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He who goes to bed hungry dreams of pancakes.

-Maltese Proverb

Photo courtesy of Alicia Solario

Photo courtesy of Alicia Solario

I thought a while about my first recipe post. Of all the hundreds of recipes I have cooked, probably the most frequent ingredients in my mixing bowl come together to form the humble pancake. Why is this the case? I mean, it’s just a little flour, some buttermilk, a hot griddle. Why, when I think of breakfast, does the pancake float to the top of my memory bank? I have certainly had more memorable things for breakfast, like Brennan’s luxurious three course breakfast in New Orleans, which finished with flaming Bananas Foster. Or that first European breakfast of cold meats, tomato, and unmistakably Old World bread. How about the bacon and eggs cooked over a propane stove while camping, the smell of pine needles mixing with the splattering of hot fat?

But, when I think back to my youth, I imagine Mom, with that electric griddle poised on the counter, making Mickey Mouse, cars, and my initials out of batter. I remember making my son pancakes, while he huddles, chilly, sleep still in his eyes. I laugh at the image of my little daughter holding a half of a pancake, dropping it on the floor while slyly looking at me, and saying in her special little baby tongue,”Uh oh.” My wife has been making pancakes since she was a little girl. She gleefully consumes her small stack alongside me, although she won’t use syrup for some ungodly reason. She and I are making our own hotcake memories together around the breakfast, and sometimes brinner, table.

Every society in the world has their version of a flat bread cooked on a hot surface. In Mexico, it’s the tortilla, India has Naan, China makes Bao Bing, Ethiopians enjoy injera, and of course France has gifted us with the crepe. In my mind, though, the american pancake rules the roost. Hot, slightly crisp on the outside, soft and pillowy  on the inside, they are so simple, but just, well, you know, pancakes. It’s sort of ridiculous to write a 500 word post about pancakes, much less include a recipe, but this one is the best, and so simple. There is no reason for you to ever buy a mix. By the time the griddle is hot, you will have your batter ready. The recipe is my mother’s, given to me along with several more in a cookbook she made me several years ago. The page is now splattered with batter, well used. I don’t need the recipe any more, but I always open the book to it when I make them. I’m not sure why, but I think it is a connection for me of sorts, back to those mornings when, bleary eyed, I waited impatiently for the first one to hit my plate. You should make them tomorrow morning, or even tonight for brinner. And if you have kids, make them a mickey mouse.

Buttermilk Pancakes

makes about 10 pancakes

  • 2 C All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 C Buttermilk
  • 2 eggs

Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix only until combined. Do not overmix. Cook on medium hot griddle until about 10 bubbles show on the surface of the pancake, about 1 minute. Flip and cook until golden, about 1 minute more. Serve with whatever you serve your pancakes with.

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