The most important part of being an au pair is the bond with the children. If you don’t bond, you are doomed (as they told me when I arrived here – not terrifying in the slightest). I therefore set about plotting how best to win over the fickle hearts of my 13 and 9 year-old girls. Being a domestic goddess (haha), I of course thought it would be a great idea to persuade them to like me by showing them my awesome skills at PIZZA MAKING!!!
In preparation for our pizza party, I carefully wrote out a beautiful recipe in English for the girls to follow (#englishlessonsmadefun). I decorated it with a lovely drawing of a pizza and it was perfect! I warned Sonia (the mother) in advance and she said that it would be fine. I wrote the shopping list for the things we would need. The day of the pizza party arrived and everything was set to go!
Catastrophe Number 1:
Upon checking all the ingredients, I discovered that the ‘yeast’ Sonia had in the house was actually baking powder. Helpfully, the word in Spanish for both is the same…… Not knowing where I would be able to buy any yeast within the next 15 minutes, I quickly set about panic-googling non-yeast/baking powder pizza dough recipes. Thank the Lord for Google! It turns out that it is actually quite common to make pizza dough with baking powder! (Something we can thank the Vegans for, surprisingly.) Crisis number 1 averted – although my beautiful recipe was now useless. Oh well, it could be a memento of the occasion!
Catastrophe Number 2:
Maria’s friend came to play and so suddenly I had three girls wanting to make pizza. Obviously, I just pretended it was no big deal and threw an extra random amount of flour into the bowl. My careful translation of cups into grams was therefore also rendered fairly pointless as I had just altered the measurements completely. Fingers crossed that it would still work…….especially as the flour looked quite old and I really wasn’t convinced about the whole baking-powder-instead-of-yeast thing. (Never trust a Vegan.) No worries, we ploughed on through, and the finished ‘dough’ did look vaguely how it was supposed to.
Catastrophe Number 3:
THERE WERE NO BAKING TRAYS!!!!! Okay, so there was the one that you always get in an oven. But that was it. Upon asking Sonia if she had any, I was met with blank confusement – Why would she have one? There was no need. She never used one anyway…..Helpful. She also then began a monologue of why the girls should just make one large pizza all together instead of one individually as I had planned, as she DID have a large plate that she normally used for pizza. Oh thanks! It’s not like I can put a ceramic plate in the oven is it? She would probably kill me. I could tell she was becoming more and more sceptical. I told her I would think of something and she shrugged her shoulders and wandered off in a ‘we’ll see how this goes’ smug kind of way. After some snooping in the cupboards I discovered a small roasting tray which we could use for one pizza and a silicon tart case that we could probably use for another. The other two I would put on the oven roasting tray. We made the pizzas, put them onto the various trays and everything seemed to be going about OK as could be expected. Sonia of course chose this moment to walk in (I had been hoping that I could get the pizzas in and out of the oven without her seeing my embarrassing attempt at baking trays). Not surprisingly, she wasn’t impressed. However, I promised that I would wash the trays very thoroughly when we were done, and also that I always did it like this in my house and it always worked! (LIES. ALL LIES.) And then I shoved them in the oven before she could say anything else, praying that they wouldn’t burn and I wouldn’t have to acknowledge my failures at pizza making.
The next 20 minutes were very tense. I opened the oven every 5 minutes to attack the pizzas with a spatula to check that they weren’t sticking and getting very hot and frazzled in the process as the oven was boiling. I, rushing around like a mad thing trying to ensure that the girls didn’t throw tomato on the floor, themselves, me, each other, etc, while also trying to keep the kitchen clean so as not to enrage demon-OCD-mother Sonia, was also by this point boiling and probably quite red in the face….
The moment of truth: I took the pizzas out of the oven. Miraculously, they all came off their baking tray successfully and there was only a minimal amount of burnt cheese for me to wrestle with later. Admittedly, I thought the pizza was a little bland, and certainly the dough was a bit carboardy around the edges – but it was definitely no worse than the pre-packaged plastic pizza the girls ate last week. Everyone seemed to have fun making them (excluding Sonia and I perhaps) and they ate every last bit, so it must have been fairly decent! (It was hard to tell though as they kept saying things that I didn’t catch in Spanish, which could easily of been “Ew this is gross” or “It tastes like rubber” or even “Quick – distract her while I put this in the plant pot”….We will never know.)
I have now washed and restored the entire kitchen in fear of Sonia’s wrath, and then also thoroughly washed and restored myself to get rid of the flour and bits of cheese that had found their way into my hair, and worryingly, my underwear. Stressful? Yes. Succesful? It’s hard to tell. The pizza was edible and the girls were still smiling at the end of it. Whether or not I have won their hearts remains to be seen…..
Hasta luego until the next catastrophe!