It's true when they say you don't realize what you have, until it's gone. Nine months and 8,678 miles from New Jersey got me thinking how much I missed a cheesy slice of pizza. Without access to an oven and the only cheese available being La Vache Qui Rit, making a pizza anywhere near the pizza-standards I'm used to was out of the question. Regardless, pizza became my mission and I was determined to make it happen. So an ordinary Saturday turned into an impromptu cooking class. On the menu: Pizza.
Most of my neighbors had never heard of pizza (pizza is available in the cities and larger towns of Madagascar, but that's it) so the first step was explaining what it is made of and the ingredients necessary. After drawing a picture of a pizza and practicing saying it a few times (it was a tough word with new sounds!), we headed to the market. We bought fresh milk (that we needed to boil) for the dough and fresh onions, garlic, and tomatoes. I picked up some green peppers from the town nearby, the day before. At a local epicerie, we bought a few triangles of La Vache Qui Rit and some cans of tomato paste.
After collecting all of our ingredients, we got started on the dough, built a fire on my charcoal stove and chopped up our veggies. After cooking the dough inside of my DIY oven for 20 minutes or so, we added on the sauce and toppings. The final product resembled a pizza, so I was afa-po, satisfied, and happy to share a slice of American culture with my neighbors.
"Matsiro!" Delicious! I heard after they indulged in pizza for their first time. Needless to say, pizza was warmly welcomed in Ambondro!