September 17, 2005

"Dad Says We Can Have Pancakes for Dinner!"

Chris and I went to Denny's for lunch last weekend, but since it was barely noon on Sunday, it seemed okay to have breakfast food instead of lunch. We often eat at those types of cafes where any kind of meal can be ordered at any time of day, and I don't feel compelled to eat the type of foods that match the meal I should be eating at that time of day, but I do often feel guilty. Like my stomach cares. Or the waitress. Or society. Nobody cares! But it usually gives me pause.

So, on this particular Sunday I decide to order pancakes with eggs over-easy. Actually I ordered eggs over-easy because the meal came with hashbrowns, and hashbrowns are best mushed up with runny eggs. With a little ketchup on top. When the food came, I suddenly remembered the best way to eat pancakes was with eggs over-easy between two pancakes. There's something about that buttery pancake taste with eggs. Syrup is an added bonus yet not necessary.

And that just brought back a childhood memory.

Are you with my stream on consciousness, here?

Just out of the blue, I broke into a story to tell Chris (I'm sure he's often confused where these things come from) about how sometimes Dad would come home from work and suggest we have pancakes and eggs for dinner. My brother Tye and I would be so excited because we weren't the type of family that ate pancakes on a regular basis, in fact we were more a cold cereal family. Plus, the idea of having breakfast foods for dinner just seemed so out of the ordinary. Almost taboo.

I flash back to those days when, for some reason, we didn't have dinner planned when Dad arrived home from work. It would be dark outside, so pancake dinners probably happened in the winter. Dad would be in his work clothes, clomping into the house with his muddy work boots, smelling of oil and cold. He would come through the pantry door and ask what was for dinner, and we'd all shrug. (Okay, this part of the story seems weird--like we hadn't a clue what to eat. Where was Mom?) So, he'd say, "Let's have pancakes." So, we'd rush to get the electric skillet out. Gunked and old, it had fried many chickens, bags of potatoes, and only occasionally, bits of liver and onion. (Yuck!) We'd plug it in to warm up, and when it started popping and creaking it's would be ready to go. It only took a few minutes to whip up some batter made from Bisquick, and in just a few minutes after that, we'd be turning out pancakes and eggs. It was all made to order, so on those nights we may have eaten at the table, as we always did as a family for dinner, but it was "Eat it while it's hot!"

To tell it now seems so mundane. Big deal. You ate pancakes for dinner. But then it seemed so special. It wasn't another night of fishsticks and rice. It wasn't chicken and green beans. And it thankfully wasn't another night of hotdish. (I have a gazillion ways to make hotdish.) It was pankcakes. It was special. I was a kid. It was the simple things in life.

Actually, it still is the simple things in life. Perhaps that's why these flashing memories of the strangest things at the strangest times are the best.


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Anonymous said...

Thank-you for the memory...I had forgotten about those pancake nights. What about the (chilli sauce) could be you didn't like that part. Mom

happychyck said...

I loved chili sauce! Was that something that our family lost when Grandpa died? We used to eat that stuff on EVERYTHING!

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Anonymous said...

I read this and smiled.......If you need that Chili Sause recipe of "Grandpa's" I bet I can come up with it.
That was the special part of pancake suppers. I miss them too.
Aunt Sandie