CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Over the years we have been building a collection of children's books that share the story of food and family. Additionally, we have always enjoyed selecting this genre at the library where there are lots of fun titles to choose from.
A book we reach for again and again is Eric Carle's beautiful story "Pancakes, Pancakes!" We get inspired to make pancakes per Jack's persistent request, "Mother, I'd like to have a big pancake for breakfast."
His busy mother is happy to fulfill his request, but reminds him that he must help gather the necessary ingredients. Jack goes about productively collecting everything they need: wheat from the field, which the miller grinds into flour; eggs from the backyard hen; milk from the spotted cow. Jack also churns some of the milk's cream into butter and is finally ready to take to the stove (which is actually an open fire).
This classic story is a great reminder of where our food comes from. This is critical to know now that we have fast-forwarded to a time where meals have become available in an instant. These heat-and-serve options might be fast, but do we know what's inside those colorful packages? Most factory-made foods contain things that we wouldn't consider to be food. Artificial colors, flavors, preservatives. And seriously long ingredient panels.
Jack's simple pancake recipe has just a few everyday ingredients, and in our fast-paced time, we most likely don't have to forage for flour. In my book, simple is delicious, even if it takes a few fun-filled minutes to cook.
This is the pancake recipe I was raised on. Friends always wanted the sleepover to be at my house because they claimed my mom made the best pancakes.
It's a perfect recipe to make with kids. I like to encourage kids to make an "X" and an "O" with syrup to help as a 'serving size' (make that West Virginia maple syrup!)
Grassy Meadows Maple Syrup is made on a maple grove in Greenbrier County -- Larry and his brother boil 50 gallons of sap to make just 1 gallon of syrup. It's a delicious treat and a great pancake topping.
Call Larry at 304-561-7433, and he might still have a quart or so to sell.
Homemade pancakes are so easy -- this is my most requested recipe!
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons wheat germ (optional)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda