May (and April) 2021

April happened, but I can’t remember what I did. Apparently I was too busy to write down what happened. I don’t remember being busy…

I’m just going to write about two days in May for this update. They left me tired and happy. This story includes not one, but two food disasters. What more can you ask for? What’s more, these two days happened in succession.

Thursday was ‘The Home-schoolers Spring Recital.’ There are a lot of home-schooling families at church and they are all very musical. My younger brother and his best-friend are the oldest kids in the group, with me and my sister coming along to help the mums and hang out with the kids. They are always fun events. There were some really impressive acts: recitals, classical piano, violin pieces and even a trumpet piece to rival the sounds of Cairo traffic. I performed some things I had been working on and joined my sister and brother in performing a comedy skit that had the kids and parents alike in giggles.

However, before this point, I was already tired due to the monumental caramel-croquembouche disaster of 2021. This makes it sound dramatic, but it was just sad. We went to the house of our host armed with 100+ profiteroles, three piping bags of crème patisserie, an enormous, handmade croquembouche cone and big ambitions. We became progressively disarmed of our ambitions as 4 sequential batches of caramel failed. During which time we filled the majority of the profiteroles and also squirted some all over the floor.

Eventually the rest of the guests arrived and we raised our white flags, contenting ourselves with making some ganache. Profiteroles plain and simple. People liked them. What can you do? We took home a lot of profiteroles.

Fortunately, we knew that they would get eaten up by the 27 teenagers invited to our home the next day. I’m a helper at our church’s youth group and they wanted some outdoor space for the end of year party. My parents volunteered our beautifully situated house with a strip of overgrown grass where we were able to sit and play mafia and kick a ball around, and the roof where we could sit and eat and pray for one another.

The party was a great success. However, our plan to feed 27 teenagers plus several adults pizza was not without hiccup. The mostly – reliable takeaway ordering app seemed to think our order of 20 pizzas was a joke, and cancelled our order without telling us. We had one of the kids with good Arabic to call the restaurant, but they told us it would take two hours (potentially we should have foreseen needing to order in advance.) So, we phoned a different restaurant who said they could do it. All was well. My dad planned to drive a small group of us down to pick up the pizzas. However, they phoned us to say they were ready earlier than expected, so my dad and I shot off while people were praying. A heroic duo.

These are the events that lead to me, a young British girl with limited Arabic, walking into a Dominos pizza restaurant to pick up 20 pizzas ordered under a very Egyptian male name, and walking out with the help of the cashiers, hoping that the parking space my dad had driven off to find, was reasonably close. Fortunately we exited to find him reversing back up the road towards us. The pizza was very good.

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