This week on the farm was exciting. My granddaughter Avah and I watched the completed video of us filming a segment for Sherry’s Country Kitchen Show of us making our farmhouse pancakes. And, for those who don’t know why it is so special, here’s why.
Long ago (now 11 years ago), I was Avah’s babysitter while her parents worked. Many grandparents do this these days. But it’s nothing new under the sun. My mom told me recently that during the summer, her parents Henry and Flora, would drop them off at her grandparents for the week from Sunday evening in New Richmond and not pick them up until Friday evening to take them home to Cincinnati for the weekend. That was in the late 30’s early 40’s. Wow. I didn’t know that.
Back to my story. When Avah became a toddler, she always wanted pancakes for breakfast. And she soon learned how to make them from scratch, watching me. She would be sitting on the counter watching me measure the ingredients and ask, “Can I do it?” So, she learned to make pancakes—one of her favorite things to do, and the days she was here soon became known as “Avah day.” It was time spent in the kitchen, in the garden, gathering eggs, or bringing one of the baby bunnies inside to play with or riding around on the 4-wheeler.
As she grew and became too big for the counter, I picked up the cutest little pastel-painted two-step stool at a yard sale for her to stand on next to me. BTW (by the way), she likes yard sales too. She soon learned to open the cabinet door and read the handwritten recipe I have taped there so it would be handy.
When we first started, we chuckle about this incident, again and again; 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. Here, have a taste.” So, in the measuring spoon, I poured some and told her, “Put your finger in and taste,” and we did it together, and we both simultaneously made nasty faces. “Oh my gosh, Avah, that’s nasty!” I sputtered. “Yeah, that’s awful,” she said in her toddler’s voice. “I don’t like it,” she shook her head. It turns out it was old and now tasted like vinegar. I looked at the bottle. Yep! It was many years old. VERY OLD! Note to self: Periodically check your cupboards for old baking supplies. We remembered that incident often and gladly dipped our finger in the vanilla, both agreeing this time it tastes good!
This year in March, Avah turned eleven and recently filmed the Sherry’s Country Kitchen Show making, what else, pancakes! She is now quite capable of running the griddle all by herself. And as I watched, I couldn’t believe she is almost as tall as me now and doesn’t need the stool anymore. And has perfected the wrist action of flipping pancakes!
As always, she makes her papaw’s three pancakes and my three pancakes, then whatever batter is left; she pours it all out to make one ginormous one for herself. It is often the size of her plate, no less. If we have blueberries, she’ll decorate the tops, or she has used chocolate chips, too. And one time, she watched me make blueberry syrup and strawberry syrup. Another lesson learned in Sherry’s Country Kitchen, which you can watch on YouTube. I’ll post a link on my blog, too, www.sherryphillipsmitchell.com.
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 bank as I am. I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it: “Grandchildren are a breath of fresh air. Breathe deeply.”
This recipe is taped to the cabinet door since she was two. Here’s a copy of her recipe for you.