Pancakes for dinner, hold the eggs 2014.09.10

Pancakes for dinner; hold the eggs

the section from a previous column about rosie deviating from a recipe could probably be deleted. there’s no real transition, but is there enough to fill the rest of the page? the column would be 3687 characters if I deleted that section.


For dinner Sunday night I made Southern Pecan Pancakes from my favorite cookbook, “Eat, Drink and Be Chinaberry: favorite recipes from Chinaberry’s family and friends.” The cookbook is just divine and comes from the best catalog known to parentkind, and now, grandparentkind.

As I mentioned once in a previous column, “the absolutely wonderful Chinaberry catalog which used to offer just books, now has a selection of games, gifts, toys, and other products you didn’t know you couldn’t live without like Click, the little gizmo that takes away the itch of mosquito bites.”

I’ve been getting the Chinaberry catalog for so long, that when I order on the phone, the person always comments on how low my customer number is, “Wow, you’ve been with us for a LONG time!” It’s probably been close to 30 years because Ben was just about three when I discovered the catalog on a trip to Maine, and he is soon to be 32...same age as Chinaberry.

They have lots of other interesting-sounding cookbooks (“101 Things To Do With Ramen Noodles,” “The Art of Slush,” “College Cooking: Feed Yourself and Your Friends,” and “Perfect Recipes for Having People Over” among them), but it seems they no longer offer the “Eat, Drink and Be Chinaberry” one. Sorry about your loss.

The Chinaberry cookbook is a collection of recipes from the company’s employees and customers across the United States. It makes you wish you lived in Free Union, Virginia just to be friends with Patrice Kyger who offered up her recipe for Summer Szechuan Chicken. It’s so good I figure she must have a stable of equally delicious dishes she’d share with a new friend. The same goes for the Rasmussen-Markwell family of Rickreall, Oregon and their Seriously Garlic Salad. Peanut Butter Chocolate Chippers, Black Bottom Cupcakes, Possibly the World’s Best Chocolate Cake—all in the Chocolate Oblivion chapter—are just delectable.

I’d made the pecan pancakes a couple times before, so instead of whipping out the cookbook I decided to just wing it and follow the recipe as I recalled it. That’s never a good idea for me and pancakes: I am the world’s worst pancake maker. But when David and I tucked into these, we both commented on how good they were. Yes, they were burned in places because even though I know you should flip them when bubbles start to form, I ultimately get bored waiting and watching for the bubbles. I get involved in other stuff—reading the paper, checking email, writing checks—and inevitably burn them.

Still, they were pretty darn good. So good I made myself slog through the greens (steamed kale and steamed broccoli bits with balsamic vinegar and salt) David had made just so I could feel virtuous enough to eat another couple pancakes.

They were just that good—and then mid-way through dinner, David popped up to get something from the counter. 

“And what’s this?” he exclaimed.

“Ayyyyy!” I yelled,

The eggs! I had washed and then wrapped them in a half sheet of paper towel to dry. When I set them on the counter, the paper towel covered them. I totally forgot to add them to the liquid ingredients.

Usually when I monkey with recipes it involves substituting one ingredient for another—not totally leaving out what I would consider an essential ingredient.

A few years ago, I wrote about monkeying with recipes.

“Do you often deviate from recipes like I did with the cake and Maddie with the donut recipe?” I ask.

 “Yeah....remember the first time I made that Chinaberry Chicken Parmesan recipe? Haha, I don’t think I've ever done that much deviating.”

“I only vaguely remember that, but I think I wrote about it,” I said. “Remind me.”

“I don’t remember exact stuff, but I pretty much changed every single ingredient but the chicken,” she said.

How could I forget the eggs?

I’ll go ponder that question now, as well as these recent thoughts and questions from my three-year-old granddaughter, Caroline:

Sept. 8: “If I had 3 mouths I could talk a lot.”       

Sept. 8: “Where's my blood right now?”

Sept. 8: “Maybe when most people die and we not die maybe we can swing from the stoplights.”

Aug. 31: “Why everybody have two hands, Mommy? Why everybody have to die, Mommy?”