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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Perfect Pancakes

My children do not eat eggs, amongst many other things, even though only one of them is neophobic. They love the shape of eggs, holding eggs, playing with eggs, buying with eggs but not actually eating them. Whilst their diet is appalling it is just one of the many campaigns that we’re working on. Each child has a narrow diet and has very little overlap with the preferences of their siblings. Separate meals for each individual person with their own set of quibbles can be a challenge for the chef. So a couple of years back when junior entertained the possibility of eating pancakes for breakfast we considered this step to be a major breakthrough. At last we had found one meal where they would all eat the same thing as each other.

As usual, I was not content with this development and started tinkering with the ingredients. Changing the recipe of something that they already eat, is also a recipe for disaster but I forged ahead regardless. The goal? Egg consumption by stealth. Weeks of careful tinkering eventually produced two pancakes per child, one egg per pancake. Result each child ‘eats’ two eggs per week. Cost? One gallon of syrup per pancake consumed, not an idea ratio but another little something that we can tinker with. When I recall the delicate lacey crepes that my mother created I am tempted to hide in my own oven, but needs must where the devil drives.

Hence at their current ages of 9 seven and a half, and 6, after years of meticulous devotion my children consume pancakes with the consistency of India rubber. They’d double as Frisbees if one were so inclined. Not so much a culinary tour de force as reinforced tyre material.

As side issue, which is the one I wanted to discuss was the ‘perfection’ aspect of the pancake in question, not it’s consistency, but it’s shape. A perfect pancake in this household is round. Not only is it round, it is perfectly round. In fairness I only need to make one in three, is perfectly round and ensure that junior is the recipient of my efforts, if I wish him to participate in the eating extravaganza. It’s a very simple formula for success; if it is round he will eat it, if it is not round he won’t and no amount of syrup will persuade him otherwise. Even if you hold out and represent the irregular pancake at snack time, lunch time, next snack time and supper time, be assured that this is a battle that you, or rather ‘I’, am not going to win. I have no idea what perils of consumption worry him so inordinately on this matter, but he will not be budged.

However, during my temporary check out period following surgery, my domestic duties have been severely curtailed. Spouse, the original pancake make of some 15 years experience entered the fray and took up the griddle. Whilst I would like to say that they all cheered him on in his efforts, this would be less than truthful. I had the pleasure of witnessing the presentation of the first tear shaped pancake. The noise that cracked open from his lungs assured the neighbour that he had just been slain to the floor with a stake through his heart. Fortunately he was speechless with shock, so outraged at the concept of non roundness. Even when the screaming subsided he was only capable of half sentences:
“what? / it can’t be / no / never / not elipse / aghhh.” On reflection spouse and I concurred that a non round shape might have been an option if the pancake had been a recognizable and familiar shape. A preferred shape might even have brought additional rewards, but a trapezoid on a early Sunday morning didn’t enter our thought processes, well it doesn’t often, does it?

The other two chomp away oblivious to his angst and make unhelpful comments;
“Hey it looks like a tear and he’s crying!”
“Mine is like a , like a …er. …..it is shaped like a squidgey moon!”
“Actually, it looks like an egg too!” Everyone turns to look at junior’s plate. Everyone mutters in agreement, it does sort of look like a pointy egg. Junior allows his eyes to sweep over his own plate, whereupon he sputters in awe, “it is! It is like an egg! I love it, eggs are my favourite!”

1 comment:

kristina said...

Charlie has yet to eat an egg in any form and I am completely pathetic in the pancake making department. It doesn't matter what the shape!

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