Tag Archives: pancakes

The Winter That Wasn’t

So far this winter has really been the winter that wasn’t.  The Chicago area did not get its first one inch snowfall until this past Friday.  We went an incredible 335 days between one inch snowfalls.  And today it’s 60 degrees!

I’m not ready to say winter is over; I’ve witnessed flurries in May.  However, I won’t be sad if we don’t get any big accumulations.  I am OK with rain; I know the farmers need the precipitation, but I don’t have to shovel rain.

I would like snow better if I didn’t have to shovel it or drive in it.  If I could stay home with a book and a cup of hot cocoa and admire the glistening snowflakes through my window, I’d be fine with it.  But alas, that is not usually the case.

But in the spirit of admiring the snow through the window, I offer two cozy winter stories:

Uncle Phil’s Diner by Helena Clare Pittman tells the story of a cold, snowy Sunday morning when Ruthie and her father undertake the ten block walk to Uncle Phil’s diner.  As they walk they try to keep their mind off the cold by reminiscing about the fun they had over the summer and sing in anticipation of the yummy treats (including blueberry pancakes with blueberries they picked and preserved themselves the previous summer) that await them at the diner.  Includes the recipe for Uncle Phil’s Blueberry Pancakes.

Soup Day by Melissa Iwai tells the story of a little girl and her mother making soup from the visit to the market to buy the vegetables to sprinkling it with parsley at the table as they prepare to eat it.  Includes the recipe for Snowy Day Vegetable Soup.

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Picture Book Pancakes

Who doesn’t love pancakes?  In our house we love pancakes so much we sometimes eat them for dinner.  And they are easy to make, right?  Pretty much just some flour, eggs, milk and baking powder.  Yet slight variations in the ingredients make all the difference.  The following four picture books all offer slightly different pancake recipes.  The only recipe I haven’t tried yet is Weston’s as it calls for buttermilk which I don’t normally have on hand.

Fannie in the Kitchen by Deborah Hopkinson is a fictional account of how Fannie Farmer came up with her famous cookbook.

Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie DePaola is a wordless picture book about a little old lady who wakes up with a taste for pancakes and the struggles she has to get some.

Tallulah in the Kitchen by Nancy Wolff walks the reader through Tallulah’s pancake making.  (Wolff’s recipes is actually for blueberry pancakes.  I left the blueberries out so I could better compare with the other recipes.)

Hey, Pancakes by Tamson Weston is a rhymed picture book about waking up and making pancakes with the bonus of illustrations by Stephen Gammel.  (I love his colorful style.  Look closely and you will see the car from his illustrations in The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant on one of the pages.)

So how did they compare?  Well, DePaola’s batter was very runny; I did not get nice round pancakes, but weirdly misshapen ones.  Not the end of the world, though.  Shape is not as important as taste.  So how did they taste?  A little salty.

Hopkinson’s Fannie Farmer pancakes were nice, round pancakes; a little on the sweet side.

Wolff’s pancakes were the most popular with my family which prefers thicker, puffier pancakes.   Her batter was definitely the thickest.

Then I got to wondering how these recipes compared to my go-to recipe from the Better Homes and Garden New Cook Book.  Below is a chart comparing all the recipes.  DePaola’s recipe contains a lot more liquid than any of the other recipes, which explains the runniness of the batter.  My go-to recipe contains no salt, which is probably why I felt the other recipes were a little salty.  And Hopkinson’s recipe had a lot more sugar than any of the others.

So what’s the final verdict?  I still need to try Weston’s buttermilk pancakes, but until then Wolff’s pancakes are in the lead and will probably even become my new go-to recipe.

Happy reading and happy eating!

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