Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Pancake day - Saving the best 'til last

It's pancake day and I couldn't wait to get up and cook them for the girls this morning. The fact that I was cheating, and Aunt Bessie or Aunt Jemima or whoever was sat waiting on the kitchen side, is by the by. Indeed I felt quite smug, for as well as purchasing a ready-made mix, I had also purchased a lemon. How very organised of me.

Downstairs, radio on, and the three of us are all excited. I begin to read Auntie's directions. Add water, shake. That's it? I don't even need to crack an egg? Hell, I don't even need to put it in a bowl. It simply shakes in the carton. Definitely the way forward - sorry Ma if you're reading this. (Mum's an amazing cook and wouldn't approve).

So we're grooving and I'm cooking with gas. The pan is really hot. I pour the mixture on to the smoking oil and watch intrepidly. Esme shuffles from foot to foot, and for once it is not that she needs the loo. It is just that she gets it. Plain and simple, it is pancake day and pancakes are delicious! 

As I peer at the pancake in my pan, I see sadly that something isn't right. How can that be when this has been poured out of a packet? Surely these pancakes are idiot proof? I'm already baffled when...

...Just at that moment, Mr Whiter than bloody white himself begins talking on the radio to me. Raymond Blanc is commenting that a pancake is heavy and a crepe is light. I glance at mine. Oh dear, what I appear to have is a cross between the two - a crap pancake. Nevermind, Esme is none the wiser.

I big it up, bluffing my way. 'Darling, Mummy is going to toss this beautiful pancake of yours now. Ready? Watch.' 

It's a disaster. It doesn't budge. Refuses to flip. My eager 4YO shouts, 'Let me see Mummy, let me see.' There's nothing to see; it looks so un-pancake-like at this point. The look on her face says it all. I toss it again. This time in to the bin.

I start again. Hot pan, smoking oil. Less mixture. 'It's all about the batter,' says Raymond. 'No shit,' mouths I. What on earth is going wrong? 

'Oh Esme. Don't worry, the more you make the better they become. And anyway, the first one always goes in the bin darling.' I'm not sure what to say when the second one follows it. Esme's look of disappointment has been replaced with disillusion. Sofia sat in her highchair, just looks hungry.

From this point on I have better luck. Pancake numbers three and four make it on to a plate each for the children. I've given up with the flippin' tossin' malarkey and now carefully let an egg slice do the best it can. Not bad. 

Before long, Esme has enjoyed three pancakes and Sofia some more. Traditional sugar and lemon have been left aside for jam. I ought to have known.

Back at the stove top I'm dancing again for I've finally mastered a couple of really impressive crepes. I have truly saved the best 'til last. I turn to the kids, frying pan in hand and announce I'm about to flip again. I big it up even more than last time... and yes... it works, flipping perfectly. Brilliant! But what is more brilliant perhaps, is the look on Esme's face as she innocently asks, 'Mummy, is that one real?'


FOOTNOTE
I think that where I went wrong along the way was to let Esme Grace (my-ever-so-helpful 4YO) shake Auntie; for when I arrived at the bottom of the carton there were lumps of powder mix that had barely been kissed by the water. Perhaps this sheds some light as to why my foolproof pancake mix just wasn't all that?! Next year I fully intend to make them from scratch, although I think I'll probably practise first!