Posted by: Grub | March 9, 2011


I have been working on this post for ages, but am finally finishing it up in honour of Pancake Tuesday.  Pancakes for supper – best ever!  Happy Pancake Tuesday everyone!!

I am a pancake girl.

Pancakes were probably the second thing that I ever learned how to cook, after Kraft Dinner of course.  The recipe that we used was from my Mom’s Five Roses Flour cookbook, and that page in the book was rippled and stained with milk and vegetable oil and melted margarine – in short, it was well loved! The secret to that recipe was the sugar added with the dry goods – it spoiled me for anyone else’s pancakes after that, whether made from scratch or not**.

Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes from Ripe from Around Here by Jae Steele

My mom had worked out the amounts of the ingredients for 1 1/2 batches and they were written in blackish-blue ballpoint pen beside each ingredient. I remember having to measure out 1 7/8 cups of flour and 1/2 an egg – it was definitely good practice for my math brain at the time!

I was really picky as a kid about “toppings” – I ate everything plain, from burgers to hot dogs to sandwiches, and pancakes were no exception.  I often just ate the pancakes by hand, like a muffin or cookie, because there was no butter or syrup to make a mess!

Obviously, I use a different recipe now (my stand-by is the Perfect Pancakes from Vegan Brunch by Isa Moskowitz).  My grown-up tastes now also allow for maple syrup and sometimes even margarine.  However, I am still known to pick up a pancake and eat it like a cookie, and I still always make a well in the dry ingredients whether or not the recipe says to.

The aforementioned Perfect Pancakes

I did a lot of thinking before Sam was born about tradition and ritual, and one of the traditions we have started is going for pancakes on Friday mornings.  We go to a local cafe called the Brown Dog Cafe – the owner is lovely and really enjoys Sam, and her daughter, who is super friendly, is often working at the front counter when we arrive.  They make these amazing, thick, fluffy, vegan banana pancakes that I top with vegan margarine and maple syrup, and that Sam really, really wants to try!

Just about there...

Of course, as amazing as they are, it is really about more than pancakes – the experience is as much about flipping through the paper, snuggling with Sam (whether he is asleep or awake), visiting and chatting with others from the neighbourhood, sometimes enjoying the company of friends who can take an hour away from their Friday to join us, and often, thinking back to those weekend mornings when I had to stand on a chair to reach the sugar to make the perfect weekend pancakes.

They love me here at the Brown Dog!

A few weeks ago, the Brown Dog was closed for vacation and so Sam and I had to make do on our own. The first Friday, we made a batch of simple Buckwheat Pancakes (again from Vegan Brunch) that we topped with bananas and a bit of maple syrup.  Lovely.

Buckwheat Pancakes with Banana

The following week we stepped it up a notch.  At the end of 2010, Chad and I discovered a brilliant, hilarious, but sadly now defunct, television show that was shot in Vancouver, called Dead Like Me. The main characters, a motley crew of grim reapers, meet every day at a restaurant called Der Waffle Haus that serves all kinds of oddly named breakfast specials. One of those is the Banana Bonanza, which a Google search tells us is a stack of pancakes layered with bananas and maple syrup and then topped with cream. Umm… yes, please?

I present to you our version, the Sam-Lana Bonanza:

I do not have a large enough vocabulary to sufficiently describe the amazingness of this.

This was the stuff of my wildest pancake dreams. Look at those layers!! The base pancakes were the Grain-Free Lemony Almond Pancakes from Ricki Heller’s book Anti Candida Feast, the maple syrup was my favourite Grade B, and the topping was coconut cream.

Back at the Brown Dog!

I have no idea if Sam will grow up to be a pancake guy. As cool as that would be, I am also pretty excited to see what his own, unique thing might be, and if that means that he is a waffle boy or The French Toast Kid, or even if he turns out to be a savoury breakfast boy like his dad, then I guess we’ll just have one other breakfast item to enjoy together. I just really enjoy having the time with him every week to be together, and connect, and reflect.

Oh, and I also like the pancakes.

** Just to show how important the sugar really is, one morning we were eating pancakes and I vividly remember taking my first bite, and saying “there is something the matter with these pancakes”. After everyone at the table assured me that they were “just fine” and “exactly the same as always”, I refused to eat anymore because there was SOMETHING THE MATTER. I even said that it tasted like there was no sugar.  My Mom in particular looked at me like I was crazy.  Lo and behold, about an hour later, the measuring cup of sugar was discovered on the counter, and I was vindicated.  Pancakes need sugar!!


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