I can imagine what it would be like to have been born on February 29th.  Not the actual birth of course, but how a birthdate that only comes around every four years could be celebrated.  There are ways to make up for a day that is actually nonexistent for three out of four years.  Celebrating it on February 28 would work, and then you could carry it into the 29th every four years giving you two full days.  I imagine that is how some leaplings do celebrate their birthday.

I also have heard that some folks celebrate on March 1st.  Well, I am going to give an opinion on that even though I am not the one who is stuck with a leap year birthday—It‘s just plain wrong!  I cannot imagine celebrating a birthday in a month that is not even your birth month.  (I do not include celebrating half birthdays as those are basically the equivalent of receiving a ribbon or trophy for simply participating.)  Celebrating a leap year birthday in March is like living on the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi and saying you live in Minnesota.  You can can’t change when you were born but you can change where you live, so go ahead and move.

What I would do is mix it up each of the three years when there was not a February 29th.  Celebrate the 1st and the 28th.  And then perhaps the 2nd and the 27th one year, and then the 3rd and 26th.  You do the math.  I would stay away from the days around the 14th however.  Combining it with Valentine’s celebrations would make you feel like the folks whose birthday is on or very near Christmas day.  You might start hearing, “This is for both your birthday and Valentine’s day.”  But you could also just take the whole month, what the heck.

Thinking about celebrations naturally makes me think about food.  Any birthday celebration of mine comes with the challenge of deciding what I want to eat.  It can be as crazy as going out for dinner with some friends and family or as unique as having fifty folks over for a fifty-course dinner.  Or anything in between.  But usually it does involve me cooking something.

This year, even tho it’s not my birthday, I am looking forward to celebrating Leap Year with a cooking class preparing the following scrumptious menu with some tongue-and-cheek dishes (for once not literally).

Here’s the menu for my “Hoppy Leap Day” class:

  • Grenouille a la Provençale (frogs legs)
  • Deep South Hoppin’ John with Bacon, Onion and Peppers
  • “Toad in the Hole”
  • Four-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese
  • Carrot Cake Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling

We will leap into preparing the first recipe: Grenouille a la Provençale (sautéed frogs legs with garlic butter), a classic French dish that really is delicious even if you just choose to think about the main ingredient as a delivery device for garlic and lots of butter.  Then we will hop over and prepare Deep South Hoppin’ John with Bacon, Onion and Peppers.  (Even tho Hopping John is a traditional New Year’s Day dish, it just seemed appropriate somehow.)  Jumping “the Pond,” we’ll next make  “Toad in the Hole” –  a classic, homey British dish featuring wonderful local sausage gently browned then baked in a puffy, golden Yorkshire pudding with onion gravy on the side.  Next we‘ll put together a delicious Four-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese that includes some great local hoppy IPA.  (Four is a symbolic number for Leap Year, and everything’s better with a little local beer (and butter!).)  The dinner will finish with the favorite dessert of leaping rabbits everywhere: Carrot Cake Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling.  I hop to see you in class.