My Grandfather’s Pancakes

I am awake in my bed.  I am blind because without my glasses the whole world is a blur.  There is an echo of smoke that permeates everything in this house, the Hudson Bay blanket, the heavy sheets, the special pillowcase that my grandmother puts on my pillow with a Victorian lady with a large crocheted skirt.  I can hear my mother and my grandfather talking, cups clicking on the table, a zippo lighter striking and catching, chrome chair legs pushing against the linoleum.  I know that Jesus is on the other end of the room watching me with a palm leaf across the top of his portrait. After a while I hear cupboards opening and closing and then this distinctive sound of a metal ring slapping rhythmically against the side of a metal bowl and a spoon whipping the batter inside the bowl.  I leap out of bed and make it in record time, carefully folding the green bedspread so that it will stay tucked under the pillow.

I burst into the kitchen and take my seat at the table.  How many pancakes?  3 please.

It is 35 years later.  I am home alone for dinner again, and these days I don’t cook too much, it is kind of sad and pathetic to cook for one.  I always have too many leftovers, I cannot seem to reduce my recipes.  It makes me feel alone to eat and have all that food left sitting in the pan.  I have fresh blueberries in the fridge and I look down at the dog’s happy smiling dog face, his jiggling butt wagging with his tail.  You want a pancake?  A HOT blueberry pancake.  He barks excitedly.  Of course he does.

I take out my metal bowl and metal spoon and whip the batter til it gets that stick together look that says the gluten in the floor has been activated.  I turn the fire onto medium under my cast iron pan, grease it with a little olive oil from a pumping spray bottle, I wait for it to get hot and then spoon one two three pancakes and then throw about 10 blueberries into each.  I wait for it to bubble a little and get dry around the edges and flip.  I take each out of the pan and then take the leftover batter and make one big pancake, putting a small handful of blueberries.  Flip.  I take it out and put in the dog’s dish.  He stands over it.  It’s hot.  I say.  He barks at it.  Barks, then tries it.  After a moment he tears into it.  I melt butter onto my three pancakes and then I put alot of brown sugar on each.  I almost never use maple syrup. I like maple syrup on popovers, but not on pancakes.  I take my little dinner to the family room and watch TV.  I savor each bite.


one egg
about two cups of buttermilk *(I think – maybe a little less than two cups)
a tsp of baking powder
a dash of salt
about one and a third cup of flour* (I think)

*(I am guessing on the buttermilk and flour amounts, I never measure.  You want the batter to be thick without being lumpy and thin with out being too thin you can add a little more of either to adjust and it wont hurt the batter)
whip til the gluten starts to stick together, cook in a frying pan or on a griddle.  Add fresh or frozen berries, frozen berries require the heat to be lower so that the outsides don’t burn before the insides are done.


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