Crepes are not necessarily a meal, although they're frequently eaten as one. At some busy intersections in big French cities, there's often a mobile stand selling takeaway crepes and galettes (which, in this context, refers to savoury crepes made of buckwheat flour, although it can also mean other types of flat cakes or pastries). Some established creperies even have stands outside their main restaurant to serve pedestrians who want a snack but don't have time to sit down to eat it.

Although the batters for crepes and galettes differ, the cooking method is the same. This liquid, which should be about the same consistency as cream, is poured in a very thin layer into a pan. After about 30 seconds, it's flipped over and the other side is lightly browned. Many creperies use another method, in which the batter is poured into a heavy, standalone, round griddle with a heating element below, then spread evenly using a flat wooden instrument.

With either method, the side that's cooked first has a prettier pattern; the crepe or galette is therefore flipped over so the diner sees the better-looking side.

The filling options for crepes and galettes are varied. A classic, sweet version has a filling of jam or Nutella, but at the other extreme is crepes Suzette, a fancy dessert in which the crepes are heated with butter and Grand Marnier, then ignited before being folded or rolled. Savoury galettes can be filled with anything from cheese, ham and egg to curried shrimp and (my favourite) egg, cheese and thin slices of andouillette (cured intestines sausage).