Monday, March 9, 2009

armed with a frying pan

the fair is over and i apologize for the lateness of my story. however it took me a few days to recover. we woke at three in the morning on saturday after baking and preparing for a week and packing up the cars on friday night before our enforced early bedtime, and arrived in martinborough at five thirty as the setup was just going underway. and in the low crack-of-dawn light and the illumination of several oddly bright colored lights it was hard to grasp the extent of the booths, which spread beyond eyesight as we hung our signs, moved the two freezers full of icecream and pies off of the truck, and set up our dozen frying pans. as it got lighter we recieved a trickle of customers from the other stallholders seeking an early breakfast. we were able to grab some hash browns masquarading as potato pancakes from another stall for breakfast, along with the smallest large cup of coffee i have ever recieved, and then were much happier about preparing food for everyone else. about an hour in we were in full swing as a small contingent of fairgoers sought an incredibly sugary breakfast in our pancakes with icecream, berry sauce and maple syrup, and it picked up continually as the day went on.
since we were a mad up this time (it only requires six people to properly run the stall and there were seven of us) we were able to rotate through breaks and see the fair, something they weren't able to do last month as they were understaffed. it was the largest spralling fair i have ever seen, part farmers market, part flea market, with a whole lot of craft fair and crazy thrown in for flavor. there was a rubber duck race and a guy making knit batman fingerpuppets, and all sorts of awesome handprinted new zealand themed t-shirts.the stalls and tables filled an entire park and the street circling it with little mini fair annexes stretching off onto outlying streets. it was impossible to see it all in the forty minutes i had for a break but walking fast i was able to cover about half. and when it got to about noon the lunch rush hit and i rushed back to a line of people going around the corner i went straight to my frying pans and resumed pre-planned duties as 'griller' making pancakes for the next hour.
the batter is very thin when poured and it gains a large about of height as it cooks, puffing up quite a bit to make a rather tall pancake, but as the top side is uncooked, when you flip them, the loose batter splatters all over. hitting you, the pan, the grills, and everything else in it's path. we wore gloves and aprons but even so i smelled like pancake for the next twenty four hours. and to make the pancakes golden brown and rich and at the same time keep them from sticking to the pan, we used butter instead of spray. huge sticks of butter, that we kept whole and just rubbed into the pan. during the rush it took me half an hour to go through a 500 g stick of butter and a five kilo bucket of batter. we had every frying pan going. and i think i began to absorb butter through my skin. as the rush increased we became more manic, making inane pancake themed jokes and more references and spontaneously bursting into songs in which we changed lyrics to pancake. and still the people came. having just enough time for a bathroom break, having built up a twenty pancake reserve in a slight lull in service when there were more orders for sundays than pancakes, i was able to sprint to the bathrooms and mercifully there was no line. we were luckily situated in prime fair location, under the trees in the middle of the park, so we didn't get the direct sunshine which was out if full force at midday, but standing over a set of six frying pans pouring pancake batter can keep you pretty warm and we drank an alarming amount of water in a small amount of time.
we finally coasted to a crawl about an hour after the fair had closed. and at six we began to pack up the trucks, consoladate dishes, and give away the last of our leftover pancakes to our neighbors the lemon cordial people who had supplied us with lemonaide at our busiest moments and praised our speed and flipping prowess. and by seven thirty we were home and so exhaused we couldnt' even contemplate making dinner but knowing we had to eat. and so we ordered pizza and managed to stay away long enough to eat it before crashing. i mistakenly thought i could read a little and i fell asleep still holding my book and my roommate bettyann had to take my glasses off as she was afraid i might break them while is slept.
looking back at the experience two days later i can safely say that when i comes to pancakes there is only one thing you need to remember to solve any problem which might arise: more butter


  1. remember the secret of life?


  2. From The Merry Wives of Windsor comes the great quote, "I'd as soon trust a Belgian with my butter".
    So, you know where I stand on the issue of dairy fat....Never quite enough.