Sunday, April 3, 2011

My Mother's Pancakes

There are lots of foods that remind me of home and my mom, but the food I associate most with her are pancakes.  They were never made from Bisquick or from a mix.  That was a sin in my house.  When I was kid, there were pancakes served with cartoons.  When I came home from college, pancakes were my reward.   Even when I come home to visit as an adult, you guessed it, pancakes. 
This weekend, my brother, his girlfriend, and her brother were visiting my parents in Roanoke.  Because I missed the Saturday festivities, I went down early Sunday morning to be there for the pancake ritual.  It is a great feeling, having all of us sitting in the kitchen, catching up, and waiting for fluffy golden circles to brown on the griddle. 
I wish at times that things were as consistent and stable as pancakes.  I once taught a cinema-therapy class on the “quarter-life crisis.”  One of the points of discussion is on how your sense of family and home change in your twenties.  It is hard that moment when your immediate definition of family has to redefine and transition to account for budding independence and new homes.  New people come in and that further creates a sense of old family and new family. 
I saw this for the first time last Christmas.  Christmas has always been the four of us.  Last Christmas, we expanded to the 6 of us.  This was our first Christmas of immediate family and new family and that made for a really wonderful Christmas.  But, one day, new families may call on commitments to old family and so who knows what Christmas will look like next December. 
 I am currently in the middle of transition debate.  With my job, I’m making decisions about whether it is time to move on, a choice that would involve leaving Staunton.  My relationship is also at a transition point because my boyfriend is himself making larger life decisions.  Depending on these choices, "you and me” may replace "us."   My brother is in a transition state of being between jobs and making series steps in his relationship with a very wonderful woman.   Because of all these things and more, life is full of with uncertainty, fluctuation, and change. 
With this ongoing feeling of change in the air, pancakes with family are important reminders.  They are reminders of home, tradition, love, and being together.  Whatever changes in the family and in each of us, there will always be pancake breakfasts.  I know whenever I have kids, I will bring them home to my parents and my mom will make us pancakes.  We will sit with syrup and applesauce, watch my mom's fine-tuned griddle action, and be reminded of family.

What food reminds you most of your family? 
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