Pancakes and lightbulbs

16 February 2010

Pancakes were the same as lightbulbs. Both of them were a rigmarole to fix and a source of grumbling family resentment if they didn’t get done at all.

Pancakes needed hours of preparation. They were serious stuff in serious mixing bowls, not to be jeopardised by Mummy, I want to help!. I can’t remember what we did if my dad was out at his society, whether we waited for the next day or whether his absence would simply never have been allowed to happen. There wasn’t proper supper before pancakes, just a sandwich tea, so that we didn’t take in too much stodge. We didn’t toss the pancakes: it would probably have finished my mum off.

My mother changed the lightbulbs too. They needed all the electricity turned off, and a ladder found, and couldn’t be done unless my mother had a spare hour and a half. As I grew up, I wondered why it all had to be such a drama, especially when it meant doing my homework under two anglepoise lamps for three weeks flat. Eventually, I took it into my own hands. The other eighty minutes were for getting the ladder out and putting it away again.

After my mother went back to work, pancakes made for one of the year’s most stressful days. If an emergency was on, or if she was simply too shattered by what she’d seen to cope, we couldn’t have them. We waited for the phone call that always seemed to come during Buffy the Vampire Slayer on the BBC.

My mum had lemon on her pancakes and my dad had jam. I don’t know whether I parsed that into mummies have lemon and daddies have jam. It didn’t stop me asking for the jam.

Proof that my mum’s nature was sour and my dad’s was sweet: tempting, then, but wrong.


Now: quickly, shop-bought, heated, after work, standing up, too fast, too thin, lifting the second one off the glass plate with a fork before the first one’s away.

And I have maple syrup.


5 Responses to “Pancakes and lightbulbs”

  1. Aimee Says:

    I have seriously never made pancakes before. i’ve made pikelets, but they’re not the same.

    I like lemon and sugar on them, or blueberries mixed itno the batter. Mmmyum.

    what a cute (and somewhat mouthwatering) little story!


  2. It’s a British (or English?) custom to make pancakes the day before Lent starts. Something to do with using up all the extravagant/sinful ingredients in the cupboard, I think!

    They’re not just for Shrove Tuesday though (any more). At one of the tube stations I used to use in London there was a yummy pancake stand that I could hardly ever go to cause there were only about two seats and no-one wants to get the tube with pancake filling all over their hands….

  3. Old Kitty Says:

    Aw! What a household of passion bouncing off the lightbulbs and the pancakes!

    I love “my mum’s nature was sour, my dad’s was sweet” Lemon/Jam.

    And of course shop-bought is just as good and so easy to have around. But I settle for nutella. With sliced banana.


    Take care

  4. I remember pancake day always being a really big deal too, and yet these days I tend to make them any old day just to shut the kids up for a bit when they are being really loud. lol

  5. Hi Heather, welcome! That would have gone a long way towards shutting me up I have to say…. my mum must have been made of sterner stuff though! πŸ™‚

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