Students celebrated French culture by learning how to cook crepes for La Chandeleur, a religious holiday in France, this past Wednesday at the Community Kitchen in Douglass.
Although crepes were highlighted as the main dish of the event, the actual star of the show was the French language itself. The 30-minute cooking demonstration was entirely in French with an English translator.
“Today, Lea doesn’t speak English,” Director of the Language Center Teresa Valdez said, referring to Lea Briere, a visiting graduate exchange student from France who acted as the night’s chef.
La Chandeleur celebrates Earth’s revival and fertility. It also serves as an excuse to use up extra flour.
The event was organized by the Language Center.
Throughout the cooking process, students and faculty learned new words such as “farine” (flour), “beurre” (butter), and “oeuf” (egg).
Briere set the atmosphere and introduced more of the French language by sharing her personal anecdote about how making crepes is a tradition in her family.
“Crepes are meant for weekends, friends, and music,” said Briere.
After adding flour, sugar, milk, and butter into a pan, she formed a crater with eggs in the middle and mixed everything together to get rid of inconsistencies.
“Making crepes takes some patience,” said Briere. “You should make sure that the crepes are not burned, but at the same time not raw or sticky in the middle.”
However, making crepes is not as easy as it sounds. Briere described the process as similar to making pancakes, but more complex.
“Some professionals are even able to flip them in the air,” Briere said.
As the first batch of crepes exited the pan, she noted that the first ones were never the best looking, but they still taste just as good. The pans provided at the event were also not fit for making crepes, as they were not flat and round like they are in France.
“If you don’t have challenging times with crepes, they are not crepes,” Briere said.
But the audience didn’t seem to mind the mismatched shapes of the crepes as they rushed forward to quickly grab plates. Some individuals covered their crepes with Nutella and jam.
At the end, participants blissfully savored Briere’s simple, yet remarkable desert and beautiful French tongue.
The event sought to teach that the true path to appreciating foreign language and culture is to first try out their food.