One thing I'll always regret is not going out for crepes with my friend Kelly when we were younger, single, and I didn't need a babysitter to take a road-trip. She gave me her extremely comfortable couch once and we were hoping to go out for crepes the next morning to a place she knew of. Unfortunately I slept in, and I say it was unfortunate, because Kelly has excellent taste. Ever since I've had the desire to learn how to make a decent crepe, or at least something that resembles a crepe. I began last summer. Then we moved to the Czech Republic where I learned to cook on the nuclear reactor, and ate Palacinky. Tangent ahead!
The one vegetarian dish I could always order at a restaurant was fried cheese & fried potatoes. Most restaurants offered one or two of the following vegetarian options as well, and these are direct quotes translated from Czech to English by Czech menu writers...Pizza (ketchup with cheese), Mixed Vegetable (fried cauliflower or broccoli), or Omelet or Pancake. It's the translation of Omelet that still has me confused. Okay, so crepe is French, yes? France is in Europe too, just a couple countries away from the Czech Republic. Crepes are very popular in the Czech Republic, available even in fast food stands throughout Prague, they are called Palacinky. So when I ordered Omelet or Pancake in restaurants I was often served crepes. Yey, except when you expect a big fat cheesy scrambled egg & get a thin dry crepe topped with a sprinkle of tasteless cheese and fruit the mouth stops watering, the beer hangover commences. Then when you learn this and order an omelet on purpose to get a crepe the tastebuds go through another shocker to find a fat eggy mass of mushroom, scallion, and cheese coming at them. It was always a crapshoot. I couldn't even go off of the context clues, like fruit in my scrambled egg, no...I won't go into some of the grosser combinations of vegetarian fare I ingested while dining out. It's not a veggie country. Sometimes I got really excellent crepes filled with fruit, cream and chocolate sauce and sometimes I got good ole fashioned greasy spoon eggs and cheese until I learned to ignore the English translated menu & learned to look for palacinky in the Czech one. Even in Prague. I won't admit to the date that I learned this, because it was really way too long after my arrival. So my question is, can't someone in the Czech restaurant biz figure this out? I mean they serve Coke Cola, so I'm sure there's people who know enough to translate one of the countries top foods correctly into the English version, right? They don't even have to use an English word, it's French. Maybe this is my million dollar idea. I know I sound like a spoiled American brat here, but really if you were to offer an English menu, wouldn't you check in with someone who speaks English once in a while or am I off base. Are crepes called omlets and pancakes in Australia and England? I actually preferred translating the Czech menus myself, since there was always much more available that way & I learned more, but the servers HATED it when we did that. Guess we were too slow and wound up buying more beer that way... Don't even get me started on Czech customer service rituals.
So anyway on Sunday I snuck into the kitchen and made some peach/mango filled crepes on an average American stove. Not my best attempt since the nuclear reactor has evidently burnt (sorry) its impression on my cooking hand. Someday I'll be able to pull off a perfect crepe from whatever pan & stove I'm handed & maybe Kelly will be able to join me.