Banana Pancakes–3 Ways (V)

IMG_0782What an unusual time to be blogging, to be doing anything, really. You’ve probably shared my bewilderment with this situation, with how quickly our world was stricken with this virus and how instantly our lives came to a halt. In an attempt to grasp onto some sort of normalcy (and to contribute to the growing trend of baking as a therapeutic practice), I will keep on cracking away in my kitchen and sharing the results! Today, I wanted to start this semi-quarantine period with a pancake recipe that you likely wouldn’t need to leave home to make–I don’t want to encourage any unnecessary trips to the store! The goal of my posts right now is to provide a little bit of calm, of quiet, in this very chaotic time.

Maybe that’s also why I chose to make pancakes; something about a nice, hot stack of pancakes seems to conjure up instant feelings of relaxation, of contentedness. Pancakes are for days when everything is right in the world–whatever that looks like in your current life situation. Fifteen years ago, that meant that my sister and I had convinced our dad to make flapjacks with us that we’d catch out of the pan with excited squeals while cartoons buzzed from the living room behind us. More recently, it means that I’ve had a long week of rehearsals and have managed to score a cozy morning at home in sweatpants, free of physical and mental obligations.IMG_0806

One of the first things that came to mind when I’d decided on this recipe, though, was the song “Banana Pancakes” by Jack Johnson. It’s one of my favorites for a few reasons. For one thing, I just love its cheerful, relaxed tone–a tone that has earned it a special place in my Winding Down playlist on Spotify. And like pancakes in general, the song possesses reminiscent qualities for me, as it has been one of the songs our family listens to during our annual beach vacation for as long as I can remember. Just hearing the first few guitar notes transports me to that breezy back porch on Edisto Island, air laced with the smell of salt water and sunscreen and the sound of laughs. In fact, it’s such a strong emotional response that I’ve found myself getting a bit teary when the song plays on a particularly rough day.

Jack Johnson was clearly no stranger to this sentiment–the feeling of being separated from and even unaware of the goings on of the world and yet still experiencing a peaceful celebration of the present place you find yourself. You can just feel his lyrics assuaging the anxiety of the listener– reassuring her that, through whatever turmoil was going on around them, they could find joy and rest, simply in each other’s company:

“We could close the curtains
Pretend like there’s no world outside
We could pretend it all the time
And can’t you see that it’s just rainin’
There ain’t no need to go outside”

You can probably see where I’m going with this.

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I sympathize with everyone out there who is frustrated and stir crazy and lonely. I sympathize with those who feel like they can’t just relax at home during a time when so many people are suffering. I sympathize with all the people who are afraid of just how long this could go on and who wonder how we’re supposed to just pick up where we left off when it’s over. I’m grateful that I can’t sympathize with those who are feeling the direct effects of this illness.

None of us have ever experienced something quite like this in our lives–unrest is inevitable. I hope, though, that you can find moments of solace in the confinement:  through time with your family, through the rare quietness we’re experiencing, through pancakes. Remember that, by enduring this solitude, you’re playing a role in the efforts to fight this emergency–you’re important. By no means should we exercise any sort of denial about what’s going on. But, while we’re here, on our couches, in our kitchens, working from our living rooms, we may as well let ourselves enjoy the time we have–it isn’t for nothing. Besides, when you’re content indoors, “There ain’t no need to go outside.”

The Lord your God is in your midst,
    a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
    he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17

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Banana Pancakes–3 Ways (V)

Ingredients

VERSION 1

  • 1 small banana, mashed (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 TBSP oil (I used light olive oil)
  • 1 flax egg (1 TBSP ground flax mixed with 3 TBSP cold water, left to thicken in fridge for at least 5 minutes) **you can use a real egg if you’re not vegan
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • vegan butter, for frying

VERSION 2

  • everything in VERSION 1, except
  • whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose
  • 2 additional TBSP almond milk

VERSION 3 **not vegan**

  • 1 small banana, mashed (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 TBSP oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 100g sourdough starter (doesn’t need to be ripe)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • butter, for frying

Instructions

  1. Mix together all wet ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. In a smaller bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients.
  3. Heat a skillet over low-medium heat, and grease well with butter (I have a gas range, so I have to keep the heat on the lower side to avoid sticking. You may need to use a higher setting on electric stoves!)
  4. Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until combined. It will probably be lumpy!
  5. Scoop out batter for a pancake (size is up to you!), and cook until the underside is a warm brown.
  6. Enjoy immediately–add all the toppings your heart desires first, of course–and store leftovers in the fridge!

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