Almost every morning, the kids wake up before I do. Loretta might sing to herself in her crib for awhile if I'm lucky, and Wyatt usually wanders in and asks, "What's for breakfast, Mom?" Is he a kid after my own heart or what? I'll usually mutter "toast" or "something that doesn't require an alert mother," but this doesn't prevent him from asking the daily question--"Can you make pancakes?"
This prompts a complex algorithm. I factor in the following variables: Do I have buttermilk? (90% of the time, I do. That's how I roll.) Should I be eating oatmeal this morning instead? What time is it? Should I say "no" to Wyatt just to prove I'm not a total pushover? At least one morning a week, my answer is "Yes!". It's quite hard to resist Wyatt, and I love pancakes maybe even more than he does.
I didn't use to care for them much until I got pregnant with Wyatt. Maybe that's why they're so ingrained in his cute little DNA. Another thing I craved during my pregnancy was milk. Pancakes and milk, as you know, are in a serious relationship.
So for the last six years, I've experimented quite a bit with little variations, and here's the current favorite. I don't like pancakes made from a mix or with plain old milk. I always use buttermilk, or sometimes yogurt if I run out of that. I need something cultured to give them tang and tenderness. Most recipes call for oil or melted butter, and I like this one because it has neither of those. I got it off the movie No Reservations--that Catherine Zeta Jones chef movie. The movie itself wasn't very good, mostly because I found her transformation from bitch to loving aunt lacking credibility. But the food scenes and the pancake recipe in the extras made up for it. Okay--now that I think about it, the movie must not have been that bad if I hung around for the extras. Just like I only read James Joyce, I normally only watch extremely inaccessible indie films. This was the one exception.
If you're like me, you probably have on-the-brink bananas around quite often, and this is a great way to use them up--much less of a commitment than banana bread. And I can't write about banana pancakes without giving a shout-out to my mother-in-law Phyllis, with whom I enjoyed many memorable banana pancakes during our trip to China when I was pregnant with Wyatt.
Banana Oat Bran Pancakes
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. oat bran or whole wheat flour
1 Tb. sugar
1 Tb. baking powder
1/4 ts. baking soda
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
1 very ripe banana, mashed
Heat up a griddle on medium heat.
Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl. Whisk eggs and buttermilk together in a small bowl. Add buttermilk mixture and mashed banana to dry ingredients, stirring just until blended. Drop 1/4 cupfuls onto hot griddle, flipping after bubbles have formed. Serve with sliced bananas and toasted walnuts, if you like. I also grated some orange zest over mine because I had a half-zested orange sitting on the cutting board. That turned out to be fortunate.