What you who are not from the Midwest might not know is that Chicago gives us many seasons, in the same week—in the same day—anytime it wants to. Saturday, for example, I spent the gloomy morning at the library, watching dark skies send rain onto waving maple trees and brick houses, but by early evening, the sun was bright and high, the air warm, charcoal breezes around us while we walked to dinner. Later still,…
A few years ago, when a friend was visiting, I offered to make her chocolate-chip pancakes the morning she’d leave. I am terrible at making pancakes. Of an entire bowl of batter, I think we ended up with two, she and my brother and I standing in the kitchen in our pajamas, wearing glasses and zip-up sweatshirts. The rest of the batch were either burnt and charred or, worse, still goopy inside, wet and uncooked. It’s a good thing there was also cereal around or, frankly, we’d have starved.
I probably don’t have to tell you my problem was timing: Over and over, I’d leave the batter on the skillet too long or, instead, not long enough. I am fairly terrible at timing, and, as the girl who decides her career path after college, I think it’s safe to say this is not just with pancakes.
You probably already know this past Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras, was also National Pancake Day. They were even giving away free ones at IHOP to celebrate (How did I miss this?). The origin goes back to England, when people prepared for Lent by clearing out their pantries of all dairy products (butter, eggs, milk) which would be forbidden during the 40 days until Easter.
So just chalk it up to bad timing that I’m posting mine not on National Pancake Day but, instead, six days later later, on the first Monday of March.