Friday, March 18

The Pancake Day that (almost) didn't happen

You might recall that, on Shrove Tuesday (aka Pancake Day), I went in search of pancakes in San Francisco. Well, as reported previously, the café was gone, and I'd walked all the way into the heart of the Tenderloin just to find that out. You're likely to have heard of the Tenderloin district if you've been in SF - probably in a conversation with the concierge, following the word "avoid" and preceding "at any time of day or night". Seriously, it's not that bad, but it does inspire a vague feeling of discomfort. Legend has it that the policemen who walked this then-dangerous beat were paid more and were therefore able to buy better cuts of meat, earning the locale its name.

I'd decided I wasn't seeing any pancakes that day, put it down to foodie misadventure, and wandered into a nearby kitchen shop. There was plenty there to keep me entertained for a while: inventive cooking utensils, cookbooks, and low-price cookware (relative to London at any rate), with a couple of cooking demonstrations thrown in. One of these involved something called Ebelskiver, which on closer inspection turned out to be Danish pancakes.

This is how they looked as they were being made. Pancake batter was spooned into an oiled pan shaped thus, and a teaspoon was used to drop dollops of raspberry jam into the centre.

The pancakes were turned over with curvy wooden implements. I heard knitting needles can be used too.

I didn't particularly feel like eating something filled with jam at that moment (I'd have preferred just the fluffy pancake), so I didn't try any. But at least I got a visual on some pancakes on Shrove Tuesday and managed to get some photographic evidence.

I was chatting to a couple of science teachers in front of this demonstration - a Euro/American couple teaching physics and chemistry in Beijing - who were in San Francisco for a conference. While I was firing away with my camera, they then struck up a conversation with another spectator. Just before that person left, I overheard that she was Danish and that she'd just moved to San Francisco from Singapore. Oh the things I might have told you about Danish Ebelskiver and her experiences in Singapore if I'd managed to speak to her! There's another term for the lexicon: foodie missed opportunity.



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