ClubHop: Crêpes With FCS!
Written by Lila Etter
Last week, we sent Bwoggers Jessa Nootbaar and Jennifer Nugent to cover the CU Vegan Society’s second meeting of the semester. In keeping with Bwog’s tradition of foodie ClubHops (second culinary club of the spring semester and going strong!!), this week we’ve decided to go abroad: to France. Columbia University French Cultural Society invited us to learn how to make – and then, more importantly, eat – our very own crêpes. How could we refuse? Daily Editor Lila Etter got the chance to check out the club – and the crêpes. You may have missed the event, but hopefully the skills she picked up can help you make some crêpes of your own.
On Friday afternoon, after a long day of sleeping in and no classes, I really deserved a break. Lucky for me, I had been promised a real treat. The Facebook page proclaimed:
“Valentine’s Day sucks and you want lots of cheese and Nutella this Friday. Alternatively, you don’t know what to do with bae, so you take them to this romantic French crêpe workshop and win points. Learn more about one of the most famous culinary traditions of Brittany by joining us on Friday this week to make your own delicious savory and sweet crêpes. We will feature two French families’ signature recipes and have a variety of toppings for you to choose from, including ham and (of course) cheese for the savory crêpes and bananas, nutella, and jam for the sweet ones—and, of course, cider to go with the fruits of your labor and conversation with your fellow workshop-goers.”
My mouth was watering as I walked over to EC. I didn’t know exactly what I was getting myself into; I really just hoped it would involve free French food.
I was not disappointed. The event took place in the EC suite belonging to Yvonne Hsiao, a senior and the President of FCS. A History major in CC, Yvonne studied for a year and a half in Paris at Le Cordon Bleu, Sorbonne, and HEC Paris Business School. She then introduced her fellow members of the board, and they explained their connections to France. Nicole Sinno, a junior and Vice President of the club, studied abroad in Aix en Provence. Charles du Passage, the Treasurer, is an international student from Paris in the process of completing a dual-degree program with Columbia. Secretary Angela Qiao has been studying French for seven years and loves the cuisine.
Last but certainly not least, Pierre Suignard is another member of the club. His “leadership position” was a little different: he was responsible for making the crepes, seeing as he was the only one who seemed to know how. “My parents are French,” he said. “That’s my only link to France.” The other members quickly corrected him, saying the real connection that mattered is the Suignard family recipe, which makes 30 crêpes and has been copied to the letter below:
- 500 to 600 grams of flour
- 1 can of light beer or pale ale. Keystone, Budweiser, Natty Ice … :-)
- 6 to 8 eggs
- 3 cups of milk
- Whisk eggs together in bowl.
- Measure out the milk, whisk together with half of the beer, and combine with eggs. Reserve other half of beer in can.
- Measure out 200 grams of flour and combine with a little bit of liquid. Slowly add the rest of the liquid ingredients.
- Fold in the rest of the flour bit by bit and whisk until smooth.
- Pass through sieve.
- Add milk to residue in sieve and continue pushing mixture through.
- Let the mixture sit overnight in fridge.
- The next day, mix well and add the rest of the beer and more milk if necessary until the mixture is very runny.
After the introductions were made, we all stood around the island in the kitchen and watched as Pierre made a pile of crêpes. Some of us joined Nicole in de-stemming the basil and preparing other fillings and toppings. A plethora was available to us. For the savory crêpes, we had asparagus, ham, mushrooms, basil, miso glaze, and three different types of cheese. The sweet crêpes were adorned with blueberries, bananas, whipped cream, Nutella (obviously), and strawberry jam.
We did a quick icebreaker to see who would try their hand first, and we learned some trivia about the history of crêpe-making. Yvonne told us one of the traditions of the practice: When cooking your crepes in the frying pan, hold a coin in one hand and flip the crêpe with the other. This will ensure happiness and richness all year. For our purposes, we used a penny. Hopefully it still had the same effect.
Next we got a live demonstration from Pierre. Some tips from the chef?
- Super runny batter is necessary
- When you think you’ve put enough milk in, add a little more
- Spin the pan until the batter stops running
- The secret ingredient is (unsurprisingly) butter
The next hour was filled with each and every person attempting the flip, eating, and socializing in English and in French. Everyone was so friendly and inclusive (not at all like the Parisians – no shade). Many people had arrived directly from Friday classes, or just after turning in assignments, and the club seemed like the perfect chance to relax and spend time with good friends and good food.
If you’d like to participate in future events, have no fear. You can still join in the club! Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to join the listserv. And be sure to like their Facebook page to find out about upcoming events, such as the Pastry Crawl that’s in the works.
We couldn’t possibly make that via Jbdrm/CC-BY-SA-3.0