I have a weakness for old cooking tools – partly because it’s kind of an anthropological experience to think about how people used to cook and work, and also partly, I’m sure, because you can often pick them up for awesome prices since fads, tastes and practices change pretty regularly.
Crêpe Maker Numéro Un
Despite its tiny, 7 inch head, I was washed with nostalgia when I saw this for $4.00 at a rummage sale* in October. I remembered visiting flea markets in France where their idea of fair food – apart from sausages – included 50¢ crêpes, the batter ladled onto these huge pan heads (not sure the right terminology) at the point of ordering.
Things are definitely hit and miss with this little beastie, but I’ve enjoyed the challenge of pouring the batter out just so and smoothing it into the best shape. Still, there have been some messy and tricky times. I also like that it doesn’t have a non-stick coating since I get touchy about the perceived chemicals involved in those.
… and then the Spouse’s Choice
The spouse doesn’t care much for cooking, but is, however, the one who has a true soft spot for crêpes in our house.
Any solution for his crêpe self-sufficiency would have to be as easy and fuss-free as possible. Pretty much the opposite of trying to artfully coax a runny batter into something like a circle on top of a hot griddle.
He’d had fond-ish childhood memories of using a gadget I’d never heard of (but then, the kitchen I grew up in was pretty light on gadgetry, and I totally had a crêpe-less childhood to begin with): a crêpe maker with a handle that you would dip into a shallow pan of batter.
As I prepared my list of things to look for when the Spring rummage sale came around, he entreated me to see if they had one of these. The rummage didn’t disappoint, and I had my pick of two (also at the $4.00 mark, very consistent, that lot) and went home with the least used of them to present to the spouse. I’m all about empowerment.
Naturally, this sparked a craving in the spouse for crêpes that night. As he was essentially writhing in pain from some recent dental work, it fell to me to use his new crêpe maker.
I used the recipe from the packaging, figuring maybe it had been concocted with the ideal viscosity for the unique demands of the device.
I have to say that I spent the entire time torn: it was super easy. Ridiculously easy, even.
The size is roughly the same as the other crêpe maker, so that’s not a discriminator, though getting a consistent, round shape was effortless because of the dipping technique.
I think I felt cheated of the craftsmanship and mindfulness needed with the tool I’d picked, and still was not at peace with the non-stick head on the spouse’s gadget. Which one I use next time will be driven by how strongly I need to make a perfect circle or how quickly I need to produce them.
(Of course, I could always make them in a pan, but this experience had more to do with nostalgia around specific gadgets.)