Crepes, Anyone?

Food is our common ground, a universal experience.                          ~ James Beard

For the last year or so I’ve been complaining to my friend Cécile (my partner in crime in all things chocolate) that I can’t make good crepes. Now this isn’t from lack of trying.  I’ve gone through dozens of eggs, bags of flour, and too many recipes, secrets and techniques to count: use a stainless steel bowl, put the bowl in the freezer, blend the mixture, don’t blend the mixture, wait until the bubbles have settled, refrigerate, don’t use a non-stick pan and butter , use a non-stick pan, etc. etc. etc.  I just couldn’t figure out what my problem was.

So every now and again I’d give Cécile a play by play account of my failure as I was eating a mockingly paper-thin crepe.  And then there were other times I’d just give her a “subtle hint” like, Hey, you’re from France; teach me how to make the real thing.  Cécile, being Cécile, suggested that we have a “crepe tutorial” not conducted by her, but by her boyfriend Fabian. After all, he’s the master. After months of anticipation we had a crepe tutorial slash party, not just for us, but for their friends as well.  No pressure, just a bunch of French and Spanish people eating my experiment. Let’s just say they were good sports, each offering up family tips.

So last weekend, armed with my new found confidence, I decided to make crepes.  It didn’t go exactly as planned.  In fact, it was kind of disastrous.  I followed Fabian’s “recipe” which consisted of very loose measurements and approximations.  Keeping in mind that the French say “the first one is for the dog”, I kept my expectations low. The first crepe was pale, but it was thinner than any other I had ever made. Prematurely, I thought I succeeded.  Wrong.  It went from not bad to worse.  All of my crepes went to the dog pound, never mind to the dog!  But as I was making one bad crepe after another, I kept thinking of language; a far jump, right?

Well, it hasn’t escaped my attention that in roughly 6 weeks I’ll throw myself into a totally Spanish speaking world.  My first foray into learning a second language wasn’t exactly the best experience.  I was confused, frustrated and often discouraged.  I couldn’t really grasp the “why” of it.  I over-thought things all of the time.  In short, it was incredibly uncomfortable.  I was hard on myself and thought that I failed on so many levels.  By the way, all of those struggles actually led me on a journey to become an ESL teacher, but that’s another story for another time.

What I realized was my crepe disaster wasn’t a disaster after all , but a reminder (one that I always give to my students) to have the courage to make mistakes, to keep a sense of humor  and most of all, never give up.  And as Juan ate my overly brown crepe/pancake I just thought, “It’s ok, he’s not going to die and somewhere in there is the essence of a crepe”.  And just like my awkward Spanish won’t be perfect, there will be the essence of communication.  I will be misunderstood and people will misunderstand me, but hey, I’ll be trying and hopefully I’ll be laughing along the way.

Buen provecho!

The secrets to success.

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About kimsimard

I'm a Canadian wandering around the world, discovering new food, cultures and friends. I'm currently in the homeland of the love of my life, Venezuela.

7 responses to “Crepes, Anyone?”

  1. Christene says :

    Hope your doing well!!

  2. Christene says :

    Well you know the Saying….

    If at first you don´t success, than TRY and TRY again!!!

    Here in Germany you can buy the Crepe Machines…. Makes it easier to make!!

    But i do know what you mean…
    I Bake aleast one Bread and one Cake a week!!!!
    And if i try out something new and it doesn´t work out …. arrrrrrr
    But i do try it again!!!
    And just cause it doesn´t look sooo GREAT doesn´t mean it doesn´t taste good!!

    sooo Yes sister love.. Don´t give up keep on trying!!!! You will get it someday!!!

  3. cécile says :

    you just need practice!
    or maybe another crêpe tutorial?
    I’ll send you the pics soon by the way 😉

  4. Susie says :

    I wish I could do a nice crep. Never tried it in my life. I enjoy cooking but never thought about making crepes. I will try for sure in my next time OFF of work. After that I will let you know.

  5. Angie says :

    Struggles are so much easier with your friends laughing right beside you! Much love to you sisterlove!

  6. Wendyloo says :

    Being that my mother is” Parisienne”, I completely understand the makings of a great “crepe”…or not. She has shown me numerous times how to make the tasty, rather infamous flat pastry…always by a bunch of flour, 1or 2 eggs(your choice) and milk with a pinch of this and that….hello!!! I need measurements! Anyhow, I try every so often to make them…thinking of my mom every time. Love her passionately, still can’t make a great crepe like my mom can..but I try!

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