Why is it that pancake day gives me the sweats? Do other Mums up and down the country feel entirely incompetent and well below average, or is it just me?
For the past 8 years, I continuously look at the calendar as that fateful day looms closer and closer until BAMM it’s here, and I’m sweating into my batter.
It’s the dreaded pancake day morning, and I peer from the bathroom after my shower hoping that I can make it through the kitchen, to the hallway, and up the stairs before any little people even catch a glimpse of me (and well before they mention ‘that day’ again)… My marine style escape route looks achievable. I make a dash for it, but in my haste, I haven’t properly dried and slip across the tiled kitchen floor in what I thought wasn’t too dissimilar to a Torvill & Dean routine but in retrospect, perhaps a tad less graceful. I clatter into the dog’s bed and somehow inadvertently manage to trap my finger behind the kitchen door, but with my full weight closing the door tighter onto the said inquisitive finger. I howl like a banshee, and then the little people all come out from the crevices in which they have been hiding; a little bit like the Munchkins popping out from behind walls and bushes like in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy splatters the Wicked Witch.
And then it starts “Mum, please don’t do what you did last year, or the year before that. Or actually, was it the year before that as well? Does Dad know where the fire extinguisher is?”
The day (well days) they are talking about is, of course, pancake day. Dreaded Pancake Day.
Beards Mum – the mother-in-law – is great at pancakes. She always has been. She can do big fat American style ones that are cooked through entirely or tiny super thin crepe style ones. Plus, there are still a million and one toppings to choose from when she prepares them.
“Nana’s are waaaaayyy better than yours Mummy. I don’t think the middle of this chunky one is cooked. And that one looks like a scrambled egg.”
My bastard family can do their own in the future.
Then one day, I had that lightbulb moment. I was going to show them who was the best on pancake day, so I started to practice. The first attempt went a bit wrong as I read somewhere that the pan should be super hot, so I added the oil and turned the hob up to inferno. Unfortunately, the phone rang, and I get easily distracted. Evidently, it turns out; I don’t know what to do if there’s a fire in the kitchen.
I grabbed the pan and proceeded to run around suddenly realising, what the hell do I do now! I am holding a pot of scalding oil that’s on fire!!!! There’s black smoke pouring out the windows, and I’m still running around the kitchen wondering what to do next while my brain screams, “WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T CHUCK WATER ON IT!!!” So instead, I run out of the house and launch the pan onto the driveway. I hadn’t realised that the childminder had just pulled up, and I’m not entirely sure she was ready for a pan engulfed in flames to come hurtling at her. However, the good thing was, it missed her (and the kids), but sadly her car bumper received the blow.
Shortly after that, she stopped looking after our children.
The next time was when I decided to practice flipping the pancakes. My faux pas was not realising how cooked the pancake was; the bottom was ok, but all that liquid on the top wasn’t quite there – the entire kitchen was splattered beautifully – I saw it as something viewed at the Tate Modern next to a piece of Banksy artwork. Beard didn’t see it like that. He went to bed while I got the Cilit Bang.
Of course, in-between this, there have been the pancakes that stuck to brand new top of the range Tefal pans. Consequently, those very expense pans have had to visit the pots and pan graveyard.
Then there have been scrambled egg pancakes, charcoaled pancakes, pancakes resembling a smoothie, plain pancakes because someone failed to pick up any fruit to go with them or just no pancakes at all, resulting in both adult and child breakdowns because WE HAVE TO HAVE PANCAKES ON PANCAKE DAY!!!!!!!
The tipping point came last year. It was my turn to help out at the Scout hut. It wasn’t pancake day, that was a week or two away. But for some evil twist of insatiable fate, the Scout leader decided that each of the parents would have a team of 6 scouts and we would be cooking pancakes for everyone to taste before the winner being announced. I felt faint. My palms were sweating and my heart was racing – I actually thought I was going to collapse. I glanced over at the children for that reassuring ‘you’ve got this Mum’ thumbs up but instead was greeted by the look of either severe constipation or utter fear with a dash of shame. Needless to say, my team was mortified and I shuffled out of that Scout hut as fast as humanly possible. On exiting in shame, I could hear the disappointment in the kid’s voices as one of the fat spotty geeks said to Josh, “Your Mum is crap”.
That night I vowed that this pancake day, would be one they would never forget. But one they wouldn’t forget for all the right reasons! I researched various methods and ingredients, I looked at recipes and decided the best way to face fears was to do a fully-fledged three-course meal – each course being PANCAKES!!!
A medley of Blini Pancakes:
Smoked cheddar & pancetta
Beetroot, cream cheese & cress
Tomato & mozzarella with basil
Cream cheese & chive with salmon
Creamy garlic mushrooms
Beef and spinach cannelloni pancakes with homemade guacamole and salsa
Mixed fruit pancakes
I think it would have brought my family great joy if I had failed, to be honest. Equally, it would probably make the ending of this post slightly more entertaining, but the evening was a success – everything cooked perfectly. Furthermore, it was actually very scrummy and all edible. I will go so far as to say; they were way better than Nana’s. How did I do it? What do you think?? I CHEATED!!! You can check out the recipe by clicking on the image below
The only downside was “Wow! Mum, that was amazing – I can’t wait for what you’re going to cook next year!!!”