Pancakes for one
I wish I could put words to what I’ve been feeling the last few weeks. Sometimes it all seems so clear, but mostly it’s a jumbled mess of mixed messages internally. “They would want you to be happy” is what people say when someone you love dies. People will say anything and everything to make you feel better, or to try and fix you.
No one wants to admit just how deeply death breaks you. It breaks you in an irrevocable way. There’s no putting the pieces back together when one of them is permanently lost. In a way, death is one of those sliding puzzles I played as a kid. The ones where one of the tiles is missing, allowing you to manipulate the other pieces to try and solve the puzzle. Even if you manage to solve the puzzle, something feels amiss, the empty square where a tile should be always irked me. Grief is a constant process of manipulating the tiles. Trying to find a new configuration where your life makes sense.
Sundays had a regular routine in my old life. The kids were tiny back then, only seven and two years old, so I’d sleep in a little before fumbling into the kitchen to cook a big brunch for us to all sit down and enjoy together. I’ve always been partial to eggs for breakfast, while Mikey loved waffles and Bella loved pancakes. Virginia was always content to just be at my side.
These days Bella still loves pancakes but is more of a waffle person. Virginia likes neither, and somehow I’ve been bitten by the pancake bug lately. When the kids were younger, leftover pancakes weren’t a big deal. They made for an easy heat & eat breakfast on school days. I’ve never been a fan of reheated pancakes. Like a good pastry, I think they’re best eaten right from the skillet, and so that’s how this pancake for one recipe was born. You can easily scale it up to serve a crowd if you wanted.
I went with a whole grain blend because I’ve an abundance of spelt flour in the pantry. You can use all regular flour if you prefer. The flax meal isn’t negotiable here since it takes the place of the egg, a trick used in vegan baking recipes where eggs are usually needed. In fact, if you use non-dairy milk and oil or non-dairy butter, this is actually an easy vegan pancake recipe.
Sundays have changed a lot since those mornings back in Brooklyn. Routines have changed with one kid out of the house, and another closer to leaving than staying, finishing up her freshman year of high school. The table looks different now but pancakes are the thread in the needle connecting today to yesterday.
The recipe related to this post is available for paid subscribers only. Join hundreds of other subscribers now for only $5/month or $30/year (that’s six months free!). Quarterly e-cookbooks are an additional benefit of paid membership.