Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Crafting of Crêpes . . .

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While strolling with James the other day in the Buttes Chaumont park in northeastern Paris, I was starting to feel a little hungry after about four or five hours of hiking the paths of Père Lachaise Cemetery and the back streets of Belleville, when we got down near the pond in the park and I smelled the unmistakeable odor of crêpes being cooked. Not surprising they could be detected at a distance, given all the vapors they were giving off while being cooked. There was such a long line of people waiting patiently for their late afternoon snack, that I decided simply to take photographs of the crafting of crêpes, and imagine eating one. And I didn't want to spoil my appetite for dinner either. In any case, it was quite enjoyable watching a crêpe artist work her magic in the rising steam. The final product looks tasty ! Grand Marnier anyone ?
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Pendant la promenade l'autre jour avec James dans le parc des Buttes Chaumont, au quartier nord-est de Paris, je commençais à sentir un petit creux, après quatre ou cinq heures de marche aux allées du cimetière Père Lachaise et les rues perdues de Belleville, on arrivait près de l'étang et je sentais d'un coup l'odeur inoubliable des crêpes en train de cuire. Pas surprenant que cela se sentait de loin, vu toutes les vapeurs que cela faisait en cuisant. Il y avait une queue tellement longue de gens qui attendaient patiemment leur encas de fin d'après-midi, que j'ai renoncé à en manger une, et décidé juste de faire des photos. Et je voulais quand même garder mon appetit pour le dîner plus tard. (très sage, n'est-ce pas ?)(ou idiot ?) En tout cas, c'était un plaisir de regarder cette artiste en crêpes faire sa magie dans les vapeurs qui montaient. Le produit final a l'air bien savoureux. Quelqu'un souhaite une goutte de Grand Marnier avec ?
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54 comments:

...louciao... said...

Just as I suspected, the fabrication of crepes is all smoke and mirrors.

Owen said...

Smoke, mirrors, and a little sleight of hand... I could almost see Angelina through the mists...
:-)

...louciao... said...

Next thing you'll be seeing the Virgin Mary in a pancake!

Le Journal de Chrys said...

Avec du Nutella, ça ira parfaitement!!! Beau weekend à toi (et c'est génial le texte en Français!!!)

Amy said...

It's funny how similar these images look to ones I could take at the local place I go for crepes sometimes. They are a favorite of mine, and I enjoy making them at home too. I usually go for a nutella and banana filling. :D

Steve said...

Ah, in one fell swoop you have rendered my breakfast of tea and toast this morning somehow shoddy and sub-standard!

mythopolis said...

How could you resist not grabbing one? You must have great will power!

Laurie said...

Stop it! I'm starving!

the fly in the web said...

Far cry from the Breton widows kneeling in front of their fires making crepes and praying for the souls of their husbands lost at sea, isn't it.

Sar@h said...

9a me donne envie d'en faire … Mais je n'ai pas une aussi belle billig !

Stickup Artist said...

What a wonderful series of shots! Good for her getting out there! My Mom and I sometimes drive into Temecula just to eat crepes. We usually get 2 and split them to get as much tastiness in as possible. I would not have your willpower and easily see myself eating my way through Europe.

PS. Couldn't have agreed with you more regarding your comment about the Tongva Indians!

Catherine said...

love all that steam billowing about!! Greetings from Mexico..

Dedene said...

I understand that making crêpes takes lots of training. I believe one can get a Brevet Professionel in crêpe making (ha ha).

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

J'adore les crêpes... You have incredible strength to resist the wafting odors. I'll have a Nutella and banana one!

Nadege said...

James is very talented.
They have french crepes (yes with Nutella too) at the Torrance (Ca)
open air market.

Nevine said...

Crêpes with Grand Marnier? Yes yes yes!!! Count me in! ;-)

Dear Owen, I'm currently taking a bit of a snooze from blogging... but I did want to stop in and see how things are looking in the Magic Lantern Show. What triggered it, you might be wondering? I was watching "Tom and Viv" last night... and after the film was over I got my terribly worn copy of T.S. Eliot's poems with my shiveringly broken heart in my hands and started to read... of course... with my favorite... The Lovesong... and I remembered that we share an affinity for that poem. And so... there you are.

But what a delightful surprise awaited me here, too. Because I do so love crêpes and especially with Grand Marnier... because the child in me loves to see the flames rise around the crêpe as the Marnier is burning. So, then. Lucky me to have stopped in. Your photos are lovely.

I hope you are enjoying an awesome few days, Owen. Take care.

Nevine

Owen said...

Lynne, Lynne-spiration, but no, mais non, not in the pancake, silly, that would be so mundane, but in the vapors, yes, in the steam, the smoke, the swirling mists of the mystical, yes, indeed, and if you look carefully in the third photo down from the top, you can see a female form clearly in the vapors, I'm quite sure of it, it must be the Virgin herself, making an appearance... what else could it be? Just don't tell the Vatican, or they will be sending some bishop around to call, to verify the veracity of the vision of a virgin in the vapor... (that has a very vivid ring to it, don't you think?)

Well, maybe it's not THE virgin... maybe it's just Angelina, saying Farewell...

Ah, only you Lynne, the one, the inimitable, could imagine seeing the virgin in a pancake. Well, stranger things have happened. I hear there is still quite a debate going on about an image of some guy on a bedsheet. But that's another story entirely...

(no disrespect meant to anyone, living, dead, or purely imagined)

Owen said...

Bonjour Chrys,
Ah, Nutella ? Autant que tu veux ! Mais avec ou sans Grand Marnier ? J'ai un petit faible aussi pour la creme de marron... ça cale...
Bon appetit !
:-)

Owen said...

Hi Amy, will look forward then to seeing where your banana-nutella crêpes come from, sounds good. There are SO many good things to put in crêpes, I sometimes have trouble choosing... sigh...

Have you been travelling, or just taking a little break ? Nice to see you out and about...
:-)

Owen said...

Steve; oh dear, oh dear, not my intention at all... I'm sure you've got some perfectly delicious marmalade on your toast, and a fine cup of Earl Grey to wash it all down with, nothing shoddy or substandard there. How can it be shoddy, there is no way you could keep your wicked wit alive and well and dreaming of carnal knowledge of certain TV cuisine experts were you ingesting anything other than quality comestibles...
:-)

Owen said...

Mythos, oh yes, it took great willpower indeed, James had to drag me away. But I made up for it at dessert...
:-)

Owen said...

Laurie,
One should never come to the blog screen hungry, I finally figured that out, as there are so many blogs that bring up the subject of food from time to time. It was this one that taught me finally to eat BEFORE sitting down to blog :

http://www.aglioolioepeperoncino.com/

Cheers !

Owen said...

Dear Fly,
A very far cry indeed, though I do love sampling the crêpes in a couple of crêperies by the sea in Brittany where some of that may have transpired years ago. There are fewer sailors lost at sea these days I guess... A sobering image you raise though...

Owen said...

Bonsoir Sar@h... cela s'appelle un billig ? Là tu m'apprends un nouveau mot... un mot qui me fait penser bien évidemment au poème : Jabberwocky, qui dit :

Twas brillig and the slithy toves

Je me demande si brillig et billig sont liés quelque part...

Owen said...

Stickup, come on over then, eating one's way across Europe can be an immense pleasure. Even just across Paris... and it doesn't have to cost a fortune. Sounds nice being able to go out for crêpes with your mom from time to time, and to share them... So, you are not always out then searching for ghost towns and desert scenes...

Owen said...

Hi Catherine, the afternoon was just cool enough that steam was swirling in abundance... a good hot crêpe would have hit the spot too, but there was still some light left, so we kept on walking...

Owen said...

Indeed Dedene, indeed, it is a very fine art, not only is a Brevet level of training possible, but even a Master of Arts in Fine Crêpe Crafting. And now it is part of the World Heritage as well...

Owen said...

Ah Genie, you and Amy, so that makes two Nutella & Banana, a Grand Marnier, a plain Nutella, une crème de marron... any other orders out there ?! Enjoy...

Owen said...

Hi Nadege,
So, a good crêpe can be found not too far off then I trust, one should never be too far away from a source of acceptable crêpes.

And I agree with you, James is indeed a talented guy, it was a privilege to meet him, and converse with him, and to see first hand his powers of observation at work. He is EXTREMELY observant... which is a good quality for a photographer to have.

Owen said...

Dear Nevine,
One crêpe au Grand Marnier, coming right up ! Flambée !

I did of course notice you had put an "Out to the Ocean" sign up at your place, and silently wished you well as you enjoy some quiet times far from the madding crowd, as it were. What better company than Prufrock ? Though your shiveringly broken heart concerns me considerably, I trust all is well in your world and this is simply poetic expression bursting to the surface... feel free to drop me an e...

Oh, your crêpe is ready now ! Piping hot...

Virginia said...

OH your photographs are superb! Love the steam. I can almost smell them cooking and of course the Nutella~ :)
V

clo said...

Howdy Owen...
Un post fumant...!!:o)
Ouf ,je vois que je ne suis pas arrivée trop tard..Nous allons peut être pouvoir déguster une crêpe ensemble...c'est pour cela que tu n'as pas encore commandé la tienne..tu ne voulais pas te régaler d'une crêpe grand marnier tout seul...il faut minimum être deux, ou plus pour cela..
quoi?il faut attendre que tout le monde soit là...
mais les crêpes vont refroidir Owen et ça se mange chaud..
j'aime beaucoup l'avant dernière photo..le geste auguste de la marchande de crêpes..quelle adresse..:o)
J’espère que ton weekend parisien s'est bien passé...ici c'est : tous au parapluie...ça tombe a flot depuis hier...Mais on s'adapte...je vais peut être troquer ma voiture contre un zodiaque...plus fonctionnel sans doute..
C'est l'heure d'un autre petit café...avec tes images qui raniment nos âmes d'enfants ça sera un bon départ pour un dimanche maussade...
Je te souhaite une bonne semaine Owen..pleine de bonheurs simples de ceux qui réchauffent les coeurs...
amitiés et gros bisou..

Alberto Oliver said...

Oh my..!1 so delicious, but i can´t figure out how on earth were you able to manage the apetite and just conform your self with looking??
Certainly, i would had approached in such a threatening way, like a feral crepes eating creature to the source of the delicious smell that they had to shot me hehe =)
And i am going right now to look after the Nutella and try to prepare a failed attempt of a crepe for my self ;)
Have a sweet and tasty sunday Owen !!

Elisa said...

I think we are calling them 'muurinpohjalettu' ;) Very good indeed! Have a nice day!

K'line Bloom said...

Bonjour Owen,
Oui, ces photos donnent très envie ;)
Il y a une buvette au bord du lac, au parc, pas loin de chez moi. J'y suis allée très souvent cet été, pour une crêpe nature et un petit café, c'était sympa le samedi matin quand il n'y avait pas trop de monde encore...Et les batailles de pigeons et moineaux pour s'emparer d'une miette ! :/
Les moineaux sont les plus malins et les plus rapides !
Je me souviens d'un jour où je me suis trouvée nez-à-nez avec un pigeon qui me regardait manger, quel moment étrange...
Bises et bonne semaine à venir...

Peter said...

I can feel the smell!

Loulou said...

Grr... Thanks to you (or because of you), I feel like eating some pancakes, but it is 2am in the morning (just came back from travel), fridge is empty (so even if I was brave enough I just can not make any of them)...
See you ;-)
Loulou

The Sagittarian said...

Actually, while you were being all fabulously arty-farty with your camera, I snuck off with that bottle of Grand Marnier.....

Nathalie said...

L'odeur des crêpes a du être une torture !
:-)

Très français, l'auto-restriction "pas avant le repas, ça va te couper l'appétit" - je vois que la grenouille (ou maman toad avant elle) t'a bien élevé ! C'est ainsi qu'on ne devient pas obèse. Mais je sais bien que ce qui t'a arrêté c'est la longueur de la file, pas ta force d'âme !!!

James said...

Just looking at these pictures brings back great memories for me. I wasn't able to capture this scene but you did an excellent job!
I don't think I've downloaded the memory card yet for this phase of our adventure. :)

Owen said...

Hi Virginia,
I'll have a nice hot fresh nutella one ordered up just for you...

Seems to me you took some photos of folks sitting on the benches near there a while back... good place to sit to nibble on a crêpe, while watching the swans and geese on the pond...

Owen said...

Bonjour Clo !
Et oui, il faut les manger chaud, mais bon, il va falloir simplement organiser une réunion par là avec toute la bande des bloggeurs et bloggeuses, et se faire un petit régal de crêpes ! Mmmm, c'est vrai, en fin d'après-midi, cela avait l'air tellement bon, c'est plus que tentant...

Je pense que dans les années à venir, il y aura pas mal de monde qui vont vouloir troquer leur voiture contre un zodiac, ou un canoe, kayak, etc... les mers qui montent, les cieux qui nous arrosent de plus en plus copieusement... et oui, bientôt l'homme va commencer une nouvelle phase d'évolution, l'envers de ce qui s'est passé il y a des millions d'années quand nous sommes sortis de la mer... on va y retourner...

Je te rejoigns pour le petit café, cela tombe bien...

J'étais privé de service internet pendant toute la fin de weekend, il fallait aller aujourd'hui échanger le livebox (qui est devenu un deadbox) contre une nouvelle boite blanche magique, émetteuse d'ondes...

Bon, rester bien au sec et en lieu sûr si ça recommence à flotter des cordes...

Grands bisoux !

Owen said...

Alberto,
I hope your attempted crêpe was not a failure finally, and that you enjoyed a good hot snack with chocolate dripping !

I didn't take a picture of him, but can assure you that there was a man sitting in the back, with a shotgun on his knees, just waiting for a chance to shoot the feral crêpe eating creatures that might try and come steal a freshly fabricated pancake from under the nose of someone who had waited 15 minutes in line...
:-)

A fine week to you good sir...

Owen said...

Hei Elisa,
'muurinpohjalettu' ???

I think Finnish must be a language for people who love to talk even more than French people do, if it takes six syllables to say crêpe... Sure would love to hear how it is pronounced though... I think I will practice on la grenouille... sweetheart, can we have some murrinpohjalettu this afternoon ? She will probably say, "à tes souhaits"... which is what people in France say after someone sneezes... although, it could me, "if that's what you wish"...
:-)

Owen said...

Bonsoir K'line,
C'est sympa ton image là; je vais t'imaginer sur un banc près de la buvette au bord du lac, un nuage de moineaux et pigeons autour, disputant les miettes, et quelques fées vertes aussi qui viennent se poser par tours sur un doigt tenu en l'air, pour gracieusement demander leur part de crêpe, que tu ne sauras pas les refuser. Et oui, avec un petit café; tu vas nous rejoindre, avec Clo, pour la réunion crêpe café à Paris un de ces 4 ?

Bonne soirée K (ça c'est le "K" prononcé à l'anglais, pour faire rhyme avec "soirée"... ok ?
:-)

Owen said...

Hi Peter, indeed, the heady odor of crêpes cooking was palpable in the air, so thick you could almost cut it with a knife... very hard to resist...

Owen said...

Ah Loulou,
One day someone will invent a PC so smart and wonderful that you will be able to just think of any food you would like to eat, and it will appear like magic out of a door on the side of the machine in only a few seconds....

No, maybe that's not such a good idea, if we want people to stay thin...

Well, that will teach you to always keep some crêpe ingredients in your refrigerator... in America some people use a box with pancake mix in it, just need to add some milk to make the "pate"...

And now I'm hungry too... so you are not the only one hungry around here...
:-)

Owen said...

Oh, PS Loulou, where on earth is Arnaud... I asked him for help identifying the dream car in the last post, but he hasn't been around for a while now... hope he's ok, just busy with work I guess...

Owen said...

Ah Saj, I was wondering what that clattering and yelling was all about while I was walking away... Well, obviously you wouldn't have taken the Porto bottle, as clearly it is almost empty. And those metal spouts on the opening are very handy for drinking out of while running away !
:-)

Owen said...

Nathalie !
Tu es carrément clairvoyante je pense... of course it was the line and not my willpower !

Bon, et oui, l'odeur, oooh, l'odeur était pire que les pires inventions de Guantanamo ou de l'inquisition espagnole... j'avais la tête qui tournait, les genous qui me lachaient, c'est positivement miraculeux que je suis échappé avec ces quelques photos...

:-)

Owen said...

Hey James !
What's that ? You haven't emptied all your memory cards yet ? That's always the first thing I do when I get home after a trip, I'm so afraid of losing them...

Indeed, lots of good memories from that day. I'm going to send you an email with some...

Loulou said...

Re Arnaud, he's been travelling and is currently working a lot with a new position, new environment and resources I guess... No recent news so far.
Take care
Have a beautiful day
Loulou

Elisa said...

Hei Owen ;)
I think your france looks me like my finnish looks to you. Just as amazing ;)) Yes, crepe is 'lettu' and when you make it outside (this is what finnish people love to do in summer, of course) it is called muurinpohjalettu. It sounds and even looks here quite mysterious..

Oakland Daily Photo said...

I guess I have pedestrian tastes. My favorites are crepes with sucre or confiture. A chacun son gout...