A Farmhouse Ritual: Its More Than Just Making Pancakes

It’s more than just making pancakes, as you will see.
This week on the farm here in Ohio,  the weather was marvelous: A record-breaking heatwave for February.   Monday being a school holiday, Avah, our almost nine-year-old granddaughter, came to the farm to spend the day with us. Long ago, when she first started coming as an infant, I decided it would seem ned to be Avah day.    I must admit, when she became a toddler, it was exhausting—yet rewarding. I wasn’t as young as I once was.   I was, as she was, swamped. So I focused on it being Avah day.
As a toddler, she always wanted pancakes for breakfast.  So, without a box mix in the house one morning,  I had to revert to a recipe from my cookbook. Always, she asked, sitting on the counter as I measured the ingredients,  “Can I do it?” So we learned to bake together and make pancakes—one of her favorite things to do.  To make it most exciting, we developed “our pancake recipe” that enables her to learn how to prep and measure ingredients like cracking eggs, adding flour, vanilla, and baking soda, and so on for the pancakes. The original notecard recipe we created still hangs inside the cabinet door—very handy.
She still stands on her stool to cook her pancakes.

One time (we chuckle about this incident many times over)  when early on and we first started making pancakes together, I had just let her dump the teaspoon of vanilla in the mixture when I thought, Wow, she has never tasted vanilla, so I asked her if she wanted to taste it. “This is vanilla, the flavoring for vanilla ice cream. Want to taste it? “ Of course, she said yes. So in the measuring spoon, I poured some and told her, “Put your finger in and taste.” Almost simultaneously, we placed our finger to our tongue, and both of us made a nasty face. “Oh my gosh, Avah, that’s nasty!” I sputtered.  “Yeah, that’s awful. I don’t like it.” I poured the remaining bottle of vanilla down the sink drain. It was so old it now tasted like vinegar. I looked at the bottle. It was many years old.  VERY OLD!  Note to self: check your cupboards for old baking goods.
This week, we remembered the incident and gladly dipped our finger in the vanilla, both agreeing it tasted good!

Strawberry syrup makes one feel like they are at IHOPs. Yummy!
She’ll be nine next month, so she is quite capable of running the griddle.  After she makes her Papaw’s three pancakes and mine, she makes tiny bite-sized ones for the three dogs and her puppy. Then whatever batter is left, she makes one ginormous one for herself. And it’s the size of her plate, no less. If we have blueberries, she’ll decorate it,  or she has used chocolate chips, too.

Today, she asks for blueberry syrup, and we have even made syrup with fresh blueberries together on the stovetop.  I didn’t have any, so she settled for Hungry Jack maple —not fond of my real maple syrup. And we three sit down to a wonderful Avah day pancake breakfast.
So Here’s the thing: At the table, I smile as we three share our ritualistic breakfast.  I know it’s more than just pancakes for breakfast.   Perhaps you recall a memory of your own at your grandparents’ home that you enjoyed when you stayed with them.  I know someday she’ll be sharing this with one of her grandchildren because I planted the seed.  It may not be pancakes; it may be cookie baking or brownie making.  I know, like postcards, she is tucking those memories away in her memory book just like I am.   I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it: “Grandchildren are a breath of fresh air.”  Breathe deeply.  Take Joy!

We have made blueberry syrup together.
Papaw likes sausage or bacon
with his pancakes!

Avah’s Pancake Recipe
1 Egg; 1 Cup Milk plus 1 tsp of vinegar (creates the same as using buttermilk) 2 Tbsp Oil; 1 Cup plus 2 Tbsp Flour; 1 Tbsp sugar; 2 Tsp Baking Powder; 1 tsp soda; 1.2 tsp salt; 1 tsp Vanilla.
Blend all and have griddle heating in the meantime. Flick your wet fingers on the lightly oiled griddle. (We don’t use sprays.) It will sizzle when ready for pancakes! Enjoy

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