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Summer Camp Pizza!

Kid's Pizza Demo Teatriukas | www.myfoododyssey,com

You never know who you’re going to end up sitting beside on a plane. You could be stuck beside some armrest-stealing leg-spreader who doesn’t understand the concept of either deodorant or earphones, or you could get a like-minded soul with whom you can chat effortlessly for the whole journey.

When strike-action grounded many flights in Italy last month, Arūnas was forced to overnight in Naples (yes, my heart bled for him!) and was then rerouted home via Turkey, adding about 10 hours to the flight time. Weary, he boarded the plane in Istanbul, took his seat and waited to see who would sit beside him. Given how the trip had gone so far he was fully expecting a leg-spreader and so was delighted when instead he found himself sitting beside a woman with many shared interests. Among the many things they chatted about she mentioned that she ran summer camps for kids in a small Lithuanian village the far side of Vilnius. Before they was off the plane Arūnas had volunteered to help out for a day of the camp, with him giving a talk about travel and exercise and me doing a pizza demo.

I’ve never done a live demo before but I loved the idea. Kids love pizza and I would keep it short and sweet, hopefully keeping their attention for a few minutes until we got to the good part – where they all got to roll and decorate their own pizza!

The pizza oven heating up.

Yesterday we were up early to make the long drive over to the camp. I made a few batches of dough before we left so that it would have plenty of time to rise in the warm car. We arrived and met the organisers and kids, all a lovely bunch. Arūnas talked about countries he had visited and then we chatted a bit about Ireland (which included a long conversation about the Loch Ness monster!!!) Then we got set up for the demo, slicing veg and meats and grating cheese. The kids settled around the table and listened intently (!) as I showed them how to make the dough and sauce. I deliberately chose to do everything by hand – no fancy electrical equipment – so they’d know they could make it at home even if they only had basic kitchen tools.

I finished by adding sauce and toppings to the pizza, and then attempted to slide it onto the pizza paddle to transfer to the oven. And it wouldn’t budge. I teased and coaxed and gently lifted edges, beads of sweat (partly from exertion, but mostly from panic!) appearing on my brow. Eventually I got it onto the board, albeit a little less pretty than it had been. We popped it in the oven and 90 seconds later – voila! – we had pizza! I cut it into tiny slices so everyone could have a taste. They loved it. Phew!

Me carefully measuring yeast, knowing they’re all listening intently.

The reverse angle. What a wonderful mix of expressions!

I’ll just slide this under in one swift movement …

To avoid a repeat of pizza getting stuck we sprinkled the whole table liberally with flour. The main outcome of this was floury kids! They all happily created their pizzas, some aiming to pack as much on top as possible, others creating artistic designs. All were cooked in the open fire while the kids watched and waited patiently. There were lots of happy faces as they sat down to eat their pizza!

With thanks to Dalia and Žilvinas of Teatruikas for inviting us. For more photos from the day, please see their post here.

Pizza recipe in English: click here.
Pizza recipe in Lithuanian: click here.

Flour joy!

Clever girl, putting on her raincoat to protect from flour!

The result of a floury table!

I think I can fit more on!

Happy faces!

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15 Comments Post a comment
  1. Regina (Razokaite) #

    Your delightful story brings back so many memories of making pizza in Taurage in the summer of 1992…probably the first pizza in Taurage. My mother escaped Lithuania during war in 1940 at the age of 21 and we took her back for the first time to visit her relatives and her homeland at the age of 75. On the flight to Lithuania we changed airplanes in Denmark where we found a lovely meat and cheese shop in the airport. Mother who was a fabulous cook had perfected a delicious pizza recipe and we bought up a good supply of meats and cheese as well as specific ingredients for pizza. She was so excited that she would be able to treat her relatives to a novelty taste treat. We stayed with Mom’s sister and my cousin Zita’s family in Taurage and mother had the opportunity to make lots of pizza when all the relatives came to visit. From then on my cousin Zita started making pizza in Taurage and I recall Mom mailing oregano from Canada to Lithuania. This trip also filled all the yearnings in my heart to hear the beautiful Lithuanian language around me, the history and culture of this exquisite jewel of a country and to look into the familiar faces of all my relatives and see parts of myself reflected. I treasure these sweet memories.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 15, 2017
    • Thank you for your lovely comment, Regina. Gosh – 1992 – I reckon that might have been one of the first pizzas in Lithuania, never mind Taurage! Zita probably could have made a fortune if she’d starting selling them! Lovely to have a recipe passed down like that.


      July 15, 2017
      • Regina (Razokaite) #

        After our visit, Zita did sell pizza among other foods in Taurage. I really enjoy your posts, June, and find your recipes very reliable and your detailed instructions are appreciated.

        Liked by 1 person

        July 18, 2017
  2. Ugne #

    Absolutely wonderful story, great opening, delicious cooking class, fantastic results. Extra flour had its pluses all around. (pizza paddles love semolina)!

    Liked by 1 person

    July 15, 2017
    • Thank you, Ugne! Yes, they loved the flour. I think they loved the idea of being allowed to make a “mess” while cooking. There were no rules – it was their pizza and they could do as they liked. The LOVED that!


      July 15, 2017
  3. What fun for the kids with the bonus of getting something they’d really eat!

    Liked by 1 person

    July 13, 2017
  4. What fun! And all arranged on a fluke airplane encounter. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    July 13, 2017
    • I know! I’m tempted to quote Forest Gump – “Life is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re gonna get” !!!

      Liked by 1 person

      July 13, 2017
  5. Fun was had that day! 🙂 Nice one! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    July 13, 2017
    • Thanks Franck! Even the grown-ups had fun, plus the pizza was yummy! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      July 13, 2017
  6. Tom Tamulevich #

    Hi June,
    A great post. Now tell me that all Lithuanian households have a wood fired pizza oven!! This is something I have dreamed about but never built. Lots of work to build–lots of work to fire.


    Liked by 1 person

    July 13, 2017
    • I don’t think too many modern houses have a pizza oven, Tom, but lots of older houses would have a “duonkepė krosnis” (bread-baking furnace) like this one. They were used to heat the house as well as for cooking bread, kugelis, slow stews, etc. This one actually has a small bed OVER the fire (high up, like a bunk bed) for kids to sleep on, to keep them warm in winter!

      I would love to build one someday, but I imagine I would have to build it outside. Between that and a cold smoker I’ll have an outdoor kitchen!


      July 13, 2017
  7. It’s so great to see the kids getting involved 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    July 13, 2017
    • It was wonderful to watch. They were all so excited to have complete creative control over their own pizza!

      Liked by 1 person

      July 13, 2017
      • I bet. It teaches them to be independent cooks at an early age which is awesome. I always try to get my kids involved in the cooking. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        July 13, 2017

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