E Pluribus Mores

Memento Mori Crepes

In slow cooking on February 11, 2015 at 11:36 am

The crepes themselves are quite easy. You take 1 egg per person you wish to serve. Add ¼ cup flour per egg (e.g. four eggs; one cup flour), and an equal amount of milk to flour. Whisk until there are no lumps. If it is too thick, add a bit more milk. Toss in some sugar and salt and you are ready to cook.

Ideally you will have a crepe pan, but any non-stick pan with a handle will do nicely. Heat the pan, toss in some butter, pour in enough batter to cover the bottom of the pan, and wait until the sides begin to brown. When you are ready to flip, shake the pan a couple of times to loosen the batter. If the pan is hot and you have used enough butter, the crepe will not stick. To flip, toss the crepe in the air and catch it in the pan. This might seem intimidating, but I recall seeing a documentary of a French kindergarten teacher teaching five-year-olds how to do it. After a few crumpled crepes you will have it.

The recipe is simple. The trick is to take what is simple and from it make art. For example, a French baguette consists of flour, salt, and water. But somehow it manages to create one of the cornerstones of civilization itself. You find it in the Lord’s Prayer, Roman bread and circuses, a central metaphor for wealth or the home. An analogy might be the blues. The blues at its core is three chords, built on the first, fourthpomeii mementomori, and fifth note of a major scale. But this simple formula creates the foundation for all blues, rock, country, pop, jazz, and rap. This is the same cyclical pattern that defines baroque music or Bach. In architecture, you can build pretty much any classical-style building from circles, squares, and triangles. Much of the physical universe comprises a limited number of simple patterns repeated in infinite variation. My own approach to art–or for that matter teaching, personal relationships, philosophy—is to simplify something, then make it more complex. Find a thread and pull on it. Pull long enough and hard enough and the world unravels. Follow something to its simplest form, then back to its most complex form and you will understand it.  It is the metaphor of life.  You are born.  You eat crepes.  You die.  The trick is to take that simple formula and from it make art.

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