Tuesday, 17 February 2015

The Day of the Pancakes

Some pancake related thoughts. For my international readership - you should know that, growing up in England, we only ate pancakes once a year: on Shrove Tuesday. And the only topping we ever had was bottled lemon juice (or occasionally and excitingly a small plastic lemon filled with bottled lemon juice) and sugar. As a child who hated green vegetables and the like, the idea that once a year you were allowed to eat sugar for dinner was immensely appealing.

But travel broadens the mind. On family holidays to France, it quickly became apparent that our neighbours over the channel had pancakes (crepes) pretty much whenever they liked. And not just au citron. They would have them with much more exotic toppings like Nutella - the inventor of which died this week (I like to be topical).

Intercontinental travel broadens the mind still further. I first went to America aged seventeen. Officially half a lifetime ago since my birthday at the beginning of the month. You can do the math(s). My flight from Minneapolis to Denver was cancelled. The airline put me up in a hotel and paid for my breakfast. A tower of pancakes fried in butter with crispy bacon and maple syrup. Literally a tower. A tower has to be taller than it is wide. Good thing the airline bumped me up to First Class because I don't think I would have fitted into Economy after that breakfast.

Perhaps the most important development in the history of the pancake came about five years ago when my friend and sometime housemate manics rehash invented The Wasabi and Maple Syrup Pancake. Quite the experimental chef, I think he can sometimes go a tablespoon of anchovy paste too far, but he really nailed it with this one. I recommend that you all try it this week. Unless you are British of course, in which case you only have four hours before you have to wait a year...