Saratoga Bon Appétit!
A handful of students at Maple Avenue Middle School in Saratoga Springs were given their first taste of French cuisine during Samantha Decker’s foreign language classes on Monday, Dec. 5.
The owners of Saratoga’s only creperie, Ravenous, gave a demonstration about the flat, popular, French pastry to three classes throughout the day. The presentation was meant to help the 7th graders practice their vocabulary skills as they study a unit on food, as well as briefly immersing them in the French culture.
“A lot of the kids usually don’t know what a crepe is, so it’s a way to put the vocabulary to work in a real setting,” said Decker. “This isn’t exactly a French restaurant, but it’s the next best thing.”
Decker’s classroom was turned into a mini-bistro and several students were selected to act as servers to their fellow classmates. Each server asked, “Vous désirez?” or “May I help you?” The students replied with “Je voudrais une crêpe, s'il vous plait,” or “I would like a crepe, please.”
Before eating, co-owners Lauran Wickizer and Francesco D’Amico taught the students the history and cultural importance of crepes, and demonstrated how they are made.
Wickizer told the class that the crepe originated in Bretagne, a northwestern section of France, as a popular peasant meal hundreds of years ago. Made out of buckwheat flour and water, because of accessibility and price, crepes were first used as bread by the poor.
“They probably didn’t taste so good when crepes first started, but it was like their main food source,” said Wickizer.
The middle class soon “jazzed-up” the recipe by adding milk, eggs and sometimes sugar, while those in high-society added the fancier, sweet and savory fillings.
Inside their restaurant, Wickizer and D’Amico have a large crepe machine imported from France, but for traveling purposes have bought two, consumer model griddles.