27 September 2013

Pancakes for cavers

I'd already been living in York for almost 4 months and still my house was only warmed for 1/3. I had decided to split the warming into three parts: the PhDs, the cavers and the movie lovers. The first part happened in August, which already was two months into my occupancy, and after almost two months more the cavers would have their turn. And when I say "the cavers" I mean "some cavers". One day in the pub Matt had pushed the subject; when was that housewarming of mine going to happen? And he suggested a day. And that day turned out to be convenient for him and Gary, and for Laura and Sam, but for nobody else. But that's fine! If I would have been more interested in quantity I would have incited everybody at the same time. I'd rather have a few people each time than have the house filled with people you hardly end up talking with!

During the weekend in Wales I had been talking with Laura about the difference between the British and the Dutch, and nutritional differences had come up too. So the idea had been planted in my head to do something Dutch. And what's festive Dutch food? Pancakes! And the supermarket confirmed that that was a good idea; it didn't sell curly kale or endive or such things to make "stamppot" with. So pancakes it should be!

Just in time I figured there was a complication. Sam is intolerant to the daftest foodstuffs. I asked what exactly I should avoid: dairy and eggs! Oh dear. Milk and butter are easily replaced by soy/rice/almond milk and vegetable oil, but the eggs were a harder to replace. Internet suggested banana. Worth the try!

I went home fairly early to start baking. Complications: I had never made egg-and-milk-free pancakes before, my one frying pan might be older than I am, my stove isn't big enough for both at the same time... it was going to be a bit of a challenge. And I didn't only want to offer pancakes; I also produced various vegetables with dips. But the banana batter worked!

 Dairy- and egg-free pancakes! And normal ones, in the background.

With about ten minutes to spare I had finished both tubs of batter. And had presented the side dishes on the table. A few minutes or relaxation before everybody would arrive! And then there was a knock on the door: Laura and Sam arrived. While I let them in the phone went: Matt and Gary were standing at the back gate with their bikes. Everybody was there!

We first did the tour. I enjoyed showing off my caving kit hanging out thing. Whatever it's called. I'm glad they all liked my place! Even though Gary found several things to disapprove of before Matt firmly told him to snap out of criticism-mode. And then it was time for a drink. And after a while I brought the pancakes out. As my guests were all well-raised English(wo)men they asked how I advised them how to consume them. I said the best pancakes are those with bacon, cheese AND syrup. That was greeted with surprise, but also with a willingness to try it out. Except by Matt, who is a vegetarian. Gary tried it, looked at his pancake, and said "great, so the Dutch have found a way of making Bacon even less healthy by coating it in a sugary substance. Let's hope the Scots never found out about this. They'd deep-fry the whole thing!"

Having encouraged my friends to try combinations they thought were strange and which I thought were normal quickly evolved in them experimenting away, and trying combinations I had never thought of. Sometimes it's good to be presented with a fresh view on things. Almost all the pancakes vanished that way, but we had to leave space for desert; Laura and Sam had brought a spiffing forest fruit strudel with ice cream. And I can't keep ice cream, so whatever wasn't eaten would get wasted. At the end of that I think we had five food babies present. But that's OK! We had a spiffing evening. I did at least.

And as the cavers had been more thorough in bringing beverages than actually drinking them, I was left with the especially bought alcohol stock. But as there should be a film night in the pipeline, I think that will be no problem!

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