I woke up this morning and almost forgot it was Saturday. All the days are running together like over-easy eggs in a plate of gravy and grits. It’s one big hodgepodge of messy, maddening, fattening days.
So I settled into my morning coffee and began browsing this month’s Southern Living — it arrived yesterday, along with all its “South’s Best” lists.
All it managed to do was make me sad. Page after page of restaurants and resorts, gatherings and get-togethers. And we can do none of it. None. Nada. I can’t take a little road trip to try out the catfish joint outside Oxford or sip the craft cocktails in Savannah. But I can pretend.
And since it is, indeed, Saturday, I decided to pretend I’m visiting a well-established flapjack joint in Euharlee, Georgia. My persona is a traveling journalist for my favorite monthly magazine. So, without further ado…
If it’s Saturday morning in the Candela Kitchen, there’s pancakes on the griddle and bacon in the skillet. Head chef Heather’s been flipping hotcakes for over a quarter-century now, initially for her two growing daughters, but demand grew. Now she feeds a couple of growing kindergartners and a 300 pound Asian football coach. That’s a whole lotta pancakes.
Pancake Saturday is a tradition steeped in southern hospitality and warm Kroger syrup. Chef learned a long time ago, it’s not the cost of the ingredients, but the love put into the making.
As the dishes clank incessantly,the bacon sizzles tantalizingly, and the boys fuss occasionally (who are we kidding, those boys fuss incessantly… At least until they eat. Then all is right in their quarantined world), the pancakes rise.
Yes, that’s right. Rise.
Blame it on Joanna Gaines. It’s her recipe. And it’s the best pancake recipe this particular Chef has ever made. (By the way, she uses bacon grease and a touch of butter, adding even more wait time so the bacon can cook… but Holy Sweet Mother of Baby Jesus.)
They’re fluffy. (Like “so fluffy I could die” from Despicable Me fame. On my honor.) Which makes them well worth the worrisome wait.
Especially because the hush that falls over the Candela clan for half a hotcake second is quite possibly the only sound of silence that will be heard until next Saturday morning rolls around and Chef once more rolls out of bed so the pancakes can rise again.
And so it goes. Ad Nauseam. Chef’s 10th lit students recently learned this Latin phrase and now they’re living it. Talk about real-world application. (Hey, chef is also a teacher and she does what she can.)
So since we’re all stuck… er, safe… since we’re all safe here at home, how’s about we all share our favorite home cooking traditions from around our kitchens in this glorious United — at a safe, six-foot distance,of course — States.
Please. Please tell me your stories. Let’s tour each other’s kitchens and taste each others traditions from the virtual safety of our screens. And maybe, just maybe, stave off the inevitable insanity for just one more day…
By the way, if you want to try your own Joanna Gaines’ super-duper-fluffy-and-lengthy-rise-time pancakes, search the web for Magnolia Table Pancakes. You’ll be glad you did.
Love and Quarantine!
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