Wednesday, 6 April 2011

The day my baking was appreciated by the former Spanish Minister of Defence.

My cakes never turn out exactly how I envision them. But fortunately, cake is cake, and with the amount of sugar that goes into them, it is hard to seriously fail. Perhaps my problem is that I rarely actually follow any sort recipe. But then I never expect my humble attempt at a lemon cake to come under the gaze of anyone famous. Ha.

On my penultimate day in my job here in Madrid, I baked a cake for my colleagues - a lemon cake no less - as a farewell. As is custom, we went down to the cafe beneath our office for our morning coffee break and to cut the cake.

One of the advantages of having an office backing onto the entrance to the Spanish Congress of Deputies is that we often find ourselves sipping coffee next to Spanish politicians and famous journalists... not to mention occasionally crowding round the office window to watch a distinguished guest enter the parliament.

So this morning it just so happened that as we were happily tucking into my cake, who should walk in but ... Bono. Unfortunately no, not the Bono you are thinking of. It was José Bono, the President of the Spanish Congress of Deputies, and also the former Defence Minister, so still, not someone to be sneezed at. He was passing us when he noticed our happy faces and full mouths, smiled, raised his eyebrows at seeing my cake, and stopped to wish us all "buen provecho" (bon appetit). What a proud moment it would have been for my mother had she been there. All those years of letting me help her bake cakes as a child and allowing me to lick the bowl.

I, naturally, had no idea who the distinguished guest was, apart from the slightly awed expressions of my ten colleagues, so was slightly late on the uptake.

A few moments later a band of video cameras and microphones entered, in the pursuit of a young man in jeans, wearing a blindfold and being led by the arm, apparently thoroughly enjoying the experience. Again, I had little idea what was going on, but it turned out this was "El Follonero", the presenter of a popular Spanish news program, about to interview Señor Bono.

Altogether, a rather exciting morning. Perhaps I should bake more often...