Crepes and French Class

While there has been debate about whether or not there is a critical period in second language acquisition (a time when one has to learn a second language before a certain age in order to fully achieve mastery of that language), it seems clear to me, just from personal experience, that in terms of mastering pronunciation of another language, there does appear to be one. People I know who have learned a second language before puberty, do not have a detectable foreign accent in that language, whereas people who have learned a second language after puberty, myself included, do have an accent.

Question: What are some of your experiences? Do you see a similar pattern? Or the opposite?

At any rate, last year when we learned that the Kindergarten program our son would be entering includes French instruction as part of the curriculum we were so happy. I have tried to teach my son Japanese at home, but I have found it to be impossible because I myself don’t have command of the language. I studied it for years (as an adult) and have lost a lot of my linguistic ability because I don’t use it on a daily basis! I think exposure to non-native languages is a great thing for kids. They are such sponges and they can “hear” and recreate the sounds in the new languages so beautifully.

Fast forward to this year: My son is loving learning French at school with his friends. They have learned so much in half a year’s time. Their French teacher is a wonderful woman who is also a great chef. She often incorporates cooking into their French studies. Recently, some of the parents were invited to join the class and help make French crepes.

After conversation time, the children practiced the French words for “egg”, “milk”, “flour”, “sugar” and “jam” and took turns adding the ingredients into a blender. After blending up the batter, we all filed into the kitchen where Madame demonstrated how to cook and flip a crepe in a crepe pan. There is a tradition, she said, of holding a coin while flipping the crepe with the other hand. If you catch the crepe in the pan, then you will have good fortune for the year!

While Madame heated up stacks of crepes (which she prudently pre-cooked before-hand), we parents helped by filling them with either sugar —sucre or jam–confiture at the child’s request, and folding the crepe into a cone shape.

Needless to say, they were a big hit and SO delicious! Jamie scarfed down two (one each —avec sucre et confiture).

After their yummy snack, they practiced flipping a rubber pretend crepe in a pan and colored in their crepe recipe. We will definitely be making these at home!

I’ve copied the recipe here, so it is more readable:

Crepes

1. Mix in a blender: 2 eggs, 1 to 1 1/4 cup milk, 1 tablespoon light oil, a pinch of salt and 3/4 cup flour. (If you do not have a blender, mix the ingredients in a bowl, gradually whisking in the flour and let this batter sit 30 minutes.)
2. Season your crepe pan: Heat over medium high flame 1 tablespoon oil and then tip it out.
3. Pour a large spoonful of batter into the well-heated pan. tip out excess so crepe is thin.
4. As soon as edges begin to color (in about 1 minute), flip crepe to other side. Cook quickly (about 15-30 seconds.)
5. Sprinkle sugar or spread jam or honey on top of crepe in the pan. Warm for a few seconds. Remove from pan, fold in quarters and enjoy. Other possible toppings could be shaved chocolate, thinly sliced Swiss cheese and ham, or, off the flame, ice cream.

I’ve joined the I’m Lovin’ It Party! 🙂

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8 Comments

Filed under Desserts

8 responses to “Crepes and French Class

  1. Not to be too academic, but there is actual brain research about how we learn that confirms children can learn to speak foreign languages like a native and adults cannot. It has to do with the growth of the brain and something called myelin.

    However, I think anyone can learn to make crepes!

  2. p.s. if you like French language and cooking, this is a fun blog:
    http://chocolateandzucchini.com/

  3. That seemed like great fun, it’s interesting to learn a language through food – yummy!

    I used to speak Malay as a child but through lack of use have almost forgotten everything. My eldest son spoke Spanish when we were living in Spain (he was 5) but couldn’t remember a word of it now. Ditto for German – the loss is almost immediate, just a year or 2 after we’ve left the country. And he was 10 then. However, the loss was even faster for his younger siblings.

    Children learn fast and forget fast. That’s why languages are known as langues vivantes. You have to live with them to keep them alive.

    J’ai fait des crèpes pour la famille aujourd’hui, it’s always a pleaser. And 5 years after leaving Paris, I can still speak French quite fluently, thank God :-).

    • That’s true about the loss, unfortunately… But maybe if they try to learn it later, it will be easier for them because they were exposed to it? I’m hoping that is the case with my son. He used to have a Japanese baby-sitter, and he learned a little from her, but now he doesn’t remember anything. 😦

  4. I don’t think I have ever tried a crepe…I have made Danish Pancakes which are made in a similar way…I’ll have to give this recipe a try.

  5. Crepes have to be one of my favorite food. It’s too bad my husband does not really care for them. After having a couple he would ask, “so what’s for dinner”. To him crepes are not real food 😦

    I’d eat them everyday.

    I love the art work photo with all the ingredients and the crepes, beautiful! 😀

    Alba H. Rodriguez

  6. Those crepes look delicious!

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