Mmmmm Shrove Tuesday! Maybe in those 'vitally important things' I should have said how much I LOVE pancakes! They are a firm favourite in our house, and we all get very excited at the start of February. Every year, we say "They were fabulous, we really should have them all the time instead of just once a year"! Every year, pancakes get forgotten and ignored until the following February. Well, it is just such an effort isn't it?
You were nodding at that weren't you? And then caught yourself and thought huh? Pancakes aren't an effort... Well they are in my house! It isn't the pancakes exactly, it's the quantities. Pints of batter beaten and put to rest. Tell a lie. Batter doesn't get put to rest here, because I never actually get around to making it until the last minute. But I do get the concept that it should be made in advance, so I push it towards the back of the counter while I get the pan out. There, enjoy your rest? More rest than I ever get, chunter... oops, sidetracked there.
Anyway, PINTS of batter. A table laden with different toppings (today: lemon, sugar, jam, syrup, chocolate spread, fuzzy cream, ice-cream). Children dribbling, husband slavering, knives and forks ready, empty plates in front of them, and the conveyor belt begins... make a pancake, stir a pancake, pop it in the pan... fry the pancake, toss the pancake, catch it if you can. Tip it on an empty plate, give it to your starving mate. Make another, give it to someone else, make another, the first one finished already? Make another... and so on. No decorum in this house. No carefully cut greaseproof paper separating the cooked pancakes and all sitting together en famille, as a more civilised household might do. Feeding time at the zoo more like.
I made around 30 pancakes. If you figure 2-3 minutes per pancake, that is an hour and a half at the coal face... I mean stove-top. Oh, my aching back. Of those, guess how many I got? THREE. And those only because I started slapping little fingers and hoarded the last dregs of batter in the bowl for myself.
I sat at the table with my measly three pancakes, fork ready and waiting to stab stealing hands. I felt a small hand at my knee. "Mama". I look down. The Babe stares up, lips aquiver. "Mama, me?" The Babe has never called me Mama before. She can say many words but never says Mama. Dammit child, you had to choose NOW to learn a new word??
I haul her onto my knee and together we share the last pancake. And, oh, was it sweet.