Monday, July 25, 2005

Mallorcan dinner for a Dozen People


Geoff just arrived to cook dinner tonight for the ten or so people who inhabit the house here in Mallorca. At the time of his arrival, I was in the kitchen preparing a homemade extract of orange oil by immersing minced orange peel in vodka. I had planned to make a poundcake tonight, the old fashioned way....mixing with whisk. As it turns out, Geoff is going to be in the kitchen for a while which gives the heat of the day and of his cooking more of a chance to soften the butter and cream cheese...all the better for whisking. It also allows me to rest a bit more, prolonging my foray into international baking until the cooler hours of the evening.

I sat in on a production meeting today with the editors of the project and later sat with Jamie as he worked through the editing into segments of an interview. Halfway through, we ended up taking a break, so I caught up on laundry and then assisted Duncan on a shopping trip for food for the house. We had two full carts of food at the end, and loaded the van for the trip back home. As we drove in, the mountains around the house were shrouded in mist and there were small gusts of cool wind that promised rain....still it never came and the humidity and heat were quite unbearable.

When time came to check the status of cooking and to make some effort toward dessert, I joined Geoff in the kitchen. As he is working as a catering chef in Mallorca, he knew the temperature setting of the oven that I needed and set it to preheat as I blended together butter, cream cheese, eggs, sugar, flower, baking powder and cinnamon, along with the zest of the orange that I had soaked in vodka. We chatted a bit while he and I prepared the food. I learned that he is Mallorcan, of British descent and that he is a pretty cool fellow to chat with. When he finised his cooking, he left for other responsibilities.

The search for a proper pan revealed that I would have to bake in a typical iron cassoulet, or roasting pan, and that my cake would be more like an oval sheetcake than a traditional bundt or tube pan pound cake. After greasing and flowering the pan and after pouring the batter into it, I placed the cake in the oven and went outside into the humid night to join the ten or so people who were either visiting or staying here. We ate a delicious meal of couscous, and a sort of ratatouille, along with a green salad.

After awhile, the smell of the cake began to waft out into the kitchen, leading a few of the other guests to question if the cake was nearly finished cooking. When I checked on it, I found it had formed a crust, but underneath, there was a bubbling pudding that didn't appear to be cooking properly. I was not at all confident that it would turn out well, but closed the oven door with hope that it would.

About half an hour later, I came back to find that the cake had cooked to perfection and served it hot from the oven. There were many here who praised the cake and some who scoffed slightly at the potential risk to their bodies or their diets, but I think they all partook and enjoyed my contribution to the group dinner. I think I have said before that love can do many things, including making your cooking turn out well. The love of these people who offer me haven has made another wonderful meal.


After dinner, I was able to hear some of the music that has been recorded and to watch a part of my interview. It took me back to January and to New Orleans and to the intense emotions that I felt while being there. I could hear my voice hovering above a sob as I spoke, and was quite unable to speak from emotion as I stood there watching myself on film.

With my first successful poundcake preparation in a foreign land, the joy and celebration of music, and the camraderie of these friends, I have found my way to that feeling of "home" again.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Van! said...

I have gas!

7/25/2005 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger Ron Hudson said...

Sorry to hear that. Try simethicone.

7/26/2005 03:36:00 AM  
Blogger Laurie said...

I. need. poundcake. now.

8/04/2005 07:15:00 PM  

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