Saturday, May 13, 2006

Friday means Pancakes

“He who goes to bed hungry dreams of pancakes.”

cherry pancakes for lunch

Friday morning, when Antonello told me that he would probably be staying at the hospital at lunchtime with his mom, I told him that I would wait on making pancakes. We'd been planning on pancakes for lunch since we bought blueberries a few days ago, but it could wait one more day.

"What?" he said, getting noticeably upset. "When are you planning to make pancakes if not today?"

"Um, maybe tomorrow?"

He frowned. "No! Tomorrow won't work! And anyway, I'll be home by 1:45 this afternoon! That's enough time to eat them!" he said. Actually, it gave him about 30 minutes to eat them. But I got it. He was desperate.

"Fine," I said. "I'll make pancakes." He grinned.

Antonello has fallen for plenty of American foods--he has a strange attraction to Steak n Shake chili and a chocolate shake (they must be served side by side), Sour Patch Kids are his favorite candies, and he has learned to love all kinds of mexican food. But pancakes seem to take, well, the cake. Since he first had a stack of blueberry pancakes in a little breakfast spot in the states, he has ordered them everywhere. He's begun to take sides on the issue: he doesn't like them too tall, he's flat out refused to eat the really soggy ones, and they should ideally be served with something savory. Here in Italy, we're ready for any pancake emergency that might befall us. Syrups are in the cabinet, and we've always got all of the ingredients on hand. Antonello knows the French Toast recipe too (in case I should be away for a weekend), but it's the pancakes that we make most often. Our darling little crepe skillet has never seen a crepe--but it has seen dozens and dozens of pancakes.

So, as I got up, I opened the fridge to find the blueberries had gone bad. I shook my head in disappointment. What were blueberry pancakes without blueberries? um... anyway, I decided I would have to search the nearby fruit vendors until I found some more.

Unfortunately, our finding blueberries last week must have been a fluke. After visiting about 5 fruit vendors, I realized that none of them were carrying blueberries (one woman tried to sell me currants--hmm, has anyone ever had a currant pancake? Could be good...), and in fact it seemed they were confused as to what blueberries were in general (-you know, those blue fruits! -What?). And while I cursed the fact that blueberries haven't seemed to be make it big over here in Le Marche like some other berries, I started to come up with plan B. I had made plenty of pancakes with bananas in them, but I wanted another fruit. Something tangy and berry-like. A basketful of delectable-looking cherries took up the corner of a market window, vying for my attention, and I shrugged. It was worth a try. I attempted to ignore the exaggerated price tag as I bought half a pound of the little guys. I then hurried home to cook up the little cakes.

the leftover cherries

All of that effort, and as Antonello sat down to take begin his pancake lunch, he didn't even recognize that I had replaced the blueberries with cherries. After a few bites and no comments, I said, "You know those aren't blueberries, don't you?"

He sat back. "What are they?" he asked. He poked at them with his fork. "Strawberries?"



"No." Where would I get cranberries? Nevermind.

He looked at me, lost for words.

"Cherries!" I told him. Ah, cherries. Of course. Cherry pancakes. He went on eating, testing out the new pancakes and thoughtfully chewing.

"Mmm. Good." He said. "Not quite as good as blueberries, but still good."

I smiled as I ate my own pancakes, thankful that this latest batch, and my impromptu decision to change them up a bit, had gone over well with my picky pancake husband. Next time, if I feel adventurous, I will try to make currant pancakes instead. But in the meantime, I will be on a constant search for more blueberries.



At 6:07 PM, Blogger Ms Adventures in Italy said...

Nice pics! Everyone has a good camera for food porn but me! So no one had any "mirtilli" for you? I saw some here this weekend at our supermarket but I am holding out for the Costco pack this summer when I go home. Thanks for the reminder about the crepe pan, we are going to bring ours back this summer!

At 7:32 PM, Blogger Stelle In Italia said...

Mmmm...the cherry pancakes look and sound delicious! I'll have to send you some Indiana maple syrup for the next batch. We didn't have any at the science fair, but Slow Food Indy visited the Rutherford Sugar Camp near New Castle earlier this year. Yum! Would Antonello have believed that the cherries were those rare fuscia blueberries? (Very popular among pirates...)


At 2:40 AM, Anonymous Eric said...

Thats weird about the pancakes...I made them for Francesco and Daniele when they were here, and they went crazy for them as well. (No blueberries, though)

At 6:37 AM, Blogger Expat Traveler said...

yum! Those look just incredible. And a great photo too!

At 9:28 AM, Blogger Cynthia Rae said...

How is Anton's Mom doing?

Your photos are beautiful Jackie! We LOVE pancakes here as well. Unable to find "pankcake mix", I learned how to make them from scratch. They are soooo much better that way AND VERY EASY! Danilo likes them, but always says "they are too heavy". Of course we NEVER eat a meal as heavy as pancakes for breakfast. Mortal sin!

Why is it that EVERYTHING spoils so fast here? That is one thing I can not get use to. Just the other day, my strawberries bit the dust before I even had a taste!

Now, if I could just learn to make the syrup!

At 11:18 AM, Blogger Stelle In Italia said...

Glad you guys liked the photos! I am actually NOT very good at taking food photography, but I am slowly starting to figure out my camera...(very slowly!)

Corrie: the sugar camp sounds yummy! if only there were maple syrup here! :) Antonello, I think, assumed that the blueberries were, indeed, magenta. therefore he didn't notice the difference between them and cherries :).

Eric: Yeah, most Italians I know love pancakes. Irene went nuts for them, too.

Cyndi: I've been making the pancakes from scratch now too--it's really not very hard after all (I had always imagined it was next to impossible). A's mom is doing okay--I'll email you soon.

Hope everyone had a nice weekend! I can't believe it's already Monday again. ugh.



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