Instead of the traditional birthday cake, little Matthew celebrated his first birthday with all the iconic foods of Philadelphia.
I was born and raised in the City of Brotherly Love, so I know all about how obsessive Philadelphians can get when it comes to our favorite local foods. After all, my husband and I recently bestowed the guests at our daughter's Bat Mitzvah with soft pretzels and cheesesteaks. Because Philly pride, yo!
So when I saw the adorable pictures floating around Facebook of a little dude named Matthew's epic Philly-themed food smash in honor of his first birthday, I just had to find out more.
First things first, check this cool guy out:
Way to represent! Of course, if you're not from Philly, you may not understand exactly how iconic this spread is, so lemme me get you up to speed.
What you're looking at here is a cherry water ice from Rita's, cannolis from Termini Bros, butterscotch krimpets from Tastykake, Wawa soft pretzels, and—the piece de resistance—a big ol' steak sandwich from Pat's.
Because apparently you're never too young to choose a side in the great Philly cheesesteak debate.
According to Jamie Siever, the Philly photg behind these amazing images, the idea for the theme came from Matthew's mom Lauren. Sure, it's a little messy, but that's all just part of the first b-day smash fun. Which is why we weren't the least bit dismayed when Siever told us Matthew ended up with cannoli cream in his hair and water ice on his arms and legs!
"He wound up taking a bath in my studio sink," she said. "I wish we'd photographed that part."
So do we! Though this close-up of him chomping on a pretzel is pretty awesome, too:
In the end, though, Matthew was all "take the cheeseteaks, leave the cannolis," because the only thing he actually liked was the cream inside!
"The water ice was much too cold!" Siever told us. "He kept sticking his hands in it and then crying. The soft pretzel was not nearly soft enough. The cheesesteak was too much for a baby!"
Hmm. Maybe they should have thrown a tub of Philadelphia Cream Cheese into the mix?
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Of course, Matthew's dad was only too happy to help with the leftovers. And who knows—maybe by the time his second birthday rolls around, the little guy's palate will have matured enough to appreciate another iconic Philly food—Chickie's and Pete's crab fries, which are one of Siever's faves. Here's hoping this actually happens and we get to see that cute face covered in Old Bay!
Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and mom of two who writes about parenting and pop culture. Check out her website holleeactmanbecker.com for more, and then follow her on Instagram and Twitter.