What (else) is flat as a pancake?

`

It was during this Sunday’s early a.m., where I found my larder shy of several key pancake ingredients, feeling zero desire to mask-up for an impulse visit to my in-town, price gouging supermarket, YET, still hungering for the damned flapjacks! Oh, what to do?

Well, for starters, it didn’t take much effort to free-associate what else is flat as a pancake.

Hence, right after I finished cooking up / serving up my (daily) bowlful of oatmeal, I quickly rinsed the double boiler free of lingering goo, dried it and tossed in an experimental slice of cracked wheat bread.

By the time I had finished my cereal, this steamy, piping hot mock pancake was table ready. Upon plating it, pouring on the syrup and refilling my coffee cup, the moment of truth had arrived!

Not all that surprisingly, this substitute proved the best invention since (what else?) sliced bread; just as tasty as most other made-from-scratch pancakes. Then again, why would it not? Just read any loaf’s label. Obviously, bread and pancakes do boast many, in common ingredients.

“Department of Afterthought” commentary: Had I warmed the bread a tad longer, it could’ve even morphed into a crunchy mock waffle.

To transcend this morning’s “mmm” moment now comes my “hmm” summation…

While I’d never toss / recycle any of my cherished, handed down from generation-to-generation, pancake recipes (the cards still neatly filed in my late mother’s recipe box), I do know that, in a pandemic related pinch, an acceptable alternative can be found to sidestep nearly any non-problem; such as this one.

Beyond that, this morning’s experiment also proved to be a practical application of the proverb…

“Necessity is the mother of invention.”

`

`

Stay Publicly / Properly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!

-30-

`

`

`

`

`

Expectations Bar @ Lowest Setting?

`

For my midnight repast, scant hours ago, I “auditioned” some new (to me) “cuisine”; i.e., upon emptying one can of Campbells’ Condensed Tomato Soup, approximately one and one half soup cans’ worth of H20 and tossing in 57 grams (2 ounces) of elbow pasta into the shallow top half of a double boiler (which also does double duty as my serving bowl / trough). After 40 minutes of simmering and frequent stirring (to prevent pasta sticking) this concoction wound up pleasantly thickened.

At that juncture everything was dining room table bound; where I pigged out and found this dish to be delish. The next batch I cook up, I plan on seasoning with garlic, basil and black pepper.

Now, just to prove this post has not been a total waste of your time; namely, that this blogger is worth his salt, let’s stir in a heapin’ helpin’ of sodium “fun” facts.

Check out this soup starter. We mustn’t buy into this (or any other) soup can’s label, which attempts to huckster the contents as heart healthy; certainly not with 410 mg of sodium per serving and 2 and one half servings per can. And, admittedly, I did consume the entire can’s worth; that’s 1025mg; nearly one half of the acceptable level! YIKES! Compare / contrast the above data to the RDA enhanced advisory below:

“[Salt-wise] most Americans eat too much of it —and they may not even know it. Americans eat on average about 3,400 mg of sodium per day. However, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day—that’s equal to about 1 teaspoon of salt!” Apr 2, 2020

Google Search Results May 7, 2021

And, it’s fair to say that salt addicted citizens are not uniquely American, too.

Anyway, seeing how my supper involved the only over-salted product I consumed during the past 24 hours, I’ll likely survive unscathed.

So, beyond my presentation of heart smart data, what does any of this prove?

Well, this post has been LESS about showcasing my limited abilities as a chef; MORE about pointing out how I’ve become too easy to please; all “courtesy” of the pandemic. Might any of that describe you, too? If so, salt may be the least of our probs, eh?

Perhaps that’s to be expected? When all’s said and done, we discover how many a small-thinker “world leader” along with that mindless microbe have been conspiring to set humanity’s expectations bar to lower than low.

`

Stay Publicly / Properly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!

-30-

`

`

`

`

`

Trying Times Got You Down? Try This Recipe!

 

One of the better ways to avoid crying through any crisis is to dry our eyes long enough to serve up and chow down on some comfort food… one fave of mine being flapjacks, pancakes, crêpes (whatever we choose to call ‘em).

PROBLEM: After Coronavirus had morphed into a pandemic, I needed to determine how long I could hunker down before risking a trip to the grocery store. Ergo, I took inventory of my limited larder. It was then and there that I spotted that half-full bag of flour, one nearly full container of baking powder and a recently opened bottle of pancake syrup. Oh so close… yet so far. I had to let out a sigh.

OH WHAT TO DO? Seeing how it’s unwise to flip off perishable ingredients’ expiration dates, I had been forced to use up my supply of fresh eggs, way too soon. However, considering my still half full, stamped with a mid-May expiration date carton of milk and good till mid-July quarter stick of butter, I felt a sudden surge of desperation inspired inspiration.

SOLUTION: I decided to twerk an old family recipe… WHOA… correct that typo… oh what the hell… that got me chuckling and seeing how we could all use a good laugh, I’m leaving it, as is (STET would be the printer’s instruction). Now where was I? Oh yeah…  I decided to tweak an old family recipe and wound up serving up a rather tasty stack of flapjacks this early a.m.

EPIPHANY: Seeing how we’ve all been living through trying times, I’ve decided to share my new (twerking-free) Bare Minimum Flapjacks recipe and encourage each pancake aficionado, worldwide, to try your hand at whipping up the following recipe…

DISCLAIMER: Being mindful that most folks usually opt out when it comes to cooking from scratch projects, I’ve opted to over-explain much of this process. To be sure, the more experienced you are, the more you’ll be able to flip off these instructions. That said… let’s get cookin’…

CHECK LIST: You’ll need to gather the following paraphernalia and ingredients…

• medium mixing bowl (1.4 ltr / 1½ qts) (a good sized salad bowl will do)
• 25.5 cm / 10 in diameter cast iron griddle (I never tried it, but maybe a frying pan?)
• 0.95 ltr / 1 qt sauce pan (a bit of “overkill” since we’re only melting 1 pat of butter)
• ½ cup measuring cup (or even a coffee cup that’s the same diameter top to bottom)
• dinner table soup spoon
• teaspoon
• butter knife
• rubber spatula (or, in a pinch, washed hands’ fingers will do)
• metal spatula (I find the long handled variety best for flipping pancakes)
• medium sized double boiler or oven container (to house completed pancakes)

• ½ cup of wheat flour (slightly packed… btw… I prefer unbleached)
• ½ tsp sugar (a good guesstimate is amt. we typically add to our coffee cups)
• 1 tbsp (slightly heaping) baking powder
• 1 pat of butter (width = 3 mm / 1/8 in)
• 1 tbsp canola oil (most other cooking oils will probably be OK)
• ½ cup milk (I prefer skim but lowfat or whole will do)

METHOD STAGE 1: On a warm setting, preheat your griddle and storage container (that cooktop double boiler or oven container). Melt the butter in the small pan and set aside. Next, prep the dry ingredients. In the bowl, form and center a flour “well” where you’ll dump in the measured out sugar and baking powder. Next add the canola oil and milk. Mix slowly until the batter is lump free and shiny.

NOTE: Pancakes tend to stick at the very center of my griddle, which can make for flipping difficulties. Assuming this prob is not unique, I recommend divvying up melted butter, thusly…

METHOD STAGE 2: First spill most of the butter into the batter (while reserving a wee bit to spill, dead center, on the griddle). Increase your griddle temp setting a bit higher and then thoroughly blend the rest of the butter into batter for another 2 – 3 minutes. When the griddle just begins to smoke, start that first pancake (while pouring the batter, divvy it up while keeping in mind that you’ll be making four). Frying time will take approximately 80 seconds per side. Times can vary but there are some helpful clues, for example, when the batter starts to bubble. And there’s no law against crouching and slightly lifting the pancake’s edge to see how brown it is.

You can expect to wind up with approximately four 9 cm / 3.5 in diameter pancakes (I intentionally keep them on the small side to facilitate flipping).

That’s it! Serve ‘em up with plenty of pancake syrup (or whatever other topping you may have on hand… oh… say… some strawberry jam?).

FINAL STEP: ENJOY!

 

 

 

 

 

Then One Foggy Christmas Morn (Part 5 / Denouement)

Here are the links to parts ONETWOTHREEFOUR

My conflicting emotions go to war on the battlefield of the mind, as I soldier onward, on my December 25th walk at dawn. One faction symbolizes fond memories of hometown Christmases past… the other cabal represents the unmemorable hometown of Christmas present.

In the scant hour, since this all began, the still unseen, rising sun has gradually, somewhat lightened up the blue / gray overcast… driven off a bit of the misty swirling fog.

My observations inspired, recurring question:

“What the hell good is change within a community when there’s no apparent, appreciable betterment of society?

This brings to mind the recent bulldozing of, yet, another Elementary school. That I had never set foot within it, is really not the issue. What is, is what eventually got built in its bulldozer leveled footprint… how the city fathers and mothers had thumbs upped a crass, subdivision developer’s master plan / plot to construct dozens of butt ugly, gargantuan, too cookie cutter and closely spaced, boxy, monstrosity “mansions”.

They remind me of Star Trekian Borg Cubes with tacked on aluminum siding. True, that’s an exaggeration… the siding is not aluminum.

I’m now free associating Malvina Reynolds’ song, Little Boxes, and suspect this will become an all walk long… maybe even all Christmas Day long earworm.

• Why couldn’t the locally empowered have opted, instead, for more affordable and aesthetically pleasing housing?

• How could they justify the negative impact of too damned much, rich, arable soil getting paved over… how that can only worsen world hunger and global warming… the one-two punch that threatens the very extinction of humanity!

Far be it from me to fault folks who are successful beyond their wildest dreams. However, their dreams become our nightmares when high elective office morphs them into the high and mighty. This, for the most part, is what draws the new town vs. old town battle-lines.

And what’ll be next? Gated communities with posted signs warning the commoners to KEEP OUT? Will the mayor wind up in his UnWelcome Wagon’s driver’s seat? Hanging his head out the window to blast over a bullhorn, his bullcrap, “GET OUT” message to the masses? Will he be presenting the key to the city to some vigilante (such as George Zimmerman)?

If any town buys into “of, by and ONLY for the wealthiest of the wealthy”, then commoners, such as I, become class war casualties.

And what then would become of my Chrismases, yet to come? Might one of those walks… uh… the final one… find me outward bound from the main drag’s City Limits sign… unjustly banished… forever run out of town by well-heeled heels?

Well… at least for the time being… my Christmas walk now sends me seeking out the comfort of hearth and home… the house I had inherited from my folks. I’ll soon be scaring up some comfort food, too. Instantly coming to mind is a stack of mouth watering, made from scratch, fresh off the griddle pancakes… all doused with maple syrup and washed down with fragrant, freshly brewed coffee.

All the more reason to pick up my pace. And an even better reason… to leave the new town reality behind me.

No truer words were ever committed to paper than lyricist Kim Gannon’s “I’ll be home for Christmas / If only in my dreams” and author Thomas Wolfe’s adage, “You can’t go home again.”

The poignancy of it all can easily well up tears in the eyes.