"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

Rustic home-style whole-wheat cakes (or when pancakes go terribly, terribly wrong)

by Julie Tilsner on April 27, 2009

in Good Ideas Gone Bad, Kid Food, Breakfast

Pancake I can do pancakes from scratch. Usually.

They’ve become a Sunday morning tradition here. The pancake page from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything, stained and wrinkled with use, is now permanently taped up on my cupboard. And because I grew up on processed crap and am hell-bent on my children having some good memories of their mother in the kitchen, I refuse to use Bisquick or some other pancake mix. Nope, I’m a purist. It’s all flour, eggs, milk and butter for me, (and gently warmed maple syrup) or it’s nothing at all.

I thought I had my game down on this one. My kids even duke it out for the test pancake.

So I can’t rightly say what happened yesterday. I have theories, though.

  • I used wheat flour instead of white flour. Only a passing thought to better health; I actually bought this because it was all they had left at TJ’s.
  • I stirred the batter perhaps longer than I should have, which I understand is a no-no when it comes to pancakes. Something about the gluten bonding with vigorous stirring and ruining your chance for light and fluffy cakes?
  • Probably should have used a bit more milk, too.

Tragically, I knew even before glopping the thick batter out into $10 Target fry pan that my pancakes were not going to be all they could be. Not even what they should be. But I couldn’t stop now, with hungry kids expecting breakfast.

Even as they fried up thick and brown and very un-pancake like, I fought back the urge to apologize. Maybe if I didn’t say anything, they wouldn’t notice.

They noticed. “How did you manage making them gooey on the inside and crunchy on the outside?” asked the girl who had slept over that night.

I was feeling pretty bad. Pretty sucky. E.J. came over to pick up his kid and I had to admit to him that no, his daughter, under my care, had not yet been served anything edible that morning. I told him of the pancake debacle.

“How’d they taste?” he asked.

“Not bad,” I shrugged. “They just didn’t remotely resemble pancakes. Too thick and..oat-cake like.”

“Maybe the problem is the name. Maybe you should just say you made thick oat-cakes and call it a success.”

“huh….” I hadn’t thought of this tactic.

“In fact, you should call them something like, ‘rustic home-style whole-wheat cakes.’ And you made those perfectly, right?”

E.J., no surprise, works in advertising.

And so that’s what I did, dear readers. My rustic home-style whole-wheat cakes (cooked slightly longer under slightly lower heat to eliminate the gooey middle) were enjoyed by all. A happy childhood memory, for at least three children.

I was still too embarrassed to let E.J. try one.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

daysofmb October 31, 2009 at 8:33 am

Once you identify the styles, you can narrow your search for the perfect home


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