as well!! And yep, mum was rocking the mini skirt and boots!

  12. CMC May 12, 2010 at 08:58 #


    Love you, mum.

  13. 5 Star Foodie May 12, 2010 at 09:24 #

    Happy birthday Mardi!!! I loved seeing your childhood pictures, thanks for sharing! The dumplings are looking scrumptious!

  14. Tracey@Tangled Noodle May 12, 2010 at 09:56 #

    Wishing you a happy, wonderful birthday! No matter what you think of your dad’s fine hair, I only see a family of lovely coifs – please tell your mother for me that she rocked the bouffant. 😎

    As for these dumplings, both versions look delicious. I want to slurp the first one right off the spoon!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite May 13, 2010 at 07:08 #

      Tracey – mum reads the blog so she will see that for herself! Yes those poached dumplings were definitely slurpable!

  15. Conor @ HoldtheBeef May 12, 2010 at 10:25 #

    It’s so nice to get to know you some more with this perfect birthday post. I do not think I have seen cooler family photos EVER. You lot were styling, big time.

    We had one of those bouncer crocheted things in our family too, just like that one! Except I think ours was orange or pink. I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on an adult sized version.

    Beautiful looking dumplings, and beautiful photos to match, too 🙂


    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite May 13, 2010 at 07:07 #

      Oh yes, an adult bassinet ( I think that’s what they are called…) – now THERE’s a marketing idea. Just wrap yourself up in your snugli and you’re all set!!!

  16. Val Outmezguine May 12, 2010 at 10:26 #

    Happy Birthday Mardi! We at FN wish you all the best!
    P.S. Those dumplings look goooood, I’m a particular fan of fried version, oh how I heart the unhealthy!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite May 13, 2010 at 07:06 #

      Thanks Val for stopping by! I don’t know HOW unhealthy those were but yes, they were my favourite too!!!

  17. Kristi Rimkus May 12, 2010 at 10:35 #

    Happy, happy birthday! Fun blog post. The dumpling look wonderful!

  18. Maria May 12, 2010 at 10:39 #

    Happy Birthday! Fun photos:) I hope you have a great day!

  19. The Cilantropist May 12, 2010 at 10:49 #

    Happy Birthday! This was a great post to read with lots of lovely photos, so enjoyable. I think the the poached ones look the best, but I know what you mean that they sometimes fall apart… eh, they still taste yummy, right? 😉

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite May 13, 2010 at 07:05 #

      Yes, apparently it’s all in the wrapping technique which I learnt about after I made them!!

  20. Jamie May 12, 2010 at 12:26 #

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARDI SWEETIE! Oh you are too too much and I am so glad to have you for a friend. This post has made me laugh out loud! And boy did you have the groovy parents! Lucky you! Hope that dumpling party and whatever else YOU choose for today is fabulous!

    And, hey, that’s a whole lotta dumplings going on there…

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite May 13, 2010 at 07:04 #

      Thanks Jamie – glad to have you as a friend too 🙂 I think my mum and dad would be in fashion again today with what they are wearing in these photos!

  21. Barbara Bakes May 12, 2010 at 12:54 #

    It was fun reading about the fun times you had growing up. I love to travel too. I would also love this meal for my birthday. Happy Birthday!

  22. Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz May 12, 2010 at 13:55 #

    Happy Birthday Mardi. And love your recipe, stories and photos. Especially love those groovy green glasses! All the best xoxox

  23. Jan (Family Bites) May 12, 2010 at 14:26 #

    Happy Birthday to you! I love these vintage photos.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite May 13, 2010 at 07:03 #

      Thanks! I love old pictures too and last summer spent hours poring over them when I was back home!

  24. Lynne May 12, 2010 at 14:32 #

    Love the photos Mardi………hope you have a wonderful Birthday. Tell Mr. Neil he is in big trouble if he doesn’t do something really special for you today!!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite May 13, 2010 at 07:02 #

      Thanks Lynne – it was a school night so no special plans – saving them for the next two weekends!

  25. Daydreamer Desserts May 12, 2010 at 14:49 #

    Happy Birthday Mardi! What a beautiful family, love all the pics! And, I’ll take either version of those dumplings… they both look absolutely yummy!

  26. Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle May 12, 2010 at 14:58 #

    Happy Birthday Mardi…it has been such fun getting to know you both through our Twitter and web adventures. I love the post, your groovy ‘rents and it is amazing how their love of adventure are in you to this day…wouldn’t you rather have that than different hair?

    Hope you have a great day!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite May 13, 2010 at 07:00 #

      Barb – it’s been great to celebrate my birthday with all my new friends!!! And you’re right re: the spirit of adventure rather than the hair!

  27. Dawn@CocinaSavant May 12, 2010 at 15:38 #

    Happy birthday!!!!! What a lovely post! It’s always nice to get to know the bloggers you follow a little better. The dumplings look delicious too, great pictures 🙂 Have a great celebration!

  28. Trix May 12, 2010 at 15:48 #

    Awesome post – your parents were really quite groovy, no lie!! Love the dumplings – no worries about the wrappers! Happy milestone birthday, girlie – and welcome to the club. It doesn’t hurt so bad … once you get used to it. ; )

  29. sippitysup May 12, 2010 at 18:37 #

    Happy Birthday and fabulous pics. I must have those sunglasses… GREG

  30. Geoff May 12, 2010 at 19:17 #

    I’m just a bit concerned at the “vintage” tag given the photos….
    Note to Greg…. you can still get those sunglasses…. I think they were based on what Elvis used to wear. They just coloured the sunlight from memory – there wasn’t too much UV protection.
    Fine English hair… deserves a comment, but I can’t think of one except to say that it sure beats no hair at my age.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite May 13, 2010 at 06:57 #

      Dad – yes, I suppose I will just be thankful for what I have! LOL! And it’s the PHOTOS that are vintage, not the folks in them!!!

  31. k a b l o o e y May 12, 2010 at 20:39 #


    Happy B’Day! And your mom looked so gear and groovy. Yeah, baby.
    And you and your sister were (I’m sure “are”) adorable. Love the red cheekies. Funny, I am an insatiable traveler and we never went much of anywhere, so I subscribe more to the nature than nurture theory of where wanderlust comes from.

  32. Cherrie May 13, 2010 at 00:59 #

    First of all, Happy Birthday! I love yr gentle poached dumplings. They look so moorish

  33. Amanda May 13, 2010 at 08:13 #

    Aw, go on…. post the roly poly pic!!!

  34. Kathy Khamis May 13, 2010 at 09:07 #

    Hope you had a wonderful bday Mardi! All the best!

  35. Andrea@High/Low May 13, 2010 at 11:03 #

    Happy birthday Mardi!! Love both your childhood photos and the yummy dumpling ones!!

  36. Skylar May 13, 2010 at 12:17 #

    What a great post, thanks for sharing all of this. and happy birthday!

  37. Whineaux (Dawn) May 13, 2010 at 12:37 #

    What a great post! Happy Birthday. You dumpling photos are awesome!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite May 14, 2010 at 08:43 #

      Thanks Dawn – the dumplings were fab even if they didn’t look like they were supposed to!!

  38. My Man's Belly May 13, 2010 at 12:55 #

    Happy Birthday Mardi and welcome to the 40’s club!

  39. Gourmantic May 13, 2010 at 23:49 #

    Ooh, I love this retrospective post! And there you are eating sweets from a young age!

    You parents look so hip. Happy Birthday again my lovely twin! 🙂

  40. Casey Angelova May 14, 2010 at 02:59 #

    Happy Birthday! I am very glad you shared some of your personal stories. Your family is indeed quite groovy. I now know that if I am ever to attend a dinner party at your house I will humbling bring whatever you dictate with out any fuss as I too am a control freak at the dinner party. My menu is set and I hate when someone brings something without asking or changes it up last minute. That being said. Your dumplings look great!

  41. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction May 14, 2010 at 10:02 #

    Loved reading this post!! Belated happy birthday (now that I am catching up on my RSS reader for the week)!

  42. mademoiselle délicieuse May 14, 2010 at 21:56 #

    Happy birthday again, Mardi! Really enjoyed reading about your childhood adventures and, yes, your parents look very groovy indeed =)

  43. Agnes May 15, 2010 at 07:57 #

    Happy birthday! Loved the interesting facts and old photos. Very sweet.

  44. Cat May 16, 2010 at 20:05 #

    wow, i LOVE seeing the old photos!!! and yes, where did your red hair go? a certain redhead is not going to believe that you once had red hair. 🙂 glad you had a wonderful birthday – we can’t wait to see you soon to celebrate!

  45. Tami May 16, 2010 at 20:19 #

    Happy belated Birthday Mardi!! I didn’t forget and celebrated by booking myself on a 3-day wine and food cruise out of Brisbane. Three days of heaven, free of mobile, laptop, desktop, hence the belatedness. Hope you had a great day, even if it was mid-week and included work!!

  46. Jo @ secondhelping May 17, 2010 at 18:16 #

    What a wonderful insight into a fellow foodie!

    Your photos (and dumplings!) all look fabulous. It sounds like it was a lovely way to celebrate a big birthday.

  47. Christine@Christine's Recipes May 22, 2010 at 04:28 #

    Belated happy birthday, sweetie. Lovely family photos.
    I’m just back and trying to catch up with all the things I missed.

  48. sts May 29, 2010 at 06:56 #

    You post great posts. Bookmarked !


  1. Round up of International Dumplings Incident Party | Addictive and consuming - May 13, 2010

    […] Mardi – Eat, Live, Travel, Write – It’s my birthday and you’re invited […]

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