Pancakes again

Yes I have yet another pancake story for you. (Weekend pancakes have turned out to be rich fodder for this journey!)

Ellen came into the kitchen and sat down heavily on the stool. It was after 8am, Jerry’s out of town until tonight and nobody had eaten yet. “Mom, you’re not teaching us how to do stuff, you’re not showing us stuff anymore!” “What would you like to learn?” “Well, I still don’t know how to make pancakes. Daddy doesn’t really teach us, he just does it for us, and mine are all just big mess-ups!” “Hmm. I saw you make your own pancake last time.” “No! I made one and daddy scraped it into the sink.” “But after that one, I remember you pouring the batter and you made the next two pancakes yourself.” “No! Daddy made the ones that were good, mine were all mess-ups!” “That’s not how I remember it.” “Well that’s how it was … I remember!”

I wasn’t sure what to make of this because Ellen really did make two pancakes by herself last weekend. So she was either changing the story to get me to make them, or she had actually convinced herself that Jerry made them instead. Either way, it was useful information.

Ellen had stomped out of the kitchen into my office and closed the door. I stood there and thought carefully about my next move. It occurred to me that having Jerry away could be helpful because then I could play dumb about making pancakes and ask Ellen to help me. First I should explain that Ellen doesn’t like just any kind of pancake, she likes what she and Jerry call “paper pancakes.” These are very thin pancakes, likes crepes, and I honestly had never made them before. But I did know that they require some very thin batter.

I opened the door to my office. Ellen was sitting in my chair slumped over with her head down on my desk. “Ellen I’ve never made these pancakes before, will you help me?” I asked. “I don’t know how much mix and how much milk! But you don’t use oil or eggs, just the mix with milk.” “Oh! I didn’t know that. I would’ve used oil and eggs …” I walked back to the kitchen. I put some mix in the bowl and added just a small amount of milk so the batter would be very thick. Ellen came in and stood beside me. “Ok, like this?” I said. “No, mom! That’s way too thick!” “Oh, ok, so what do I do?” “You have to add more milk.” She got the milk and poured some in. “Now stir.” I did. “No, that’s not right either, now that looks just like water…have to add more mix.” She pushed me aside and started adding alternate amounts of mix and milk. This was not a neat process, the mess was getting bigger and I worked hard to stay quiet and not intervene. “No, it’s still not right. It’s not bubbly. Sometimes you have to add just a little bit of water … there. That’s it!!” Her mood was getting perkier and perkier. “Now … Mom?! Get the pan down!” “Which one?” “That one!” She turned on the burner and I gave her the pan.

She then proceeded to make not one, not two, but four or five of these pancakes for herself. She threw one away because it folded up into a big blob, but that didn’t phase her at all. She kept at it, and Fenner joined in and made several for herself as well. They even made one for me, and then I said I wanted to try and they talked me through how much batter to pour and how to flip it over, etc. Then I went to make another one and said, “Oh! I didn’t spray the pan!” “That’s ok, mom,” said Ellen, “it’s just a little harder to flip that way.” And when I managed to flip it, Fenner said, “Yay, mom, you did it, good job!” Then Ellen had another turn and she said, “See mom? Unlike you, I remember to spray the pan! … And there we go … and flip it … and that’s how you make a paper pancake!!” She danced a little jig and her face was positively glowing. “Look at this, mom, this is the best, most perfect paper pancake in the world! Come look!” I did, and it was.

Later when we were eating at the table together, Ellen said, “Fenner! Mom’s batter was terrible! It was so thick it was like cookie dough! … Mom! Your batter was terrible!” “I know! Ellen, I couldn’t have done it without you.” I meant it. And I could see it written all over her face: connected, capable, count, courage.

Explore posts in the same categories: Week 6: The Crucial C's

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