Las Madrinas de la pastel

A few weeks ago, Antonio told me that February 27 would be his son Pedro’s first birthday and also the day of Pedro’s baptism. I immediately emailed my landlady, Nonie, in Canada and told her of the event which was soon approaching. I explained that I wanted to contribute something to the Big Day and asked if she would care to join me.

“Of course!”, she replied, as I had known she would.

After all, Antonio and Ramon had done all the improvements on Nonie’s house, which I now inhabit for a year.  And she, like me, is just crazy about Antonio.

Nonie and I emailed back and forth and finally decided that the one thing that Antonio would like and which Pedro would benefit from was money.  Antonio was going to have to put on a big party for his little boy, and that takes cash.  At the age of one, my own son was just as happy playing with cardboard boxes and pots and pans as he was playing with toys, so spending an inordinate amount of money for a toy just seemed impractical to us both.

So cash it was and that Wednesday, I handed the money to Antonio and explained that this was our gift to Pedro, to be used for his party.  A week later, Antonio mentioned to me that he would be using our gift to help pay for the pig he intended to buy.  Since Nonie and I are both “traditionally built women,” to use the phrase of a favorite author of both Nonie and I, McCall Smith, in his series about the “No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency,” I commented to Antonio that that seemed exceedingly appropriate, since Pedro’s guests could see the pig and think of us.

But sometimes humor just doesn’t cross linguistic borders. 

The following Saturday, when Antonio returned, he said that instead of using the money for the pig, our gift would go toward purchasing the cake for the party.  And that therefore Nonie and I would become las madrinas de la pastel [the godmothers of the cake].  How fitting, I told Antonio, that Nonie and I would henceforth be known for our sweetness.  And, this time, Antonio agreed.  [Bite your tongues, those of you who know either Nonie or I, we ARE sweet, damn it!  Don’t make me come over there and smack you with my chancla!  Which is the next word in your Spanish vocabulary lesson.]

Antonio also explained to me that instead of purchasing the cake from a local bakery, he would be ordering a made to order cake from the mother of a friend of his.  And knowing that he had a large guest list, I figured he would be getting the equivalent of a large sheet cake.  You know, the kind that they serve small squares of at your local buffet.

So I was shocked and amazed when I attended Pedro’s party and found the cake shown in the photo at the top of this post.  It was huge!  Only two layers, but each layer was three or four inches tall.  And it was delicious.  Light, moist cake, and sinfully sweet frosting.  Just the type of cake that I would like to be if I were a cake! 

While I doubt that Pedro will remember anything about his birthday/baptism party, I am gonna sit back for a few days and revel in my status as one of the madrinas of the cake!

Here’s a photo of Pedro making the first cut, untied shoelace, dangling rosary, baptism suit and all:

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About Barbara

in april of 2008, i moved from the united states to mexico. during my working days, i held lots and lots of jobs....almost all chosen because they were fun or interesting instead of how much they paid. when i started thinking about retirement (in my 40s), i realized that i would never be able to retire to a country where english was the native language. and although i had traveled to every state in the US -- and lived in lots of them -- i had never been outside the country with the exception of canada and mexico. and since you now know that i could never afford to retire in canada (even to the french-speaking area), mexico won by default.
This entry was posted in Food, Fun Stuff, Lake Chapala. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Las Madrinas de la pastel

  1. Dominique says:

    That cake looked Awesome!! I am glad you are the “Godmother” of the cake and not the pig! Although I do like them both!! How exciting!! The decorations looked amazing. Did you get a goodie bag? They looked fun!

  2. Barbara says:

    i DID get a goodie bag! filled with dulces! the bags are very cool. made of some rubber feeling material…..no, no, no, not THAT kind of rubber, you dirty minded thing you!

  3. Excellent story Doña Dulce Puerco!

    That was some cake! I am sure that Pedro’s esteem in the neighborhood went way up with his muchachos amigos. Isn’t it great to share in the lives of another culture?

    Miguelito El Cojo
    Jocotepec

    • Barbara says:

      mike, this was my first mexican party/fiesta after having lived here for almost three years. and it was GREAT! one of the things i loved the best was the fact that antonio’s family handed out religious “commemoratives” of pedro’s baptism and birthday. so although the beer flowed freely and there was so much puerco for everyone, we each got something to remember what the event was all about.

  4. Gigi says:

    Pedro’s lucky, and his parents are smart! He’ll get to wear that church outfit for a while, based on the length of the sleeves!

  5. Karen says:

    What a joyous party! And I think you have a new book title: “Sometimes humor doesn’t cross linguistic barriers.” Kind of like the blood/brain barrier?

  6. Joe H says:

    Ha ha! One of the examples in the Urban Dictionary as a use of “chancla” is “Run!! Mom’s drunk and she’s got the chancla!!”

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=chancla

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