When I was little I played with dolls and made mud cakes, like any other girl my age.
I had a ballerina doll that looked like a Barbie but wasn’t actually a Barbie. She was Nadia, a name she got because of her gymnast-like, very slender body. Unlike gymnasts, she also had boobs but that was a slight detail and I was willing to let it slide. Plus I was seven, boobs were something I did not understand the purpose off.
The thing I loved the most was making clothes for Nadia. My main fabric supplier was my Grandma, a seamstress with a knack for indulging her granddaughter’s craziest whims.
This meant my Nadia had a little basket full of clothes, a wardrobe probably ten times larger than my own. Mini skirts, maxi skirts, pants, capris, blouses, shirts and even a long winter coat which my Grandma made. Nadia was more pampered than a spinster’s poodle. She also got her hair trimmed once but when her hairdresser [read I] realized that nope, the hair is definitely not growing back it was decided that it would be the first and last haircut.
Nadia had a best friend called Sonia, a doll belonging to one of my childhood friends.
Every summer day my sister and I would wake up, and go straight to my Grandma’s. Once there we took a blanket, our dolls, and went outside where our friend from next door would join us. Along with our dolls came not only their vast wardrobes, but also furniture and some pink&white kitchenware, little girl style.
We laid the blanket down on the small concrete slabs leading to the garden, arranged the furniture, the little armoire, the bed and the tiny table, we dressed the dolls in their PJs and put them to sleep. Shhh! They had a slumber party the other night and now they’re taking a nap.
In the meantime we went to the local market. And by local I mean the bushes in the garden, the trees lining the sidewalk, or Grandma’s horseradish plants. We picked up leaves that became the bread, flower buds that were long and pointy and thus became pink exotic fish, we picked some weird fruit from trees that looked like miniature peppers and many others depending on the crop that year and our imagination.
We also made cakes. Mud cakes of course. We only used a special kind of mud, without pebbles, that mixed well with water forming a dough-like melange. Just like renown bakers who hand pick the best ingredients for their pastry. We put this dough in a little pot, let it set for a while then turned it and voila! A culinary masterpiece. And of course we could not just have a simple chocolate cake, we had to decorate it somehow. So we used colored chalk grinded into a fine powder which we sprinkled on our gateau au chocolat making it look so yummy that we would have eaten it ourselves had we not known that was the last thing we wanted to taste. Well maybe a close second to dog poo. My apologies for grossing you out.
So our Nadia&Sonia had a true Cordon Bleu-worthy, carefully prepared meal waiting for them each day. But alas they would never get the chance to taste any of the delicious entrees, main courses or desserts because by the time we’d finish preparing all this it was time for us to have lunch. Real lunch that is, with real food, not with possibly poisonous or at least bad-tasting plants.
At 12 o’clock Grandma would look out the window, smile at us lovingly and say “Time for lunch, girls”. “Five more minutes, please, please, please” we would plead. And she’d grant us five more minutes although these five minutes were an eternity to Grandpa who would have to resist the delicious aroma of Grandma’s soup, stew and roasted tomatoes that tickled his nostrils.
We had to surrender to those aromas ourselves and our growling stomachs would finally get the best of us. So we’d pick up our toys, say goodbye to our friend, knowing that the next day we would get to do it all over again.