Our household had a family tradition that I would make pancakes for brunch every Saturday. I started when Margaret and I were first married, and I distinctly remember making her tiny little pancakes for Nate, when he was still in utero (she is now off pancakes of the conventional kind) since we’ve learned that she has celiac disease and can’t digest gluten). When the boys were little, I used to astound them by producing pancakes with their initials on them. Once, Nate was in a mood and demanded the Lord’s Prayer on his pancake (I got about as far as “who art in heaven,” if I recall).
As the boys grew up and moved away, as Pippa’s wake-up time and appetite departed from regular interest in mid-morning pancakes, we fell away from the habit. I will confess that I felt a pang of regret that my paternal trademark had become redundant, but I suppose that sort of thing happens as humans get older.
This morning, Pippa stumbled downstairs and asked, “Do you think we have the ingredients for pancakes?” (What she doesn’t know is that I would have walked to D & D Finer Foods barefoot to obtain any missing ingredient if it would make it possible for me to flip pancakes for her.) We did, and I did; the decades of experience had not deserted me, as the resulting flapjacks were golden brown and delicious. Since occasionally people express surprise at the way I prepare my pancake batter, I thought I’d provide the recipe:
Dad’s Copyright-Free Pancake Recipe
First, decide how many people you plan to stuff. For two people, you ought to be able to satisfy them at the “N = 1” level; from there, you make sure you have ingredients according to the following formula: N cups of milk, N * 1.5 eggs (round up), and N cups of flour.
Mix the eggs into the milk (we use soy milk or rice milk, in order to maintain our New England hippy cred), and beat the bejeebers out of them.
Gradually add the flour to the egg-and-milk mixture.
Sprinkle some Baking Powder in the batter. I always use Clabber Girl Baking Powder, because I get a charge out of saying “Clabber Girl” with a weak Irish lilt to my voice. Sometimes I do it two or three times, which may have something to do with my family’s loss of interest in pancakes. “Some” means “enough that when you mix it in, the batter bubbles gently.”
Add a shake or two of salt. If N > 2, add three or four shakes.
Pour a splash of oil (we prefer organic canola oil) into the batter. Size of splash should be proportional, of course, to N.
Finally — and this is a vital ingredient — pour some of the maple syrup (that’s real maple syrup, ain’t no “corn syrup-with-caramel-coloring-and-artificial-flavor pseudo-maple syrup”) into the batter. Just a dite.
Heat a griddle over a medium stove. Pour six- or seven-inch disks of batter; brown on Side One until they turn easily. Serve with butter and maple syrup since, as everyone knows, pancakes are merely syrup delivery vehicles anyway.
Consume with gusto.