I heard from a far-flung Gentle Reader the other day. He is a Washington College alum who has ended up living in Germany. His letters are always filled with envy-making Continental references. The last time you rode your bicycle did you happen to catch the warm glow of the setting sun reflected on the nearby castle? Are you making plans to go on a little day trip to Mosel wine region to add to your cellar? He is leading a charmed life, and mostly I am thrilled to share his experiences from the cozy confines of my suburban armchair.
He wrote the other day, not to wax poetical about the donner kebabs or the local pastries, but to remark on how difficult it was to find root beer in Germany. It was hard for me not to feel smug later that day when I observed the array of root beers in our grocery store. His sons would have a field day here: Hires, Dad’s, Diet Shasta, Barq’s and A&W. (I still think fondly of an A&W root beer stand I visited in Ohio once. The onion rings were the absolute best I have ever been served.)
Recently he had an opportunity to tell me that the tulips were just spectacular this year. He enjoyed looking at a field of tulips for a couple of weeks, which reminded him so much of the Netherlands. I can only imagine what a sight that was. There were huge blocks of pure color, wedged between yellow fields of rapeseed and an asparagus field, wavering in that damn golden light of sunset, near that castle. There were probably paths full of bikers admiring the atmospheric effects, too.
They were enjoying some early spring strawberries, which he felt sure came from Holland and not Germany. He savored a bowlful while serving up some buttermilk pancakes for one of his sons. And that is something we can also enjoy – early strawberries and homemade pancakes. We can hold off on the root beer until lunch.
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons white sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
1. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, beat the buttermilk, milk, eggs and melted butter together. Keep the two mixtures separate until you are ready to cook.
2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat.
3. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, using a wooden spoon or fork to blend. Stir until it’s just blended. Careful, do not over stir! Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/2 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.
4. Top with a pat of butter and maple syrup.
5. For the IHOP effect you can add some powdered sugar and whipped cream. And don’t forget the strawberries!
Our friends at Food52 have some good ideas, too: http://food52.com/recipes/1799_perfect_pancakes
And, if can wait until hunting season, the clever folks at Bon Appétit go one step further: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2012/01/duck-fat-pancakes
And Bisquik works well in a pinch, on a groggy morning…
“When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race.”