There is something utterly enticing about a lazy afternoon. The smell of freshly cut grass fills my lungs with warmth and security. Shadows appear to dance gracefully across the walls. The calming voice of Frank Sinatra gently flows from the radio speakers. The cast iron skillet beckons me to the kitchen. The warmth of the sun and the coolness of the springtime air from the open windows convinces me to stay a while longer. The table is set, the flowers in bloom and the coffee is freshly brewed. Let’s have a mid-afternoon brunch.
It’s the first week of summer vacation. The intoxicating aromas of "no-more-study" weekends and "mornings-free" joyfully parade themselves through the air with staccato beats of flare and delight. Having zero summer classes to worry about, I find myself with more time for food, writing, and soulful wandering. I find myself thinking more deeply about food and the connection it shares with my life. I ponder the meaning of terms such as; bite, taste, savor and eat and what that ultimately means for me as a food blogger. Food has given me far beyond what I can give back in return. Food has inspired, angered, pleased, stressed, depressed, impressed, and helped shape me into the man I am today. Food is an unforgiving teacher and the perfect companion.
This last Wednesday was as mundane as late spring days come. The pastel colored clouds beckoned the coming of rain. Trickles of sunlight glistening through the stratospheric layers of clouds. The air was calm, and the house lay silent. The day had presented itself the perfect time to stay in and have a brunch. The desire for pancakes has been uncontrollable lately. The void these little clouds of sweet, buttery goodness have bestowed upon my life has left me distraught and hungry. I looked in the fridge for guidance. Two zest-free lemons met my wandering gaze. They looked bare and exposed. Their citrus yellow skin had been long zest away after a failed strawberry-rhubarb tart. What remained were bitter memories and naked lemons.
What the pancakes became were something far beyond my imagination. The perfect combination of poppy seeds and lemon gave the pancakes a tart bite that blended with their subtle sweetness effortlessly. Apparently, my Father and Jon hate the taste of lemons. I’ve made multiple dishes with lemon flavor in the past, and they never said a word. A few months ago, I found out from Momma Crawford, after making a lemon risotto, that they disliked anything and everything lemon or citrus flavored in food. I felt cheated and betrayed!
Momma Crawford and I were able to sit down together and enjoy each other’s company over a heaping platter of pancakes and thick sausage patties. This pancake recipe has been in my family for years. These were always a childhood favorite of mine. It’s from Momma’s old Betty Crocker cookbook, which she has had for years. The binding is frail, and the pages bent, used, torn, and stained, but every recipe in that book is stellar. In the end, these pancakes show that life can get a little sour, but you can always find something sweet, if you open your eyes and add a little syrup.
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups flour
- 1 ½ cup milk
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 6 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 1-2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- Pre-step: Fry up some bacon and have a lazy-day brunch.
- Step One: Beat eggs with a hand mixer or whisk until eggs become fluffy. Beat in the remaining ingredients until smooth. For thinner pancakes: Add a ½ cup more of milk.
- Step Two: Grease up a griddle or cast iron pan with vegetable oil. Tip: Test if the oil is hot enough by sprinkling a few drops of water. If the bubbles skitter around, the heat is just right. With every new batch of pancakes, want to add a quarter-size worth of oil to the pan to maintain heat.
- Step Three: Take a ladle, fill it halfway with batter, and pour onto the hot griddle. Cook pancakes until puffed and golden brown around the edges, or when many bubbles begin forming on top of the pancakes. Turn and cook until the other side of golden brown as well. Keep warm by layering them on a plate in between paper towels. Serve immediately.