Our South African friends invited us over for Pancake Day. It was a Sunday afternoon, cold and raining.
“In South Africa we make a pancake dinner when it’s raining,” my friend, Christa, explained. When she said pancake she meant crepe. Her husband was in the kitchen making them in a large frying pan. He was flipping them like a pro and I watched as he placed a golden crepe onto a heaping pile of other crepes.
There were various dishes on the dinning room table and Christa explained to my husband, Kevin, and I that she had ground beef, shredded cheese, and béchamel sauce. “You fill your pancake with these ingredients,” Christa said, “and when you’re done eating that, you can fill your pancake with sweet things.” She pointed to an array of dessert items such as vanilla ice cream, strawberries, whipped cream, cinnamon mixed with sugar and spiced apples.
“We told our kids that they had to eat at least one savory pancake before they could make a dessert one,” she told us. Our kids were playing with their kids in the basement. We could hear them shrieking and laughing as they played some Wii game.
“Good thinking,” I said and I looked at Kevin to make sure he was listening. He loves sweets and I could see him being as bad as the kids.
When we were ready to eat and everyone was called to the table, it was complete pandemonium. Everyone asked for things to fill their crepes and passed things around. Some, like me, put all the savory fillings in my crepe but Christa’s daughter only put in cheese and my son left out the béchamel sauce. Christa informed us that we could eat with our forks or our hands. I did a little of both, though it was easier to eat with my hands. The meat, cheese, béchamel sauce filled crepe was delicious and surprisingly filling.
When I was ready for dessert, Christa showed me how they loved to eat the crepes in South Africa. She sprinkled the cinnamon and sugar mixture on the crepe, added a few drops of lemon juice and then rolled the crepe up like a Mexican taquito. It tasted like a cinnamon roll with a bit of a tangy flavor. In the meantime, the kids were piling mountains of ice cream, strawberries and whipped cream on their crepes. They had fun making their own creations.
My family and I decided that the next time there was a rainstorm we were going to have Pancake Day at our house.