Ozzy in the process of eating.
The teenagers – my older son, let’s call him Frank, because he is, whether you want him to or not (he also worships an American musician of this name), and his girlfriend, let’s call her Syvvy, because she’s half-American, has a literary bent and her favourite book is The Bell Jar – had spent a few days near Manchester, and Ozzy and I couldn’t wait for them to come back, so that we could try out Moira’s pancake mix with oats and walnuts.
Ozzy, in particular, was extremely looking forward to our American breakfast with maple syrup, having already predicted that they were going to be the best American pancakes ever because the mixture had been made, TOUCHED, by a real American!!! (It became increasingly clear to me that Moira had already ascended to the higher echelons of Americans revered by him, which include such dignitaries as Joe Satriani and Homer Simpson...).
I entered the kitchen with some trepidation (I could so easily envisage myself messing it all up, not being known as the greatest pancake tosser of all times...), and with Ozzy’s help proceeded with the experiment.
Most of my cooking is deemed experimental by my family, who would much rather stick to their beloved curry – cooked by OH – than try out the ‘exotic’ dishes I like to conjure up with much maligned ingredients such as broad beans and lentils. Mind you, the experimental label is probably more a testimony to the forays into extreme cooking that I occasionally undertake with my friend Sally – events which see us oscillate between mad scientists and apprentice witches, when we simply substitute unavailable chemicals with something else at hand, a somewhat reckless abandon and fearless overconfidence, which therefore do not always yield quite the expected results. But that’s another story, and I will let you know if and when project Brezel ever moves from its hard as a house brick stage (simply think salt dough) to something more resembling edible fare.
The pancakes turned out to be less challenging than that. The thick mixture (quite unlike my runny German/English version) forms miraculously into just the right size pat in terms of height and diameter and is easy enough to turn once it starts bubbling (as so well instructed by Moira).
Ozzy’s delight was supreme – apparently, he had been hoping to make this kind of pancake for a loooooooong time, and now finally, all thanks to this lovely woman in Cambridgeshire, this dream had become reality! As soon as had he finished his allocated lot, he was planning when to have the next lot (as a wise precaution I had only used half the mixture), when Daddy would be able to sample them. Then suddenly panic flashed across his angelic face, “But what are we going to do then??? Have you got the recipe for the mixture?!”
I assured him that we would obtain the recipe ASAP, but I could see the traces of doubt in his face, which told me that he knew instantly that no pancakes would be like these pancakes ever again. These pancakes, like the best American cookies ever, would become part of the food mythology of this family, along with the Bara Brith (Welsh currant bread), the likes of which we will never taste again – which of course does not prevent my mother-in-law from hunting for one every single time she visits Wales – and all the other dishes that have achieved the status of legends in this house: the garlic ribs we had in Haarlem, the roast goose and dumplings in Oberstdorf, the Wiener Schnitzel in the little inn on the right hand side of the pass down towards Kranska Gora, the pizza with green olives from the baker’s in ‘our’ street in Florence, and let’s not forget the frutti di bosco ice-cream just outside Vatican city. (About the latter more in the next post, if I ever get round to it.)
And as for the Granola..., well, I’m afraid I have to report that it never ever made it into the general tasting arena, as I started munching on it while I was on the PC, and there being nobody around to rescue it and stash it away in the kitchen cupboard, its fate was sealed... Oooops, sorry... Needless to say, it was as delicious as all the other edible gifts! Thank you so much again, Moira, it’s been such a wonderful experience!
And thank you again, Andrew for organising it all. I think the write-up is still going on, AND Andrew is organising the next one for September, 24th!!
Now, I've got to go now, as we're off to a festival and then on holiday, so, 'see' you all in September. Oh, and if you're looking for something to do: why not read Yann Martel's The Life of Pi and tell us which dish the reading experience inspired - this is what we do over at Chocolate & Zucchini, where we have just started a book club!!