When Danielle and Roger left the boat they also left a jammed-packed pantry. Jack and I had our own pantry items, and my sister and I spent days stashing the overflow all over the boat. Over the months we’ve been aboard we’ve eaten all manner of unfamiliar foods, and as we made room in the huge pantry cupboard I moved things from the bedroom drawers and closets into the pantry. And still, four months later, there are tons of packages and cans and packets and jars originally purchased by Danielle and Roger.
Today we discovered that our bread was moldy. No problem, I thought, Danielle left a couple of bags of bread flour. I’ll bake! I dug out one of the packages and turned the bag this way and that looking for the English instructions. There were none. Ok, no problem, I took four years of French in school. How hard could it be?
Hard, apparently. I realized they don’t teach you baking terms in school, and while I could get the gist of the instructions I decided to call in the expert, my sister, who also had four years of French and has a better memory.
I took a photo of the directions. She translated and I followed her instructions step by step.
Ah, but she had gaps, too. We couldn’t figure out why I’d need a robot and where I’d get one.
Word order is different in French so we had a moment where I added ingredients in the wrong order, but we figured with bread it wouldn’t matter much. After a while we abandoned the phone and got our iPads for FaceTime. I propped the bag with the instructions against the iPad and Nancy peered at the screen and puzzled it out word by word. In the background Dave offered to convert the oven temp from Celsius to Fahrenheit.
We giggled through the whole process and we remembered a time years ago when Drew was about 8 or 9 and we were visiting Nancy and Dave. Their friends came for dinner and afterward we all played Clue to amuse Drew, and decided to play in French to amuse the adults. The problem was none of us could remember the word for kitchen–yeah, I know, pretty basic, but we had wine–so we played the whole game calling it “la salle de fromage.”
I managed to get the dough shaped into une belle boule.
“I have belle boules,” I said to Nancy.
“Big ones,” she said.
I let it rise a temperature ambiante and baked it at something similar to 220 degrees C. Nancy and I wished our Mom had been here. She’d have been convulsed with laughter, just like us.