What is the difference between a pancake and a crepe, we wondered as we dashed through the rain clutching our cardboard trays with our lunchtime pancakes, and is it to do with the thickness, and what about American pancakes which are very thick, and what about delicious Dutch pancakes with apple and/or bacon?
When we were young we didn’t only have pancakes on pancake day – with lemon and sugar, .but we would have them as pudding after our lunch. Lemon and sugar was what we always had, and it almost shocked me when I realised other families would have pancakes with jam or treacle or even mincemeat – sweet mincemeat that is. Much later, probably when I’d moved to Manchester to do my degree, I discovered there were such things as savoury pancakes – ham, cheese, mince, all sorts of different fillings. I’ve mentioned before that there was a pancake house in Piccadilly Gardens and I always promised myself, as a hard-up student, that when I could afford it, I would treat myself to the cherry delight pancake – no doubt they were tinned cherries in sweet gooey syrup, and they were topped with cream – probably tinned cream, thinking about it now! Needless to say, by the time I could afford cherry pancakes, the pancake house had closed. I remember when we used to have friends round for meals, a favourite thing I cooked was stuffed pancakes in a tomato sauce… would I like them now? Probably not!
So today we had finished our chores and were hurrying back to the car, it was heading towards lunch time and I saw a stall selling pancakes. We stopped and sheltered as best we could under the awning and ordered a maple syrup pancake and a cheese and red onion pancake. The poor, cold young woman in the cheery red hat and apron poured batter onto the two giant circular heated surfaces, using a tool to spread it evenly and making almost completely perfect circles of pancake. We tried to be friendly but she was so clearly chilly and miserable, and no doubt would be standing there all afternoon, that she could barely raise a word in reply.
We took our pancakes and rushed through the rain to eat them in the car… except we couldn’t resist and nibbled as we ran. They really were delicious and as we sat, dry at last, finishing them, we pondered on the difference between a pancake and a crepe, and is it to do with the thickness, and what about American pancakes which are very thick, and what about delicious Dutch pancakes with apple and/or bacon? Pancakes…