Fluffy or crêpe: in defence of crêpes
Harry Craig provides a compelling argument for the superiority of the French-style crêpe over the American-style fluffy pancake.
As a French citizen, it is of course my patriotic duty to defend the superior form of pancake: crêpes. This variety, dating back to 472 CE, has considerably more history and heritage not just than the American-style pancake, but the entire country of America, which can only trace its history back to 1776.
Crêpes are much more versatile, too, even if savoury galettes can arouse confusion on this side of the Channel. Almost anything can be used to fill a crêpe — jam, lemon & sugar, Nutella, peanut butter, banana, berries, syrup, honey, whipped cream. Indeed, the choice of filling can create much debate and controversy in itself, before you even consider potential savoury fillings; ham, egg and cheese can turn a sweet dessert into a savoury main course.
Crêpes are much more versatile, too, even if savoury galettes can arouse confusion on this side of the Channel.
I also find the batter for crêpes lighter and less bloating, which provides scope to enjoy more pancakes with a greater range of toppings. My favourite trio is starting with classic lemon & sugar, then raspberry jam, and finishing with a personal creation I’m particularly proud of — recreating Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups in a crêpe by combining Nutella and peanut butter.
Crêpes may be slightly more challenging to cook (albeit not if you are raised by a French mother with a dedicated crêpe pan), but they offer a quintessential Shrove Tuesday opportunity that American pancakes simply can’t — the flipping. Whether with friends or family, it is always fun to turn it into a competition, with the added risk of having to use a broom handle to retrieve crêpes that get stuck to the ceiling.
Whether with friends or family, it is always fun to turn it into a competition, with the added risk of having to use a broom handle to retrieve crêpes that get stuck to the ceiling.
France and America may have a history of conviviality and friendship, but when it comes to pancakes, it is all-out war, and there can only be one winner: the French crêpe. It offers the perfect combination of versatility, flavour and lightness to enjoy Shrove Tuesday to the maximum. Bon appétit!