I had arrived home a bit sharper than usual, a half pound of unsalted butter in my pocket, as requested. There was chaos in the kitchen, albeit organised chaos.
Amongst other debris on the table sat two bowls, of mixture, sticky, just beginning to bubble. There were ingredients in bags and in jars, mixing spoons and those funny hand-mixxy things with lots of wire; one metal, one orange teflon. Recipe books sat on stands, open; scales rested, their jobs done.
And so there was, unusually for us, pudding. Cupboards were raked, bottles and jars shuffled, but the remnants of a small bottle of grade 1 maple syrup, left over from a recipe for a special cake for a special person, failed to make an appearance. There will need to be An Inquisition. Sod it, we’ll have to make do with chocolate chip ice cream, and/or ginger sauce.
It was compulsory, a homework exercise, points to be gained. Make pancakes, bring some to school, with the recipes. Party time in the staff-room perhaps.
The humble Scotch Pancake, a drap scawn to some – no scoons or scowns in these parts. Who’d have thought one table, two Urchins, a hot plate and a floor could be so covered in goo. But it was worth it. Girl Urchin used one of Lonely’s eggs, fresh from the garden, and self-raising flour. Boy Urchin, from the scribbled pages of another ancient tome, opted for plain flour and a mix of soda bicarb and baking powder, a bit less sugar. But he had a shop-bought egg and thus none of the rich colour of his sister. There was syrup in both mixes, golden, no maple
And we had fun. They drapped all the mixture themselves, blobs on the girdle with shapes from all the planets – Jupiter had her moons, Saturn her rings and lets not to go Uranus – then lifted and turned, watching bubbles, browning. And we gorged. Some teachers do have good ideas
And outside the windows I see a few egg-like clumps appearing; little pale primroses, dark yolks of Lonely quality. Before long there will be much yellow, dark and pale, trumpets of every sort. The daffies are rising and there has even been some sunshine of late. But the ground is sodden and much of the crop may be mush beneath the turf.
Still, the season is changing, and we know that for we’ll have had our pancakes, as they might say in the big city in the East. The roller needs a walk, the dogwood attacked by the hedge-cutter. Chores, chores, chores. But then the sun will appear, as will smiles on every face.
Pancake recipes available on request. Samples all gone though. Now, maple syrup. We need to get more. Even Urchins’ pancakes aren’t the same without it. Doesn’t feature in the old recipe books of the parish though.
Crepes next year; now that could be fun, and messy.