Home on the Range
December 25, 2011
Boyhood calls for supplies. Rocks, of course. Magnifying glass to study rocks. Stick collection, shell collection, stamp collection.
State quarters, minus Alaska. Pocket knives. Possible fossil. Spring-loaded snake, packed into its candy tin. Juggling balls. Basketball. Baseball, signed. Glove and cleats and shinguards and helmets and goggles and high-tops and low-tops, in a heap. Trophies, ribbons, certificates. Monopoly. Legos. Pinch pots. Dog portraits. Sister photo. Guitar, unstrummed. Poker chips. Skateboard. And books. Many, many books.
One day the boy will survey his storehouse and decide: enough. Enough of rocks and sticks, of stamps and coins. He's ready to redecorate.
He starts with the books. He stacks: The never-read giveaways here, the graphic-novel keeps there. In between tower the treasures: the books so bound to boyhood that he cannot let them go. Nor, he declares, can they stay.
And so we box. Goodnight Frog. Goodnight Toad. Goodnight Mike and your Mary Anne. Goodnight Babar, and The Red Balloon. Goodnight Curious George. Goodnight wild things. And that truck, always stuck. Goodnight Fox in Socks. Goodnight poems. Goodnight air. Goodnight pancake books, everywhere.
Once, the boy leaned into your pages, finding adventure, solace and breakfast menu. Under his stare, your shapes crisped into letters, your letters clumped into words, your words linked into stories. Your naughty wolves and pensive bears will accompany the boy, forever. But the boy, he's already gone.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 4 minutes per batch
Servings: 10 pancakes
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Mild oil, such as canola
Whisk milk, pumpkin, butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla together in a large bowl.
Sift flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg onto the pumpkin mixture. Fold gently until just combined.
Brush a heavy skillet or griddle lightly with oil. Heat over medium heat. For each pancake, scoop on ¼ cup batter. Cook each pancake until bottom is golden and top is speckled with air bubbles all the way across, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook until second side is golden and pancake is cooked through, about 1½ minutes. Enjoy.
Leah Eskin is a Tribune special contributor e-mail her at email@example.com
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