I love Sunday mornings, when very lazily I get up from bed, wonder around the house for a while smelling the freshness of the new day. Everything is still, sleepy, cozy, and quite. I put on the burner some water to prepare my favorite, warming spice tea, then, I slowly approach my desk, sit down and start writing. The children are still dreaming in their warm beds on this cool, rainy September morning. They’ll be up soon with their roaring hunger ready to be satisfied. What brings more pleasure than to see your kids eat well, love food, be healthy, and be happy. I soon will stop writing and I’ll go mix up some pancake batter to make it ready when my children wake up. Especially my son Niccolo’ loves cooking and experiment with food, he is very often my little helper in the kitchen and he has been ever since he was very little. Yum yum, I get hungry myself thinking of the recipe I am about to mix up for this morning: buttermilk pancakes!
As I am writing, the first pancakes are sizzling on the skillet and the smell fills up the whole kitchen. The recipe I am about to share comes from an old notebook of mine and if I remember correctly it’s one of Martha Stuart’s creations. Anyway, here is the recipe so that you can try the heavenly taste for yourself!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 cups buttermilk
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 1/2 teaspoon for griddle
- 1 cup fresh blueberries (optional)
Heat griddle to 375 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, and 4 tablespoons butter; whisk to combine. Batter should have small to medium lumps.
Heat oven to 175 degrees. Test griddle by sprinkling a few drops of water on it. If water bounces and spatters off griddle, it is hot enough. Using a pastry brush, brush remaining 1/2 teaspoon of butter or reserved bacon fat onto griddle. Wipe off excess.
Using a 4-ounce ladle, about 1/2 cup, pour pancake batter, in pools 2 inches away from one other. Scatter with berries, if using. When pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around edges, about 2 1/2 minutes, flip over. Cook until golden on bottom, about 1 minute.
Repeat with remaining batter, keeping finished pancakes on a heatproof plate in oven. Serve with maple syrup.
Tip: To have the best results do not over mix the batter, it should have small to medium lamps, this will make light and fluffy pancakes.
Yummy, yummy it’s always party time when it’s pancake time in our house. The children love to pour small bits of batter next to the pancakes and cook them along. They call them “nibbleys” and they say: they taste fabulous!
I rejoice to think that I can convey the passion for food to my children, food is such an important matter in the life of people, once I heard somebody saying that the mental state of a person can be determined in relationship to the approach toward travel and food. This means that depending on how you relate to travel and food, you can be considered more or less healthy and free. Someone who takes food and travel with passion, enthusiasm, curiosity, trust, joy, and good humor is most certainly better off than someone who is anxious, scared, picky, fearful toward either of the two things. Since both travel and food are and have always been huge slices of our life I am trying my best turn the two things into fun.
Both my children attended a Waldorf school, and I myself attended courses to become a Waldorf kindergarten teacher. (For those who do not know what a Waldorf school is I highly recommend to look into it, because it is the most wonderful pedagogy and philosophy on how to raise children. It is based on Rudolf Steiner’s teachings). However, I could talk hours about the Waldorf topic, but I’ll leave it for another post, for now I’ll just refrain myself and tell you, that according to the Waldorf pedagogy and the Steiner philosophy children should be exposed to a great variety of foods from an early age, and expose them not only to how fruit and vegetables grow in the garden, but also to how to cook your food. The act of sharing, lovingly setting the table, placing fresh flowers, lighting a candle, singing a short song all together to show gratitude and to celebrate the food are little gestures that turn mealtime into a really special moment.
I remember my children being fairly small and help me chop vegetables while making soup, digging up dirt, planting bulbs, and flowers, watering the vegetables in our garden all things that made all of us happy and satisfied. Back when they were very little we lived in a farmhouse in Michigan and we created for ourselves a little corner of paradise where life was full of joy and very slow. We lived a little bit like Tasha Tudor, the old lady who lived in Maine, author of the most beautifully illustrated children’s books ever written in the U.S. I remember once, reading in one of her books, in which she was describing a religion she and family had invented, called “Stillwater”, she wrote: “Stillwater is really a state of mind, it connotes something very peaceful, you see, life without stress. nowadays people are so jeezeled up. If they took some chamomile tea and spent more time rocking on the porch in the evening listening to the liquid song of the hermit thrush, they might enjoy life more.” That is exactly how we liked to think of our selves: sitting on the porch rocking in our chairs, cooking, gardening, canning and so on.
Our children behold the future, the hope for a new generation, a generation that will transform this world, make it into a better place, a kinder, more loving place, where people live in peace and rise by lifting others. Never before in human history have we faced such an opportunity for growth. Don and Jeanne Elium state in their book “Raising a Son”: “Men are no longer masters of the world of work, and women no longer own the world of the home. Humans, both male and female, are challenged to stretch to our full size – assuming the proficient skills of the hunt and the nurturing ways of the hearth. Nothing less than strength, boldness, a sense of adventure, insight, courage, and leadership joined with gentleness, sensitivity, caring, kindness, and understanding will see us into the future.” They continue saying: “Learning to cook for their families offers a perfect metaphor for teaching boys [and girls] to care [not only for their family and friends, but also] for a larger society, with all its needs, ills, differences, and values”.
I am amazed to think about how much my children have thought me since they came in my life. With a heart full of gratitude I’d like to end this post with a quote from Tasha tudor’s book, which summarizes one of the most important lessons I learnt: “Life is to be enjoyed, not saddled with…The gloom of he world is but a shadow, behind it, yet within our reach is joy. Take joy!