Adventure, Anticipation, and Appreciation

January 6, 2010 at 7:00 pm 30 comments

It’s the beginning of January, and I feel like the upcoming year is a note from my friend. She wrote it with love, it made its way across the room towards my desk, and now it’s in my hand. The paper is crisp and neatly folded into a little triangle, almost like a present. I don’t know what kind of message it holds yet, but I can’t help but unfold it with a smile on my face.

Thinking about the potential and excitement of the New Year reminds me that this is a year of beginnings. Twenty ten will mark the start of my legal adulthood (turning 18 in April,) the first year anniversary of 17 and Baking, and most importantly my freshman year of college. It’s more than likely that I’ll be attending college away from home, and at the moment the exhilaration of travel is on my mind.

Travel. Don’t you feel a buzz of electricity and mystery even at the prospect of the word? I haven’t been to many states in the US, or visited many places outside the country, but the small taste I’ve had of the world has worked exactly as an appetizer should. It makes me hungry for more.

When people ask me what kind of job I’d like to have in the future, I always have the same things to say: I want a career where I’m using the written word to help people, I want to explore different cultures and opinions, and I want to be moving.

By moving, I mean that I don’t want to spend the majority of my afternoons sitting still. Although paperwork and an office cubicle are probably a large part of any job, I crave exposure to new experiences, the thrill of possibility that the unexplored world presents. Perhaps this is why I find journalism so appealing, even though the future of print journalism is currently murky. A day spent around the city, talking to people of all backgrounds and stories, and writing – it matches my interests perfectly.

Adventure isn’t just excavating gold along an exotic coast or trekking through a perilous jungle… I’d like to hope that one’s everyday life can be an adventure, too, if you are passionate about your work and refuse to limit your optimism.

This is also one of the reasons I’m looking forward to leaving home for college. As 2010 begins and I approach the halfway mark of my Senior year, I’m beginning to feel the seeds of nervousness. My friends and I often lament the dull routine of our daily lives, but now that my time left in high school has a definite expiration date, it’s hard to imagine anything else.

Quite frankly, the thought that my next New Year could be spent across the country is intimidating. It’s hard to picture living without my parents, my friends, my AP Stats homework, and the lush greenery and silver sleet of Seattle. When some of my friends graduated early after Junior year, I knew then that I wasn’t ready to be on my own. I still don’t feel prepared, but I don’t deny that I anticipate the plunge.

Washington is my home, but I am seizing the opportunity to be free for the next four years. I want to be dazzled by the bright lights of a city that never sleeps, and I hope to encounter people with perspectives I’ve never considered before. I finally turned in my last application last week, and received my first acceptance letter the next day.

But for now, I’m satisfied with an adventure I’m experiencing from my own bedroom. Without leaving my home, 17 and Baking has been an open door to the whole world. Every time I see a new comment on my “Leave Your Location” post, I add a pin to the world map on my wall. The bright pinpoints are like brave explorers making their way across oceans and the unknown terrain.

17 and Baking has also brought me into contact with a diverse variety of people, exactly what I hope to achieve in traveling and in college. From professional chefs in rural towns to big-city teens who are also baking and blogging ( :) JoJo), my readers completely reinforce my belief that no matter what, everyone has a voice and a story. We are all connected by a common thread, whether that is our basic humanity, or a love for good food and delicious photography.

So I want to officially thank you – for letting me connect with you, and for helping me “travel” in spirit. You guys are the one thing I am definitely bringing with me to college, certainly much more valuable than anything I could pack into a suitcase (even the KitchenAid.) Thank you for sticking with me through my adventures, and I hope your New Year unfolds into a wonderful one!

I made these crepes with my friend T- and her mother, who are both French. I was so excited when I found out that crepes were on the menu for lunch. We tried a whole variety of both sweet and savory fillings. Among the three of us we tried ham and cheese crepes, spinach and tomato crepes, nutella crepes, crepes with jam, and even plain crepes (when you are too hungry to wait any longer.)

I learned a couple of tricks about crepe making. The batter should rest after it’s made for about an hour, and the pan should be on low heat. T- had an actual crepe pan, and she showed me how to make paper-thin, golden crepes. The ones I made myself were ugly less beautiful than the rest, but tasted just as good.

Midafternoon Crepes
(Translated into English by T- herself)
Makes about 20 crepes, serves 4

250 g (1.8 cups) flour
1 pinch of salt
3 tablespoons of powdered sugar
2 tablespoons of melted butter
3 small eggs or 2 large ones
2 cups of liquid (milk, half milk/half water, or half milk/half beer)
2 tablespoons of cognac or brandy
40 g (1/3 stick) of butter to cook the crepes

Sift the flour into a bowl. Form a well into the center and pour in the salt, the sugar and melted butter. Mix with a wooden spoon as you gradually add the liquid, to get a batter that’s smooth and without chunks. Stop once you’ve added 2/3 of the liquid.

Crack the eggs in a bowl and mix them, add them to the crepe batter, mix well and incorporate the rest of the liquid ingredients.

Heat the pan at a medium temperature and grease the pan with a bit of butter. Pour in a spoonful of batter and swirl the pan, forming a thin and circular crepe.

Let the crepe cook at low heat; once the edges detach from the pan, shake it to detach the crepe, turn it over, let it cook for a few moments and slide the crepe onto a plate.

Keep it warm, or reheat just before serving. Top or fill with any ingredients you like. (See above for some suggestions.)

Printer Friendly Version – Midafternoon Crepes

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30 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Tania  |  January 6, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    =]]] they look so beautiful on your blog post!!

    Reply
  • 2. wearsjojo  |  January 6, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    yay! looks so good. where did u get into college!? i’m dying!!!

    Reply
  • 3. Kim, Rambling Family Manager  |  January 6, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    I am so excited for you and the world of adventures that await in your future. My daughter is a year behind you and I’ve encouraged her to read your blog so she can see what’s around the corner in the next year.

    As always, your blog is a pleasure to read- thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  • 4. Kate  |  January 6, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Those crepes look so delicious! Leaving home is such a daunting task and yet you know something amazing is waiting out there for you. Travel is one of those amazing things. I haven’t traveled much but I know when I get older I’ll be a travelaholic. Photo journalism would be one career I would never get tired of.

    Reply
  • 5. Natanya  |  January 6, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    Crepes are my favorite! And leaving home is certainly scary. I’m going to school across the country, and it is a big change, but I’m glad to get to experience it. I’m sure you’ll love it!

    Reply
  • 6. Margarita  |  January 6, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    I’m sooooooooo hungry right now. Yummy, yummy, yummy!!!!!!!!!! Your pictures make my mouth water. :) That tomato filled crepe is calling my name. Margaritaaaaaaaaaaaaa…………..lol. I am tempted to make some. Besides being extremely hungry and craving good healthy food I am delighted that we are going to hear about your adventure called ” Your life on your own for the first time”. Thank you. Wishes for the best of the best for you and yours, this year and every year!!!!!!!!!<3

    Reply
  • 7. Eliana  |  January 7, 2010 at 9:17 am

    You’re welcome Elissa. Thank you for continuing to dazzle us with your lovely blog posts.

    Reply
  • 8. Valérie  |  January 7, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Best of luck with the upcoming year. You seem to be bursting with projects and enthusiasm, it’s incredibly refreshing!

    And crepes are a great way to start the year!

    Reply
  • 9. Jenny  |  January 7, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Congratulations on your new adventures – this is an incredibly exciting time and we’re lucky that you’re been willing to share it with us too!

    I can’t wait to see where you go from here!

    Reply
  • 10. Elizabeth  |  January 7, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Elissa,
    This post is so inspiring. I am too young to relate to many of the adventures in your life right now (I’m twelve), but I hope to influence the world just like you do. I wish you the best of luck in 2010, and I hope you continue to bake and write.

    Elizabeth

    Reply
  • 11. Jesse  |  January 7, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Feel the same way about college. I know where I am going now for sure and it makes me nervous. Do you know where you are going for sure yet?

    Reply
    • 12. Elissa  |  January 7, 2010 at 2:33 pm

      Jesse – Not yet, I hear back from all the colleges in April. The particular college that accepted me had an “early deadline” where they let you know their decision very quickly.

      Elizabeth – I can’t tell you how happy your comment made me! Keep following your dreams!! :)

  • 13. linda  |  January 7, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    a very sweet & exciting time for you elissa!
    when you a ready to announce your college
    decision…we will be here to “cheer” you on. :)

    Reply
  • 14. Lauren  |  January 7, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Inspirational post Elissa. It was beautiful, and I know that this year has many fantastic things in store for you.

    Reply
  • 15. Naailah  |  January 8, 2010 at 8:21 am

    helo..is there an alternative for the cognac (no alcohol)? or can i just omit it?

    Reply
    • 16. Elissa  |  January 8, 2010 at 8:36 am

      Naailah – I think you can substitute milk or water.

  • 17. SteelCityFlan  |  January 8, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Oh, dear, college applications =/ Terrifying. I completely agree with what you said about careers…my biggest fear in life is getting stuck sitting in an office all day and not “moving,” as you put it. But I also agree that everyday life can be passionate, depending on how you take it. I always try to be as optimistic as possible, and that makes me find the beautiful little things about my routine that make life so good :)

    Reply
  • 18. Lindsay  |  January 8, 2010 at 10:27 am

    This is a beautiful post. You’re writing style is fabulous…. you’re going to do great in college. I wish you a Happy New Year :)

    Reply
  • 19. biz319  |  January 8, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    My daughter turns 18 in March, and is spending 3 weeks in Germany in June.

    I wish I would have had your insight at your age! Can’t see what the future brings to you!

    Reply
  • 20. Vanessa Fernandes  |  January 9, 2010 at 6:25 am

    Dear Elissa,
    congratulations for your blog! It’s simply amazing! I’ll keap reading always!
    Vanessa.

    Reply
  • 21. Cousin Sharon  |  January 9, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    This is hardly the city that doesn’t sleep, but you have a place to stay in South Florida should you ever want to visit!

    Reply
  • 22. Jessica  |  January 10, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    Aww..I love how you said you would be taking us with you to college. :) You are so sweet! I’m sure you will have plenty of adventures and look forward to you sharing them with us! Happy New Year to you too!

    Reply
  • 23. Maria Fernanda  |  January 13, 2010 at 10:34 am

    great post! nice recipe! my mom was once married to a belgian and he used to make these pancakes with beer only. they get really light and airy.

    I’ve just stared reading you from Brazil and i’m sorry if i’ll buch the english language once in a while… but i’ll keep reading and commenting!

    good luck with the senior year! Quoting Kim: “thank you for sharing.”

    Reply
  • 24. Sarah  |  January 13, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Elissa,

    I love your blog, and it makes me so happy to see you doing so well at such a young age! I just started blogging myself, but I’m smitten with yours. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  • 25. Kelly  |  January 14, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    from hawaii! my son will be leaving for college next year too, it is a bittersweet time! at least you know how to cook!

    Reply
  • 26. Erika  |  January 16, 2010 at 4:13 am

    YOU FORGOT TO MAKE ONE WITH NUTELLA!! ;)

    ERIKA

    Reply
  • 27. Shauna from Piece of Cake  |  January 20, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Okay, first thing, the crepes looks amazing. But more importantly, this post brought me right back to the end of my high school years and being so excited for what was to come. You are so far ahead of the game being so connected with your passion and writing as often as you do. I also majored in Journalism, and found it to be a great choice for me and a totally flexible degree. Writing well and loving storytelling is a plus in so many fields! Best of luck!

    Reply
  • 28. Kuwait bakers blog  |  January 29, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    hi! your blog is great! It is more than from your age.

    Reply
  • 29. Sarah  |  February 23, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    This may be a little strange but I read this post and was struck by how eerily familiar it sounded. I’m a senior in high school also, finishing up slogging my way through the college process. I dream of being a journalist. I bake incessantly (which is why I’m looking at tastespotting at 1:00 am instead of doing my calculus homework). I love to travel and I LOVE crepes. Yours look delicious.
    I’m sorry if this is weird–I’m not normally the kind of person who talks to strangers on the internet–but it’s so funny to stumble across someone who’s so much like me, so I thought I would leave a post.
    Good luck with college and with baking and with journalism.
    - Sarah

    Reply
  • 30. Isabel Kitchen  |  February 28, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    As you begin a new year in College I begin my last of High School and I can’t help but wish for graduation to get closer and fast! But at the same time I am nervous of what the future holds, but instead of looking at it as a time of conflict I depict it as one of excitement and adventure. These crepes look absolutely amazing! Thank you for the post.

    Reply

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Elissa Bernstein



I'm Elissa: a 17 (now 21) year old baker in Seattle Boston juggling creative nonfiction workshops, subway maps, and my passions for writing, baking, and photography. Photo above © Michelle Moore

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