Depending on your personal philosophies you might be getting ready for Lent; challenging yourself for forty days of penance and fasting. Or you could be girding your loins for more parties and parades New Orleans-style; tossing back handfuls of King Cake, reaching up to grab another fistful of Mardi Gras beads. You might not have time (or the inclination) on Tuesday to do your full prep for Shrove Tuesday, or Fat Tuesday, which is why we have weekends.
Weekends are a natural for pancakes. And if you are trying to remove temptations from your fridge in time for Lent, this is a good weekend to get that task done. Be a hero and make stacks of pancakes, using up the eggs, butter, milk, and fatty delicious Nutella, and chocolate chips. Go through the brown sugar, the ricotta cheese, the bacon and the maple syrup. You will feel so smug and austere come Lent, because there will be no temptations left in the house. (Warning: Do not beg with Alexa to deliver another bag of Ghiradelli 70% Cacao chocolate chips through Amazon Prime Pantry on Thursday. Be strong. It’s only forty days.)
The basic ingredients of pancakes are also Christian symbols: eggs for creation, flour is nourishment, milk is purity and salt is wholesomeness. And what is miraculous is all the different ways to combine these basics into myriad clouds of airy goodness. The popular British cook Jamie Oliver has reams of pancake recipes, which can be sweet or savory, thin and crepe-like, or study and filling. I find when I eat pancakes in restaurants I can never eat a whole stack. I like the idea of delicate crepes, oozing fresh, colorful fruit. They are practically health food.
I will trip along the nostalgia trail here, and am reminded of a great pancake breakfast on vacation in Maine one summer where we tumbled a couple of handfuls of fresh blueberries picked by our own little monkey fingers into the bubbling batter. The children became instant blueberry fans, having shunning them for their six or seven years on earth. This is a song that gets airtime when the family is whipping up batches of pancakes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1QL_Oi56jY
When the Tall One came home from college, where he was learning how to cook and fill his own food furnace when he wasn’t studying the intricacies of macroeconomics, we were introduced to his personal philosophy that everything is better with bacon. It is an excellent belief to hold. Bacon on pancakes. Bacon in pancakes. Bacon served on the side of a stack of pancakes. He even put bacon inside the hamburger he would grill, and then top with more bacon. Yumsters.
Another college skill he acquired was flipping pancakes. I do not recall having that much time on my hands when I was in college, but the times are a changin’. The Tall One would very casually take a smallish frying pan, into which he had poured pancake batter, and after the bubbles had stopped bubbling, and the surface of the pancake was no longer shiny, he would grab the handle of the pan, twirl the pancake a little bit, rotate his wrist, and hurl the pancake up toward the kitchen ceiling. And sometimes it came down into the pan. Mostly the dog was an enthusiastic observer, and with her big soulful eyes she encouraged many hours of practice. People who have more than my checkbook math have even found the mathematical equation for the foolproof pancake flip: L = 4×H /π– D / 2
(L = hand distance from inner edge of the pancake / H = height of flip / D = diameter of pancake)
Take a walk around the Garden District before Mardi Gras: http://www.thekitchn.com/a-neighborhood-walk-in-new-orleans-the-garden-district-240402
One of our household kitchen gods, Mark Bittman, has an excellent basic pancake recipe: http://markbittman.com/everyday-pancakes/ And he even has a cornmeal variation: http://www.thekitchn.com/whole-grain-goodness-mark-bitt-137322
Bacon Pancakes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUYSGojUuAU
Garden and Gun has a slightly more sophisticated bacon pancake that will be perfect for an Easter breakfast: http://gardenandgun.com/recipe/cast-iron-comfort-bacon-scallion-hoecakes/
And, of course, Bon Appétit has to do it bigger and better than everyone else – Chocolate Chip Pancakes Cooked in Bacon Fat! Apparently you will not die from immediate heart failure if you use whole wheat flour. I am sure that the Tall One would just audibly roll his eyes at that nonsense, and will reach for the Bisquick box instead: http://www.bonappetit.com/story/chocolate-chip-pancakes-bacon-fat
In case you are not trying to use up whole wheat flour, and Bisquick is what you have on hand, too: http://www.food.com/recipe/bisquick-pancakes-293817
Enjoy the moment.
“My life is always more delicious when I have whiskers on my face, but that might just be because those whiskers tend to accumulate bacon crumbs and scotch, rendering them literally delicious all day long.”
― Nick Offerman