I adore Pancake Tuesday, and not just for the obvious reason that it gives me an excuse to indulge in tasty, tasty pancakes. It’s a day that also brings back warm childhood memories for me. I didn’t grow up in a religious household, but we did partake in many of the Christian traditions that have become the norm in Canada — Christmas, Easter and Shrove Tuesday (though we certainly never gave up any vices for Lent). My Mom made the best pancakes. I know everyone probably thinks that about their Mom, but “Ruth’s Pancakes”, as they were called by the many friends and family members who had the chance to taste them, were something special. We didn’t need Pancake Tuesday as an excuse to eat them, because the delicious cakes were also on the menu for many weekend brunches and even random breakfast-for-supper days. She’d make them into fun shapes, long before pancake art was a thing, and always let me eat way more than was necessary.
My Mom died just over four years ago, and since then I’ve realized just how many of my fondest memories of her, and of childhood, are ones that incorporate food and cooking. Food was love for my Mom, and it is for me too. Trying out a new recipe with my kids, or telling them stories about my family as we make a tried and true classic, is important to me. Emotion, nostalgia, that feeling of comfort and security that is especially treasured once you lose someone so close to you — all of these are ingredients in my best food memories. So of course I’ll be making “Ruth’s Pancakes” for supper tonight, to keep the tradition alive with my kids, and to feel just a little closer to my Mom.
4 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup oil
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 cups milk
2 cups flour
Separate eggs. In a small bowl, beat egg whites until stiff and stand in peaks. An electric hand mixer works best. Set aside. In another large bowl, beat egg yolks, sugar and oil until light and fluffy. Add baking powder, salt, flour and milk. Beat only until mixed. Fold in egg whites. Let stand for 5-10 minutes. Spoon batter into desired size, or fun shape, on to hot griddle and bake until bubbles begin to form on surface. Flip and bake until golden brown.
Following the NaPoWriMo.net prompt today to write a poem using the five senses. Was a bit short on time due to traveling, but did get some sense memory inspiration to write this short poem.
Inserting Our Daughters Into Memories Again
Even when they’re not with us, before they even were,
we remember them. Today it was on a plane, the last
time we flew to our once-home. The stench of jet fuel
filling the back of the cabin on take-off — how we worried
it might induce our youngest’s asthma. The sweet taste
of cold orange juice on our dry throats — remember how
our oldest called it orandu? The high-pitched shrieks
of a toddler, three rows back, tired and scared — we held
our girls, too. One on each of our laps. Their soft, warm
cheeks against ours as we intoned shh shh shh shh
like a prayer. And look, out the window. Those plush
clouds below. The sun’s spinning them into gold. Hurry,
take it all in before we blink and forget.
Last Day! Maybe that’s why I had high school on my mind…sort of feel like I used to at the end of a school year — happy it’s over, but a little sad to be leaving the daily comfort/routine/adventure/terror/awkwardness. Today’s prompt called for a “bygone” poem, which fit nicely with my nostalgia. Though, I think what I actually wrote is a “boygone” poem.
There was a boy I needed. Flannel shirt, black glasses, skinnier than his walk and taller than my dad. A boy who kept jack-in-the-boxing into my life, even though he went to a school way across town. A rich kid, probably, but I didn’t hold it against him. He liked drama. He liked Stone Temple Pilots. He liked rye and coke. He liked Anne Rice. This seemed like enough. We danced to Madonna’s ‘Rain’ and said we both hated it, but it’s gilded now. When I hear it, I can still feel the heat of his hand on my lower back, the smell of his Speed Stick, and the prickle in the place I wanted him to kiss.
Today’s prompt asked for a “What I meant to say” poem. I recycled/added to an older poem I had started, because it seemed to fit the prompt quite nicely.
No one ever believes the unwatched candle will burn down the house. Or things not said can turn to tumours. In his garden, knees to the dirt, the sting of thistle on his thumb, he remembers why he started that kiss all those years ago. Remembers the why, not the kiss itself. Heat beneath her maroon sweater, but not her tongue. Something festers. Some things fester for the better, he used to think. Last he heard, she was living in California. He wonders if she’s growing anything other than older.