Sunday, January 27, 2013

How To Eat Pancakes

1. Take 17 years to order them

2. Don't go for a topping. Good ol' fashioned golden buttermilk flapjacks with salty butter and maple syrup is the way to go....excuse me, back up...did you say "take 17 years to order them?"

Why yes, I did, internal monologue. That's right. It might be around 17 years since I have ordered pancakes. For as long as I can remember, whenever going out for breakfast I have never ordered what I really wanted, instead opting for a breakfast that wasn't loaded in carbs. I have ordered hundreds of omelets, eggs over easy and fruit salads, but never do I dare order what I really want - french toast, pancakes, biscuits and gravy.

3. Choose any diner any where, the pancakes are sure to be the best damn pancakes you've had in far too long a time and not necessarily because they taste good, but because the taste of overcoming your own fears does taste so, so sweet.

I can't remember when I started caring about my weight. I was a skinny kid, an athlete, and I ran with the boys. But somewhere during the summer between freshman and sophomore year of high school when I suddenly had hips for the first time and sprouted boobs, and my hair turned frizzy, and one of the boys at school started calling me "Cheeks" for my curvaceous butt, I began to realize that the body I was inhabiting in my mind was no longer the body I was actually inhabiting. Soccer, softball, and good genes kept me pretty fit and thin through high school but once I hit college and organized sports stopped and birth control started, I found myself gaining the "freshman twenty-five." It took comfortably fitting into a size 14 pants for me to realize that I was almost double the size I was in high school. Having went through a traumatic event my freshman year of college, I had looked to food as comfort, and eventually Weight Watchers and a food addiction group for help.

4. Apply butter liberally, and syrup even more liberally.

I ended up losing that twenty five pounds and have yo-yo'd within 10-13 pounds of that weight for the last 13 years. I rest comfortably now at the lower end of this spectrum finding it impossible to dip lower than the number. And while there is always something in me that thinks if I just could lose four more pounds, six more, nine more, I'd be happy! I know that I look my best at this weight.

5. Realize all the bullshit you have been telling yourself about your body for most of your life is a crock of shit.

I think the end of last summer was one of the most "in-shape" periods of my life. I was running, spinning, taking kettlebell classes, pilates, even yoga here and there. I was playing soccer. I was kind of ripped and my arms were looking a little scary when I gripped them on the spin bike. But even then, the number on the scale was only four numbers lower than it is now and the workout schedule I had was a little sick, definitely compulsive, and completely unmanageable. When work picked up again and I had to let go of that schedule, I felt defeated. No matter how hard I tried, the world would forever keep me just four or five pounds away from my ideal and a soft belly to remind me when I'm eating too much bread.

6. Order a side of bacon and don't be afraid to dip it in that syrup.

Recently, I have been reading Gabrielle Hamilton's memoir Blood, Bones & Butter and for whatever reason her voice is piercing me in all the right places. She talks about working as a cook at a camp where she saw 8 year old girls who claimed they had allergies to dairy and wheat even though she was sure they were just imitating and acting out the fears their mothers had instilled in them about which foods make you fat. These young girls were not eating pancakes and it made me rethink why the hell I never ordered them anymore. When I was a kid, they were my favorite meal. More specifically, Saturday morning pancakes made by my Dad who can make no other dish. (Ok, maybe three others) But with pancakes, he is a damn expert. He would slab a liberal smear of butter on the grill and then pour thick buttermilk, unbleached white flour dollops onto the sizzling butter, giving the edges of the pancake that crispy salty edge with a light fluffy middle we would bury another sliver of butter in before drowning them in Aunt Jemima syrup. A glass of cold milk and cartoons completed some of the happiest mornings of my life.

Hamilton talks about her cooks all having a little belly from eating steak scraps and testing other dishes and how those bellies are worn with pride. I started to look at my belly in another light. I have ALWAYS had a belly, and if I never lost it when waking up at 5 am for weight lifting three times a week followed by brutal bleacher runs in high school and I never lost it during obsessive spin classes and eight mile runs and kettlebell training, then just what the fuck was I holding onto? Or better yet, what the fuck was I not holding onto?

7. Dig in, baby.

This past Saturday, I ordered three perfectly stacked pancakes. The pancakes were okay but the morning was divine.


Carmen said...

great post! i made pancakes saturday morning for the first time in forever too. so good for the soul :)

Erin said...

love this!
whenever i had a gymnastics competition, my father would wake up extra early to make me his famous pancakes. it was a morning ritual that always calmed my nerves for the upcoming performance. those mornings are some of my fondest memories of my father.
he claimed the secret was to make the batter and then let it sit while the griddle heated up. this gave it some time to thicken up, creating those extra fluffy cakes.
i make pancakes about once a month, and while my quest for health (and thinness) has me making blueberry, whole wheat greek yogurt pancakes instead of the rich buttermilk variety, i still always let the batter sit and they are still damn good.

Lindsey said...

Right on! Wish I could taste all of these!