The school was buzzing with news of the arrival of a group of Italian Exchange Students.
Jasmine had seen them in the playground, and was telling Lucy how fantastic their clothes looked.
‘The girls are just so stylish,’ she gushed. ‘Like the way they wear their scarves, and their bags. We look really dull compared to them.’
‘That’s cos we’re wearing school uniform,’ Lucy pointed out sensibly.
‘Believe me, they’d know how to make even a school uniform look fantastic.’ Jasmine sighed. ‘I bet they come from Milan – the Italian capital of fashion. I wish I could go to Milan. It would just be so amazing!’
Just then, the bell went for the end of breaktime.
‘Well hard luck,’ said Lucy. ‘Cos you’ve got Maths and I’ve got Home Economics, worst luck. See ya later.’
Lucy didn’t rush to her next class. Although she loved cooking, she hated Home Economics. The teacher Miss Morrell was really sarcastic all the time and even though Lucy always tried hard, Miss Morrell was always telling her off . “Lucy – do you HAVE to be so messy all the time. Remember – ‘A Good Cook is an Organised Cook!’” Miss Morrell must have shouted this at Lucy a hundred times, wagging her long red finger in Lucy’s face.
The trouble was, Lucy didn’t even see the mess happening. She’d be too busy cooking, and then all of a sudden, her workstation would look like all her ingredients had suddenly exploded, all over the surfaces and all over her.
Lucy didn’t dare tell Miss Morrell she had opened a cafe. She could imagine the sarcastic comments Miss Morrell would make. Something about poisoning customers and exploding kitchens.
That day, Lucy sloped into class with her head down, hoping Miss Morrell would not notice her. Fortunately, Miss Morrell was already talking to a tall dark haired lady at the front of the class. After what Jasmine what had said that morning, Lucy guessed that this lady was Italian. She was wearing a long brown and green dress and her hair was swept up elegantly on top of her head and tied with a beautiful silk scarf. Lucy hurriedly pushed her own untidy hair behind her ears.
‘People – can I have your attention.’ Miss Morrell banged on her desk with a wooden spoon. ‘This morning, we are very fortunate to have Signora Carvallio with us. She is an teacher at a school in Turin in the north of Italy and is visiting the school with a group of exchange students. She has very kindly agreed to show us how to make authentic Italian pizzas.’
There was a mass cheer from everyone in the class. Miss Morrell usually had them making shepherd’s pies and sponge puddings. Pizza sounded much more exciting.
Signora Carvallio spoke english with a soft italian accent, and as she gently explained how to mix flour with yeast, warm water, honey and olive oil to make pizza dough, Lucy began to day dream about making pizzas and serving them to customers, as they sat out in the Italian sunshine.
She was quickly brought back to earth by Miss Morrell’s squeaky voice ringing in her ears.
‘Unfortunately Signora Carvallio, Lucy is one of our more disorganised pupils, as you can see by the state of her work station.’
Lucy looked, and saw a packet of flour spilling over the other ingredients, while the lids and opened bottles were strewn around the table. Lucy pushed her hair out of her eyes and immediately rubbed flour accross her face.
‘For goodness sake Lucy! What have you been doing!’ Lucy looked in dismay at the mess.
‘It is not a problem, Miss Morrell,’ said Signora Carvallio, smiling at Lucy. ‘A messy cook is a busy cook. I will help Lucy clear this up. It is fine. You go and help the other girls.’
Miss Morrell couldn’t resist giving Lucy one last glare, before stomping off. When she had gone, Signora Carvallio put her arm around Lucy. ‘I think you like to cook, yes?’
Lucy nodded. She couldn’t speak, because she could feel tears welling up in her eyes, and her face was burning.
‘Yes, I can tell. Help me tidy up and then I will show you to cook, as my mamma showed me.’
After tidying the work station, Signora Carvallio helped Lucy measure out all the ingredients she would need for her recipe.
‘A cook is like an artist painting a picture. He arranges the colours on his palette before he begins. So you arrange your ingredients before you start to cook. Measure out your flour, salt, olive oil – everything you need to make your pizza dough. Then you can start to create!’
Very soon, Lucy was kneading the dough that she had created. She couldn’t believe how professional it looked. Signora Carvallio was very impressed.
‘Lucy – you remind me of me when I was a girl. You love to create! I know you will be a wonderful cook.’
At the end of the class, everyone showed off the pizzas they had made. They all smelled and looked delicious, but Lucy’s stood out as being the best. Even Miss Morrell thought so.
‘People – look at how beautifully Lucy has arranged tomato sauce and mozzerella cheese on the top of her pizza. It really does look good enough to eat. It just shows what a bit of discipline and organisation can do, even for the most hopeless cooks.’
Miss Signora smiled at Lucy, and whispered to her ‘You are a wonderful cook – well done, Lucy!’