Friday, October 2, 2009

What Holly Hobbie Taught Me: or, How to Make the Perfect Pancake on Saturday Morning

In 1979, the year before my baby brother was born and life would change forever, Saturday mornings meant my Holly Hobbie pajama-shirt and a bowl of cereal on a tin TV tray perfectly placed in front of my thin blue and white Holly Hobbie sleeping bag. We’d stay there until the School House Rock videos rounded out the morning and segued into lunchtime. It was then that I’d pack my Holly Hobbie lunchbox with enough goodies to make it through the afternoon and climb onto my Holly Hobbie banana seat bicycle, Holly Hobbie basket and all, and leave the world behind for the rest of the day. You see, I was rather obsessed with her: the bonnet, the prairie dress, the wildflowers, the oh-so-pure little girl who I oh-so-identified with.

It was a simpler time, when it was normal (as opposed to trendy) to make all your own jam, gather fallen leaves and weave them into a crown, and sit in the sagebrush cave in the empty lot next to your house and talk story to your Holly Hobbie doll. But then brothers are born, and life becomes more complicated. Fortunately, someone in my life had the delicate insight to know that a little girl with a new baby brother would want (read “need”) to start doing some cooking for herself every now and again, and I was gloriously gifted Holly Hobbie’s Cookbook, the little book that changed my life. Up until this point in my life I don’t think I had done more than dipped an apple in peanut butter, or put a slice of raisin bread covered in cottage cheese and cinnamon in the toaster oven. But, I found myself suddenly inspired. I began flipping through the pages, marking recipes I wanted to try, and dreaming of time spent cooking with her, my hero, Holly Hobbie.

So the next Saturday morning, I awoke early, as we usually did on Saturday mornings. But instead of rushing for a bowl of cereal and cartoons, I snuck into the kitchen by myself, pulled on my handmade “Ginger” apron, and begin mixing batter with Holly.

Here’s what Holly Hobbie taught me about making the perfect pancake:

1. Your batter should be a little bit lumpy. To this day, I don’t why, but slightly lumpy batter makes pancakes better.

2. Test the griddle. Sprinkle drops of water on the pan. When the water “dances” then the griddle heat is just right. Do NOT attempt to pour your batter on the griddle until it is perfectly ready. It makes all the difference.

3. When the tops of your pancakes are full of bubbles, and only then, turn your pancakes over. Make sure you turn them before the bubbles break. I am not sure how many pancakes I had watched my mom make, but somehow this tip never really stuck with me until Holly said it.

4. Pancakes always taste better when eaten with people you love! Isn’t that the truth? Thanks to Holly and her pancakes, Saturday mornings mean pancakes. Thirty years later and life has become even more complicated. Two kids. A mortgage. The question of whether or not to spend my precious time “tweeting”. Where is my Holly Hobbie cookbook now that I really need it? Time to go digging.

Old-fashioned Buttermilk Pancakes(not exactly Holly’s, but with all the love)

1 egg*
1 ½ cups buttermilk**
2 T. vegetable oil
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
*To make vegan, use Ener-G egg replacer for eggs
**To make vegan, substitute 1 cup soy milk and 1 T. vinegar

Blend egg, milk and oil. Blend dry ingredients and add to liquids. Heat griddle. When water sizzles, your griddle is hot enough. Pour batter onto greased griddle from pitcher or tip of large spoon in pools slightly apart. Turn pancakes as soon as they are puffed and full of bubbles, but before bubbles break. Turn and brown on other side. Serve with pure maple syrup and butter. Makes ten 4” pancakes.

1 comment:

Thinker said...

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