It is 1978.
I am invited to a dinner party – my first – hosted by my friends, Valerie Riordan and Noelle Harris. They live in a duplex in a nice neighborhood near Cal State Long Beach. I’m excited about going to a dinner party.
I knock and Val and Noelle open the door. They are stunned.
“You are an hour early,” Val tells me. They seem very stressed.
I’m embarrassed. How did I make such a mistake?
They are not happy. At first I think they are not happy with me showing up early.
Then they look at each other. Something is communicated between them silently. They both turn back to me.
“Can you make crepes?” Noelle asks.
I am somewhat taken aback by her question. Then I realize why they are so stressed.
“Yes. I think so.”
I’ve never made crepes before in my life.
“Why do you think you can do it?” Val asks. They wave me in.
Val and Noelle look at each other, shrug. Back to me again.
“The kitchen is this way.”
For anyone who grew up in the 60s – 70s, Graham Kerr was the host with the most. He cooked and drank his way through afternoon television, his catch phrase going to commercial “Now it’s time for a short slurp!”.
I loved watching him cook. I saw many, MANY episodes of the show. I don’t remember anything else. But I remember him demonstrating a technique for cooking crepes. I remember it because it was so weird. He cooked the crepes on the BOTTOM of the pan.
On the kitchen counter is a bowl of batter. Beef Stroganoff is ready to be put in the oven nestled within the as yet unmade crepes. I ask to see their pans and find one of suitable size and without a coating inside the pan. I butter the bottom of the pan and light the burner.
I burn the first two. But after that I make a steady stream of crepes. Val and Noelle take them as fast as I can make them, rolling up the beef and putting them in a large baking dish.
When the doorbell rings, the smell of cooking Stroganoff crepes greets the other dinner guests.