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^^^ complete article ^^^ (recipes included)

When I was in college and went to the South of France to visit a friend who was studying abroad, the first place she took me to was the farmers' market in Nice. Baguettes were sold for a quarter. Spring vegetables were piled up in the stalls begging for the most discerning French women to take them home.

Down at the end of each row of stalls were the socca makers. One cook lorded over a large, hot round griddle fixed over a steel drum. The cast iron retained a ton of heat, and the golden brown pancakes came flying off the grill. "Come,'' said my friend, Carolyn. "You have to taste them. You'll love them.''

And she was right. The socca-maker first pours a bit of thin brown batter onto the griddle, then quickly spreads it with a spatula. The socca cooks quickly, and the cook flips it for a quick browning on the other side. When the socca is finished, the large pancake is rolled into a cone and folded into parchment. It is burning hot, but is too irresistible to let cool, and so scalded fingers are an inevitable casualty of the delicious process.
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