When I was small, even before preteen, Grandpa would make pancakes on the weekend so Grandma could sleep in. It didn’t work because he always had to wake her up to ask her what ingredients to make them out of. She’d stay in bed anyway and we’d make pancakes (and a mess) in the kitchen. Grandpa, then Dad, mostly made ‘beaver pelt’ shaped pancakes (beaver pelt pancakes are round, just like the beaver hides he harvested as a married college student for income to pay bills. Landowners would get in touch with him when a beaver flooded their fields. It’s hard to grow crops on flooded fields. So, he’d trap the beaver, stretch the hide, salt it really good, and hope the day would come when he could afford to get it tanned, but sometimes he’d make other animal shaped pancakes. All the animals looked alike with a round center, a smaller round head, four stumpy stick legs and a curved tail. Sometimes he put a drizzle of batter on the neck and call it a horse; sometimes he put two pointy almost triangles on the head and called it a cat; sometimes the points became too long and floppy; those pancakes were ‘dogs.’ Whatever he called the shape I could always see it in those pancakes.
Sometimes we’d pick berries, mostly blueberries and he’d drop them onto the pancakes once they’d been shaped in the hot skillet then he’d drop the berries one at a time into the pancake batter just as the batter formed bubbles. As the bubbles began to burst, he’d turn the pancake; let it cook until golden brown on the underside then serve it to us hot.
Sometimes we didn’t have berries, so he’d add whatever was available, usually leftover canned veggies from the night before. Grandma (then Mom) wasn’t very enamored with his additions to the pancakes other than berries. Every now and again he’d sprinkle the pancakes with whole kernel corn. Those were my favorite. I don't know why; they just were. I even liked them better than the pancakes sprinkled with berries.
1 cup flour 2 teaspoons baking powder ¼ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar(optional) 1 egg ¾ cup water or milk
Skillet or griddle Oil for the skillet or griddle Pouring cup
Pancake turner Berries or corn (optional) 2 mixing bowls
Turn the heat on under the skillet too low to get the cooking surface ready. One of the keys to pancakes is to have a hot surface to cook them on so start heating up the skillet on low as the pancakes are mixed then ramp up the heat later.
Mix the dry ingredients, flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar (if sugar is to be used) together in a smaller bowl. In the larger second bowl beat egg and water or milk together until they are frothy. Add dry ingredients to frothy egg and water. Mix well. The batter should be about the consistency of a milk shake or thin spaghetti sauce so it will be able to be poured.
Dump some of the batter into a pouring cup with a spout. (I use my old-fashioned glass measuring cups. I mix the egg and water in the four-cup size and the dry ingredients in the two-cup size then mix and pour from the one-cup size that has a perfect, for me, spout. Turn the heat up under the skillet to medium or medium high and add a bit of oil, not too much oil, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Heat until a few drops of water flicked from the fingers (the kind of flicking we used to do as kids to irritate each other as we did dishes in the sink after dinner) until the water drops sizzle, pop, and skittle across the bottom of the skillet. Pour batter into the skillet, add berries or corn if desired. Heat until bubbles start to form, then heat a little longer until the bubbles are all over the pancake and start to burst open. Turn the pancake and cook on the other side. When the bottom side is golden brown (lift edge of pancake to check) serve hot with maple syrup or fruit jam or left over frosting or wrapped around link sausage or anyway that’s delicious.
In 2000 Michele Priddy left the work force to become a stay-at-home mother and wife. Being a one-income family in today’s society meant she had to learn to budget quickly. Food became a priority early because she wanted the children to have the best nutrition, she could offer them even on a budget. She also taught cooking classes on how to stretch the food dollar with simple ingredients at various churches in her community. Michelle has put her kitchen strategies and recipes in booklets, her church newsletter and in her hometown newspaper, The Goldendale Sentinel. We hope you will enjoy her strategies, stories, and recipes. You can contact the Leavenworth Echo at Reporter@leavenworthecho.com or 509-548-5286 if you have any questions or comments for Michelle.
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