Saturday, February 13, 2010

Not Like Mom Makes

Following a recipe to the letter never guarantees success. There are nuances to preparing a food dish that just can not be captured on paper. Like most situations in life, there is simply no substitute for experience. We have all heard and used the saying, "The older I get, the smarter my parents get". Well that is certainly the case when it comes to trying to replicate a recipe my mother has perfected through the years.

I awoke this cold, crisp morning determined to make pancakes for breakfast. It had been a while since I had attempted the task and for some reason, I had a craving. The recipe for the dish was not too difficult to follow and I know it probably lacked that one ingredient that would have made them great. I forged ahead anyway, mixing milk and eggs with baking mix. I am certainly not a purist, as I stop short of mixing the dry ingredients from scratch. Baking mix is all ready to go requiring only the eggs and milk to make the batter. How much simpler could it be?

There are a myriad of variables that come into play that combine to have an effect on the outcome. Adding basic ingredients in just the right proportions, mixing them with the right amount of energy, properly adjusting the temperature of the pan in which they are cooked; these all must be done just right. Anyone who has ever enjoyed a pancake could tell the difference between good and bad. Light and fluffy is how I would describe a good one and the way mine turned out today is how I would describe a bad one. A stack of eight cakes should stand taller than 2 inches. But, when a key step in the process has been skipped or handled clumsily, this is what you get.

There are times when I wish I could tap into the resources my Mom has to offer. I can promise you she could describe perfectly how to make the perfect pancake so help should be as close as a phone call. But, somehow I get the feeling its not that simple. Kind of like getting Monet to give instructions on creating a beautiful scene on canvas.

Should it be a big deal that my flapjacks were really "flat"jacks? When you are as passionate about eating as I am, this is serious business. The next time I get a craving for a light and fluffy pancake, I believe I just may jump in the car and make the three hour drive to Mom and Dad's and experience once again the handiwork of a master. Thanks, Mom.

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