It was Easter dinner, 1984, and the extended family was sitting around the dining table after a big roast lamb dinner. Most of us were chatting, but my brother Tom was reading the classified ads (people used to find jobs by looking in the back pages of the newspaper—imagine!).
He said: “Hey, look at this…young French student wants to do farm work in exchange for learning English.” I was about to give birth to our third child, which would clearly cause us parents to be outnumbered, plus we could use the help, so we answered the ad.
Instead of a young Frenchman, we were contacted by an eccentric, elderly woman who was looking for a position for her great nephew. She was doing the interviews and after meeting with us, she ‘chose’ our household. Thus did Frederique come to stay with us. He did a little farm work, ate a lot of our food, learned some English and ultimately got a job at Miller’s as a bartender. We liked Fred; he was a very nice guest. But it was after many guests and several years later, when we visited Fred and his family in Paris, that his younger brother Stéphane, the grand prize of houseguests, entered our lives.
I wrote a little about Stéphane in the February issue of the Crozet Gazette. Most of what I remember about his brother Fred, was how much he ate. With Stéphane, the best memories are of what he cooked. Stéphane had graduated from the Hotel and Catering School of Paris and had come to us to improve his English—and in so doing, he improved our eating. When it was time to begin he would say “DEENEESE, I need a pound of butter!” Bread, cream puffs, cakes, roasts, grilled sandwiches, delicious sauces and crepes. It was impossible to find Nutella (hazelnut-flavored creamed chocolate spread) in the U.S. at that time, but Stéphane brought some from Paris and made crepes. Naturally, one can use a savory filling like creamed spinach or mushrooms, but what did my three little kids adore? The sweet treat of Stéphane’s crepe spread with Nutella.
- 1 kilogram flour (6 cups)
- 10 gm salt (2 tsp)
- ½ cup sugar
- 12 eggs
- 8 T oil
- 2 liters milk (2 quarts)
Mix all ingredients and allow to sit overnight in the refrigerator. Heat a crepe pan or any round skillet. Brush the skillet with oil and pour enough batter to cover the pan. Flip the crepe when the bottom is light brown and brown the other side. Remove from the pan, spread with nutella and roll up the crepe to serve.