[donotprint] orange

I’ve been thinking about fables lately—those short, sweet stories with a moral tacked onto the end? One of Aesop’s tells about a boy who, reaching into a tall jar with a wide base of hazelnuts, grabs a large handful, greedy to bring the lot to his mouth. But, when his tightened fist won’t fit back up through the container’s slender neck, he bursts into tears and panic, having imprisoned his clenched fingers inside a jar full of hazelnuts, where the solution is as simple as releasing his grip.

I’ve heard that monkeys do this in real life. In tests, they supposedly leave their fists inside the jars, indefinitely, unwilling to release the nuts but also anxious about being caught in the jar. And I am fascinated. If I’m honest, it’s because I think they sound like me. Aesop’s intended moral was simple: Do not attempt too much at once; but mine would be more complex: You have got to let go and trust That Which Is Greater—because that is faith, and, because gripping things tightly doesn’t really make them yours anyway.

I hinted before at some upcoming big decisions/changes in the works around here, and, while I have nothing substantial or concrete to report, there have, slowly, been movements towards change—the loosening of my grip, as it were—and that is something. I almost rented a new apartment I loved; I’ve been pursuing some new writing opportunities; and I’ve been daydreaming a lot about what, in all of this, will matter 50 years from now.

Of course there has been food, too. That goes without saying. But what with all the change-seeking also taking my attention, I am very behind on telling you about it.

coconut citrus pancakes

For one thing, there were these pancakes. I made them for a late breakfast on Memorial Day, when my brother was visiting and before we had a late lunch of fried chicken at a fast-food restaurant because neither of us owns or operates a grill. I’d seen them on Eat Make Read as a stack of small, silver-dollar-sized circles, topped with jam and butter, filled with coconut and citrus, and when I woke up late Monday morning, after a previous night by a bonfire in the woods, they sounded perfect.

orange juice

This is what I’ve decided about pancakes: I love them. They are as dear to me as the parts of my life I try so hard to hold onto (though, happily, with pancakes, there’s no letting go required).

And these pancakes are really lovely, sweetened with the tart acidity of orange zest and juice, filled with a more sophisticated texture that highlights bits of shredded coconut. I tried them three ways—with jam, with syrup, with butter on its own—and I liked them best with butter, smoothed on while they are still hot, melted into the cake. But tell me if you find your own wonderful way to enjoy them. While I’m learning to let go of things, I may as well start with how I like my pancakes, right? One step at a time.

Orange Coconut Silver Dollar Pancakes

Adapted from Eat Make Read

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup coconut
3/4 cup whole milk
1 egg
1 1/2 Tablespoons butter, plus more for the skillet
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon orange zest
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and coconut. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the milk, egg, butter, vanilla and orange juice. Add these wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir to combine. Fold in the orange zest.

Heat a little butter in a skillet over medium heat. Once it’s melted, add a little bit of batter to the pan to test. Then, when the pan’s ready, put as many small, one-Tablespoon-sized dollops onto the skillet as will fit.

Let cook for about two minutes or until golden, then flip and let cook for another two. Top with jam or syrup or butter, or, you know, whatever you’d like, and enjoy!

Makes about 24 pancakes.

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. postcollegecook

    ooh those look yummy.

    Your citrus juicer looks awesome! Where did you get it? I have a simple little one that I use a lot, but it doesn’t have a spout or those little bars to keep the seeds from pouring out.

  2. Molly

    Looking forward to trying out a new pancake recipe–I’ve been trying to mix it up lately.

    A side note on grabbing onto more than you can hold. In my childrens-wilderness-books days, I learned that this is one way to create a trap for a raccoon – put a shiny object in a hole the raccoon can reach into, but can’t get out of with a fist. The raccoon won’t let go any more than a monkey or the boy in the fable did.

  3. lo

    Those pancakes… absolutely yum. And I love the series of orange photos. Absolutely lovely. And that juicer!! I concur!

    Now — as far as fables, go… I love what you’ve proposed. And I thought I’d share my favorite part of what you said: “…gripping things tightly doesn’t really make them yours anyway” SO TRUE! And I think gripping is one of the worst habits we can have when we’re trying to make progress and move forward in our lives. I think gripping is also the thing keeps us from our dreams… so good luck abolishing some of that!

  4. The Duo Dishes

    Everything you said above is oh so true. To change, one must release. Much success with your ventures! And keep eating pancakes!

  5. SDG

    What a wonderful post. I’ve been an admirer of your blog for some time now. We humans are such creatures of habit and letting go is hard. Those pancakes look delicious and I’d love to give them a go.

  6. Mamaliga

    Love the fable! And of course the pancakes!

    Now tell me about you and your brother not operating a grill – :-)

    Gabi @ Mamaliga

  7. sarah p.

    I’m glad becky posted this to facebook – I always appreciate your style.

  8. Shannalee

    postcollegecook: It’s great, right? I love that it holds all the juice in it (my other one has slits through the bottom, so the juice comes through, but that means you have to twist the fruit while holding it over a bowl). Unfortunately, this is a hand-me-down (i.e., one I stole from my mom) and incredibly old, so I don’t know where it came from!

    Molly: Raccoons, too, huh? Seriously fascinating.

    lo: I read a quote once that said to “hold all things lightly and nothing tightly.” If I remember right, it was talking about Abraham from the Bible, who was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac that he loved. Such an interesting picture of not gripping.

    DD: thank you, and I think I will!

    SDG: Thanks for coming out to comment; I’m so glad to have you reading!

    Gabi: It’s awful, I know. Truth is, Adam could do it, no problem, but he doesn’t really want to. I, on the other hand, am fairly sure I’d burn down the neighborhood.

    Sarah P: Thanks for checking in! Nice to hear from you!

  9. Maxine

    Shanna! Oh I think homemade pancake recipes are so romantic. I envision making them as part of a holiday tradition–one day maybe it will happen. :) We need to make a coffee date and catch up soon!

  10. kickpleat

    Man, I have never wanted pancakes more!

  11. Shannalee

    Maxine, Homemade pancakes would be wonderful as a holiday tradition! And I’d love to have coffee. Since we work so close, we should do it after work one night. Let me know!

    Kickpleat, LOL. Honestly, I could go for some myself!

  12. Joanna

    I am so making these pancakes for my brother on Saturday. I love pancakes. I’ll make pancakes for myself again when I have time to run to the organic store and get flour I can actually have.

  13. Shannalee

    Yay! And what a nice sister you are! Enjoy them!

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