It’s one of my favourite days, there’s no denying it. Despite this fact, I’m never prepared and it always creeps up on me. Wasn’t it Christmas just last week? Time really does seem to speed up the older you get.
My mum is the best pancake maker in the world. Bar none. She has no official title, nor has she taken part in any competitions. She doesn’t need to, the other opponents would only feel humiliated by her pancake making prowess. She keeps it simple, old school if you will, the memorised Delia Smith recipe is called into play, doubled or tripled depending on who’ll be there – or how hungry we are.
The pan has to be right, heavy enough, but none of this non stick malarkey, quite big too, sure why would you want a small pancake? She couldn’t tell you were she got the pan, or how long she’s had it for but we all know it’s used for one thing and one thing alone. Pancakes.
We’d come home from school and be ushered to do our homework. Protesting.
Please can we have one now? A taster?
No. You can have as many as you want at dinner time.
Dinner time? But we can’t wait that long. Caroline had them for breakfast and so did the Hewsons.
Well we’re having them for dinner. Go do you homework please or there will be none.
We scarpered. The threat of a pancake less evening had worked. Homework was done with attention that was normally only reserved for works of FIMO. And then it began.
The smell of butter gently melting on the pan would start to waft up the stairs, accompanied by the sound of the ‘tester’ pancake sizzling away. With a speed that would rival Flo Jo we would race down, elbowing each other out of the way. Who can make it first to the table. We take our seats, mouths watering. Lemon and sugar laid out on the table. We’re traditional in our home. It’s lemon and sugar or nothing.
Are they ready?!
No, I’m waiting for the pan to heat up.
The first one was always reserved for the dog, she sat like a coiled spring, ready to devour her favourite food. I’m sure the vet would not have approved of her pre lent diet, but she lived til the grand old age of 13. Maybe she was onto something.
Who gets the first proper one – we took it in turns.
You got it last year. No I didn’t. Momentary huffing until the second one arrived.
Sugar sprinkled across it, then a squeeze of lemon. Watch the pips. Rolled up, a lick of the fingers, more sugar sprinkling and a final squeeze of lemon.
And then there was silence and the sound of content chewing.
This year I’m making them for my mum, the batter was made this morning, to the same recipe, doubled as is tradition. The pan is ready. Waiting to fulfill it’s yearly duty; to make near perfect pancakes. We’re adding our own tradition, including a choice of nutella, maple syrup and berries as well as sugar and lemon. Mine will never be as good as my mum’s, but here’s hoping that in the year’s to come, Little A will feel the same way about my pancakes.
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