The Pancake Chronicles

The Pancake Chronicles: 薄煎餅

The Pancake Chronicles

Saturday, August 25, 2007


The world over cultures have their own take on the flapjack. Yup! We're talking pancakes. Up until about 15 minutes ago I thought the pancake was just a European/Western thing. But it turns out that people across this spinning orb have a unique way of saying flourmilkandeggsmixedtogetherandfriedinapan. Like the Chinese. And Russians - they say блин - not sure on the pronunciation of that but I'm pretty sure I can pronounce the Turks spin on it which is gözleme. They wouldn't know what I was saying but it would be very pronounced. All these pancakes - I kinda think that's cool. Millions of different same things.

It's hard to figure things out sometimes and sometimes
most times.

Urg. Can't I just get it "right" the first go? I've done this three times now and it's still not the way it should be. And um,
how many years have I been doing this? yet here I am again - looking at my cast iron frying pan saying "Make me a pancake. May it be golden on both sides, cooked through the middle and may they and the eggs and bacon be finished all at the same time. Amen." It's not a prayer - it's a hope. Maybe this time ....

How can a dumb pancake have one over on me like this? Why can't I get it? And why when I do get it I don't remember for the next time what I did the last time? The same lesson over and over - vaguely familiar but the particulars are fuzzy. But it's like it's new to me each try. How can this be? I should know by know. Shouldn't I?

Seriously, I have yelled, teared up and flung things over pancakes. Too runny, too burnt, too tastless. ARG. It's so simple! Everyone can do this but me! Why oh WHY can't I GET IT!!!!

I'm not sure what morning it was when I finally had it with me and my flapjack impatience but was it ever a good thing just to let it go. I snapped. In a good way. I was kind with me. I sat myself down and let me know in no uncertain terms that it was okay to not get it, to be a big fat pancake-making weenie. So now that the pressure's off it's
Adventures with Pannekoeken!

I'm a perfectionist. But it's ridiculous. I'm a perfectionist about all the wrong things - like perfomance and results and bottom-line. Meanwhile my soul is shuddering under the harshness of my words, my expectations.
Soul, how many times have we been over this? Aren't you listening? Even becoming patient, if I'm not careful, can quickly become a task - something that can be measured by dates and a clock. Soul, make me patient. May I not be too lenient, nor too harsh. May I be patient with myself always, never having a tantrum from this day forth. And oh the frustration when I realise it still hurts to fail and I berate myself for coming up short. Naturally I'm not just referring to the making of griddle cakes here.

I'm learning that it's more than okay to fail and that it's more than okay to hurt about it. And it's even okay to still not "get it" after the bajillionth time. The stories say more about me than doing it perfectly does.

The thing I hate sometimes? Conveying it. Writing it here. Somehow my struggle seems to get reduced to platitudes and proverbs and flat words. It's just never like that.
Despite the frustration, and because of it, I'll just keep showing up here, sharing my pancake chronicles.


Blogger Sonya said...

I thought about leaving a deep and meaningful comment, but then decided to tell you this instead: buy some pancake mix. As far as I know, there is no way to screw up on pancakes if you use store-bought mix. And they taste pretty darn good too! :)

26 August 2007 at 16:48  
Blogger The Lang Six said...

We just got back from camping where I am the 'pancake guy'. This time though I decided to cook them on a cast iron griddle on the coleman gas stove. I am with Sonya about doing the mix thing, we use Bisquick. I laughed heartily when you mentioned pancake flinging, I actually chucked a not-so-good one across the campsite after it burned on one side. Would you serve the pancake with the golden side up, even if the B side was black? hmmm, I did - to the kids, does this make me bad?? I think, thats a long comment...

27 August 2007 at 00:47  
Blogger Tips Of All Sorts said...

Wish I could share with you some pancake-knowledge...if only I have ever tried to make one at all! :-D

27 August 2007 at 23:26  
Blogger Michelle said...

Hi Colleen, you don't know me, but I'm a friend of Moni's. Your link is posted on her blog, and I guess I'm a lurker of sorts (just a nice word for spy or voyeur!!!!). Anyways, I enjoy reading your blog're a great writer! If it gives you any consulation, I suck at making eggs. They're always burnt on the edges, or I can't flip them at the right time without them falling apart. Mega frustrating! Luckily, my hubby hates pancakes so I haven't had to make those. He loves making crepes, though, so I figure, "Hey, why deprive the man of the priviledge of making breakfast?" Anyways, it's nice to meet you. And don't worry, I'm not weird. LOL!

28 August 2007 at 20:23  
Blogger emily ruth said...

i love this post...& i'm glad that you are trying to be easier on yourself & just give yourself credit for trying...& not giving up on trying is a pretty great thing to be known for pancakes i use pancake mix & i still can't get them right...the temperature is the key for me...i am too impatient & then they just burn & are raw inside...grrrr...but i have found a solution...three solutions actually...first (hang on to your hats low fat consumers) use butter, yes real makes them so beautifully golden & crispy around the edges & then you can just eat the edges & leave the raw middles for people who love pancake batter (do you know anyone like that? tell them they are invited to my house every other saturday or so)...two, butter, sugar, syrup & the fruit of your choice covers a multitude of icks ...three, take a tip from a three year old & just cover the entire concoction (sp?) with snow (aka powdered sugar) like Q does:) yummmm

28 August 2007 at 23:13  
Blogger Colleen said...

Sonya - what brand doth thou useth?

Lang 1 - fling that puppy! I WOULD serve the burnt one but being a food martyr I'd serve it to myself and pretend it was perfect.

Hi Clara - that's okay. I'm not sure MORE info would be helpful at this point. Just practice. I like that you've not made them before. Why conquer the world if you don't have to?

Hi Michelle and welcome! Weird or not I'm glad you're here. :) I don't mind if you spy. One doesn't always want to pipe up and one shouldn't have to. :) I hear ya on the eggs one. Oddly enough I can now usually turn out a good poached egg but still manage to screw up scrambled ones. Strange. Now crepes. I only DREAM about those! Someday though. Enjoy those hubby-made crepes on my behalf. I live vicariously throught you.

emilyruth - perfect! i adore butter, I lick all things batter, apple sauce and maple syrup - hooray! you are my kind of girl. so much more but just right for now.

29 August 2007 at 09:58  
Blogger Sonya said...

I use whatever box catches my fancy while I'm at the store. :)

29 August 2007 at 19:36  
Blogger Betsy77 said...

Yikey Mikey! Bleen- in Russian also is a swear word! LOL! Ps- I love your funky earrings- very becoming on you smiley! :)

30 August 2007 at 00:19  
Blogger Colleen said...

Son - you live on the edge, I can tell. ;)

Sug - Thanks, you!

30 August 2007 at 11:52  
Blogger Ed and Jenna said...

Colleen, I've been cooking meals for so many years now and I JUST last week made rice that wasn't sticky. Rice: that's rice, and water. 2 ingredients and I couldn't do it right. Some things you just hand over to the handy husband and let them master it. Eddie cooks the pancakes.

1 September 2007 at 17:12  
Blogger Colleen said...

Jenna - oh man. I always thought I hated rice until Mark made it when we first got married. You see my dad makes a sort of sloppy rice, shall we say, and it never thrilled me. I thought that's how rice was supposed to be - all runny and ... bad. So hooray for your rice accomplishment! That's awesome! One day I will make you a pancake and you can make me rice and we will congratulate each other on our achievements. :) I miss you.

2 September 2007 at 13:17  

any questions?

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