The griddle of my childhood sat dutifully atop the stove on Old Clairton Road, across from the kitchen booth just this side of the dining room doorway. Its weight required substantial preheating before the flame was turned down, the ultimate pancake being created on residual heat. Mom stabbed a fork into a hard cube of butter and slid the chunk across the hot iron. It screamed across the griddle, bubbling into a golden brown pool which she spread in an even layer across the seasoned metal. When the liquid music stopped, she whipped the batter bowl with the back of a spoon, then poured exquisitely even puddles of liquid Bisquick onto the griddle. She stood for what seemed a methodically precise period of seconds, her head cocked to the side. Eventually she lifted the corner of one pancake with the thin edge of her spatula, peeking at the color underneath as she evaluated the bubbles on the surface. “When the bubbles pop, and the holes don’t fill in, then it’s time to flip.” She taught me, at a rather young age, how to judge the turnability of the perfect pancake. The perfect pancake, to me, was golden, and not too large, and not too thick. And it was slathered with good fresh butter, maybe some fresh raspberry freezer jam, or good runny apricot jam, some chokecherry syrup, or home made syrup made with sugar water and maple flavoring. There was a time when margarine worked, but that was during that mistaken decade of the 70’s when butter had a brief false encounter with nutritionists who thought its value was inferior. For me a plain old golden Bisquick pancake with butter and only butter was divine.
I still like Bisquick, but it is way over priced for my liking. Instead, I whip up home made pancakes nearly every time my grand kids sleep over. I keep a Post-It note with the recipe inside my baking cupboard door. Saturday morning is for cartoons, and wearing pj’s all morning, and pancakes, or French Toast. French Toast fingers with plenty of good fresh butter, generously sifted with powdered sugar. That, or tiny pancakes, for tiny fingers.
1 ¼ flour
2 t baking powder
¼ t salt
1 T sugar
I beaten egg
1 cup milk (adjust to make batter fairly runny)
2 T vegetable oil or melted butter
Mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients. Beat with whisk. Batter should be thin. Pour onto hot griddle. When bubbles pop but do not fully fill in, flip pancake.
¼ c milk
We use non-nutritious delicious soft white bread
Whip together 2 eggs. Roughly 4 T milk, and ½ t pure vanilla. Melt butter on a hot griddle. Dip bread in egg mixture, cook on griddle, flip when golden brown. Slather toast with butter while hot and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Or to make it extra special, add sliced strawberries and whipped cream.