For the Sweet Tooth: Old School Crêpes

October 01, 2019

For the Sweet Tooth: Old School Crêpes. Read it on www.itsalamb.com #Travel #Food #Lubumbashi #DemocraticRepublicofCongo

I was in Lubumbashi (a major city in the Democratic Republic of Congo) this summer where I got a great chance to get back to my roots. It was a trip full of firsts! It was my first time meeting my grandmother and many, many of my beloved cousins. It was my first time having a dog (well, three to be exact). And it was my first time going anywhere in Africa. We stayed for a little over a month, and throughout our stay, we had a variety of big and small adventures, that both taught me a lot about life, and myself.

Our stay in Lubumbashi taught me a lot about patience, creativity, and improvisation. Coincidentally, those are the very same characteristics required for baking. The city is probably the antonym of the term "reliable electricity", in fact, it is essentially synonymous with "power cuts". But no matter where I am, the baking bug cannot be squashed. I was determined to make the best of it, and so I have learned how to bake on-the-fly, by trusting my instincts, using a little scientific logic, having an adventurous spirit (and an empty stomach) determined to create whatever the desired food happened to be. 

For the Sweet Tooth: Old School Crêpes. Read it on www.itsalamb.com #Travel #Food #Lubumbashi #DemocraticRepublicofCongo


A few days after arrival, my desired food turned out to be crêpes. And so, one morning, I woke up completely determined to make them. The electricity woke up to and decided that it was going to take a day, and so, lo and behold we were out of power. The solution was simple. I would have to rely on the old school method of pure fire, an old school charcoal grill (Makala in Swahili), and my own stamina (I was pretty hungry at that point, and refused to eat anything but crêpes) to make them. I am sure that both the grill masters and crêpes legends of yesteryear, were rolling around in their graves as I poured the first bit of batter in the pan. But who cares. They were great! It took forever (so long in fact that I never did end up having breakfast, we ended up eating them for late lunch, but nevertheless, mission accomplished), but they were very good. Overall, it was a lot of fun too because I learned a new skill, and I finally got to bake for my grandma and family--I know that they enjoyed them very much (although they did hope that I would be a bit faster next time, oops).

Here is a short list of other things I baked with substitutions:
  • Sugar cookies without eggs
    • We had run out of eggs, and I really wanted cookies right then and there, and I so I used mayonnaise instead. Listen, it sounds awful, but it works!
  • Pound cake without any leavening...just a lot of intensely beaten eggs
    • It's needless to say that my hands were exhausted after that
  • Pizza dough and pizza, without electricity (sort of)
    • Thankfully, there were no substitutions, but there was also no power at one point. Sigh. So, the pizza crust was not as crunchy as it should have been, but it was still pretty good.
  • Pancakes without light
    • Well, the lightbulb burst, in the kitchen of all places. But I really wanted pancakes, so by the light my solar lamp and iPhone, I made a batch of pancakes for our guests.

By the way, the recipe I used is my all-time favourite one from Ricardo's cuisine: Thin Breakfast Crêpes

For the Sweet Tooth: Old School Crêpes. Read it on www.itsalamb.com #Travel #Food #Lubumbashi #DemocraticRepublicofCongo
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