Behind the Scenes

I'd like you to imagine my morning like this:

Brightfaced with sunshine, I glide through the kitchen. I'm in my jammies, but who cares: I'm radiant. And my jammies are kinda casually sexy, anyway. The week behind has already slipped off me like water, or silk, or maybe ... melted chocolate. 

I pause, consider that.

Pancakes appear, raspberries appear, hot dark caffeine appears. My child skips past, already dressed  and ready for kidgames and stories and parkdates and all those things we'll do together after breakfast. We share a smile, barely perceptible through the white gleam around us.

Now I feel two warm arms slip around me from behind, and a kiss appears on my neck. Ah, he's awake, too, my love, and I ache just a bit - but gratefully - when he moves away to plate up the table and lasso our daughter. Mismatched chairs scrape out, we sit eagerly and heavily. 

We gather. 

Over and on and around our plates, the air is scented with fresh-ground coffee and hot, saucy raspberries and a hint of peppermint, from the light quick cleaning I did before. We're starving and happy and we talk about good and important things, the three of us. 
Good morning, darlings.

And I was going to tell you now how things really were - pancakes extracted from tupperwares and warmed in the microwave; the mixtape soundtrack of Saturday morning cartoons and leafblowers next door; daughter at the table, pushing away this breakfast I made and asking for cereal; husband still in bed, because he had insomnia last night and was awake till 3; dishes scattered across the counter like some kind of apocalypse; stay at the table; finish your breakfast; Robbie! Wake up! ...

But who needs to hear that? Better you imagine my perfect life. 
Happy weekend - perfect or otherwise,
Amanda xx

Cornmeal Pancakes
makes 10-12
adapted from Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Cookbook, circa 1961

I found this recipe in a thrift-store cookbook, a fifteen-center I picked up in the wilds of Arizona. I'd promised my daughter pancakes and we'd run out of flour, but had cornmeal on hand from Thanksgiving cornbread. I made a double batch, and we had them sweet and savoury both over a series of days: with sour cream and pumpkin; leftover spinach curry; saucy raspberries and slathered sour cream. And once Robbie got over the idea that you can't | shouldn't | wha?? have pancakes for dinner, it was all good. They were all good.

The time
Longer than you can imagine. Stir, flip and get meditating.

The ingredients
1 c cornmeal or polenta
1 c plain unbleached flour
1 T baking powder
1 T raw sugar
1 tsp sea salt
2 cups organic milk
2 organic eggs
4 T melted butter

+ butter, syrup, berries, cream, sour cream whatever for serving
*Try to use organic when you can.

The process
1. Mix everything and stir well. Amy Vanderbilt liked to think you could stir things together bits at a time - wet then dry and so on. She probably always wore an apron, too. The reality is, your kids are likely dumping eggs and everything in whatever order suits their fancy, so go with that. It'll be ok.

2. Heat up a griddle till hot, then reduce the heat to med and soak its surface in butter. Dollop on the batter in 1/4 cup-ish quantitites and flip each pancake when it starts to bubble through. They're done when golden and edge-browned - you know what that looks like. Set aside and cover with foil till the whole lot is finished. 

Serve as you like, in ball gowns or jammies.

The cost
So cheap. These are basics, friends, and stuff you could mostly get from your cow and chickens if you had them.


  1. haha! i know this scene. also i am in the middle of a pancake/pikelet FEVER here. They're just so simple and i love making savoury ones for the toddler, with spinach, lentils and cheese.

  2. Your real life is your perfect are living it :)

    P.S. Great looking & sounding pancakes...toss the cereal :)


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