The Pancake Trilogy

dale bent head_0.pngAnother bit from the fire book. Salamander. Of how, when you burn in a fire, you can't even make fucking pancakes. Without sizzling back, into. The thing. Itself.


I.

There are pancakes for breakfast this morning, here in Casa Town Burned Down. Also, orange juice. And never the twain shall meet. Thus, our sermon for today, shall come from these things. In the Lesson Of The Orange-Peel Pancakes.

Once I had a lover, who we will call P, who once had a lover, who we will call M, and, in the first flush of love, when everything is fine and glowing, M one morning served P some pancakes. With bits of orange peel in them.

“Do you like the pancakes?” M asked.

“Oh yes,” replied P. “Very much so.”

“With the orange peel?” asked M.

“Oh yes,” said P. “I like the orange peel.”

And M beamed. She was pleased. Because she had pleased her lover.

Except P, she didn’t really like the orange peel. She had never considered orange peel in pancakes. But, once presented with them, she decided orange peel, it did not want to be in the pancakes. And she did not want them there, either. But P, she wanted to please her lover. So she told M the orange peel in the pancakes, that was just wunderbar.

Fast forward some years. I don’t remember how many. But it was somewhere in the vicinity of “more than a few.”

M and P, they are now leagues beyond, that first flush of love, when all is fine and glowing.

And, one morning, M serves P some pancakes. With bits of orange peel in them.

“You know,” says P. “I really don’t like these.”

“Why?” asks M. “What’s wrong with them?”

“Orange peel,” P says. “There’s orange peel in them. I don’t want any orange peel in the pancakes. I want pancakes that are normal.”

“You used to like the orange peel,” says M.

“No,” says P. “I never did.”

We will now pull the curtain, on these two. Before they get, to the Yelling

Now, on one level, what P did there, was fine. Because a person should not have to eat orange peel in the pancakes. If they don’t want to. It is right and meet, then, to order the orange peel, out of the pancakes.

But on another level . . . baby, she did a bad, bad thing. Because not only did P inflict a hurt, in that day rejecting the orange peel in the pancakes. She also set rolling back through the time a great tsunami of hurt. Washing all the way back to that very first offering of orange peel in the pancakes. M now knew that P had never liked the orange peel in the pancakes. And so P’s pleasure in them, it was always just shit made up. And thus M had never pleased P with them, at all. It was all, a lie. And so the glow, that M had experienced, all the times she had orange-peeled the pancakes, thinking therein she was pleasing her lover, it had now evaporated. It was gone. P had destroyed it. All of it. All those times, all those memories, for M: now just a great hole of hurt.

And thus we see it can be wisdom, to sound the retreat, early. Lest a hurt, the size of a pebble. Grow, to the size, of fucking El Capitan.

It’s kind of like what Mercedes Reuhl says, to the cadding Jeff Bridges, in the true-life documentary film The Fisher King: “If you're gonna hurt me, hurt me now, not some long drawn-out hurt that takes months of my life because you don’t have the balls.”

Like, this other woman, she was once in a bar with a guy, and she had already decided to go home with him, if ever he’d stop talking, so when he asked “do you like Led Zeppelin?,” there was really no reason for her to lie, and say yes, except she’d had about 17 whiskeys, and also “I was just trying to be pleasant.

“You know,” she said, “guys like you to agree with them.”

“Right,” I said. “I agree.”

When they got to his place, sure enough, he put on some Led Zeppelin. As “mood music.”

“The first song went on forever,” she moaned. “So much longer than he did. So much longer. Later was this song where the singer kept repeating ‘nobody’s fault but mine, nobody’s fault but mine.’ And that was for sure true, for me.”

“The first song, the forever one, that was probably ‘Achilles Last Stand’,” I offered.

“It was his last stand with me, that’s for sure,” she said.

She decided she’d stay with him till the whiskey wore off. Which arrived about six in the morning. She then left. Before she could be served any pancakes with orange peels in them.

Suddenly she got the Fear. “Wait a minute,” she said. “How do you know these things about the Led Zeppelin songs? You don’t like them, too, do you?”

“God no,” I told her, straining to be heard, there in the din of the bar. “But when you’re a guy, and forced periodically into the presence of other guys, there is no way you can avoid the Zeppelin. Unless you go home and push all the furniture up against the doors, so no guys can get in, and then never answer the phone, in case one of them might be on there, all dazed and confused, from the custard pies.”

“I don’t think any woman likes Led Zeppelin,” she said. “How could they?”

I had no answer to that.

Instead I said: “So. What music do you like?”

And she told me. And she didn’t lie. That way, I never played for her any orange peels.


II.

Yesterday my friend Oje Nitram, the Norwegian, aggroed that he will not go to pancakes. Because they are of Mess.

Hear, now, Oje’s woe:

“The problem with pancakes is Mess. If you make pancakes, you will have one. There will be eggshells and flour scattered on the counter. Batter will be everywhere. And syrup. And you will have to have bacon, or sausage, because no one can eat pancakes without something salty, and so there will be also a grease mess. Pots, pans, eating utensils. A whole sink full of them. First thing in the morning. This is why I prefer toast.”

Today, as a public service, for Oje, and for all Norwegians everywhere, I will Julia Child a recipe for messless bacon. (The pancakes we will get to, on another day.) Here goes:

Live in a town burned down. Go to the Save Mart. Proceed to the back of the store, to the counter of the meat woman. Ask her to produce forthwith jalapeno pepper bacon. The meat woman will envelop the bacons in wax paper, and then that will be wrapped in butcher paper.

Go home. Unwrap the butcher paper. Carefully. Do not rip it. You will know why, in a bit.

Then pull the bacons from the wax paper. I guess the wax paper counts as Mess, and should go in the trash. Unless you have some waxes around the house. Then you could give the paper to them. And they will then do with it, whatever waxes do, with their paper.

Go to the toaster oven. (You used to have a regular oven. But then a coil went out. And you were burned in a fire. And so you didn’t want to complain to the landlord. Because. That’s. Just. Too. Much. Work.) So, from the toaster oven, take out the little metal tray. Put some bacons on it. Put the tray back in the oven. Bake the bacons at 350 degrees, to desired doneness. Maybe you’ll need to turn the bacons. Maybe not. When the bacons have achieved doneitude, pull out the tray, and eat the bacons. You can put the bacons on a plate. But if that is too much Mess, just stand there, and lift the bacons from the toaster tray, and into your mouth.

Go to the empty soup can. Tip the metal tray so all the used pig juice drips into it. Scrape the juice with the cunning little metal scraper. Use a paper towel to wipe from the tray the last of the pig juice. I suppose the paper towel qualifies as Mess, but not if you live in this house, where the cat likes to incorporate used paper towels into his nests. People who are Normal consider these nests a Mess, and even Mental, and that is why we pick them up, and hide them, when Normals are expected over. These nests are recycled periodically, but not often, and not without resistance, because the cat has a True Sad, when his nests go missing, and I do not want this cat—or any cat, or any one, for that matter, even if they are not a cat—to be Sad.

Go to the sink. Run some water over the metal tray. Run a sponge over the tray, if you are so inclined. Go to some soap, if you are a soap person. Rinse. Dry the tray. Put it back in the toaster oven. Wipe off the edge of the scraper with a paper towel. You don’t need to wash the damn thing every dern time, because all you use it for is to scrape scum. It’s not like you put it in your mouth. Toss this paper towel with the other paper towel into the cat nest.

Now. You are done. And you are Messless.

Also, as an extra bonus added attraction, while the bacon is baking, you take the bacon butcher paper, which, per instructions, you did not discard, over to the oak table. Spread it out and flatten it. Then get a big black felt-tip marker. And with that marker, on the butcher paper, inscribe this legend: KLEAGLE DELENDA EST. Then you take this sign, and you tape it in your front window. So passing orcs will know not to fuck with you. Or, in the alternative, the orcs will go to their multitudinous firearms, and shoot at your house, until the house falls down. Like in that true-life documentary film The Gauntlet. Now that, would be a Mess.


III.

In this morning’s edition of Feeding Oje, we will Julia Child messless pancakes. As yesterday we produced messless bacon.

Let us review, the woe, of Oje:

“The problem with pancakes is Mess. If you make pancakes, you will have one. There will be eggshells and flour scattered on the counter. Batter will be everywhere. And syrup. And you will have to have bacon, or sausage, because no one can eat pancakes without something salty, and so there will be also a grease mess. Pots, pans, eating utensils. A whole sink full of them. First thing in the morning. This is why I prefer toast.”

It is Sad, that in breakfast, Oje only is toast. It would be okay if Oje were, like, asceticing in a monastery. But he is not. Oje, they will not let him be in a monastery. Because once he was a man of many Libels. And also in the music he made sex come from the horn. And they do not want any Libels in the monasteries. Or, sex. I don’t think they want even horns. Maybe in a Hebrew monastery, there could be a horn; you know, that shofar thing. But Oje, he will not be going into a Hebrew monastery. Because he is Norwegian.

In Julia Childing the messless pancakes, we will here do so in two timelines. This timeline thingy, it will be new, it will be different, it will be fun! Also, mutant.

Here goes:

timeline 1

Stay in a fire. The town burns down. You, do not. After, the authorities close the town. Because the town isn’t there any more. There is only burnt mess. And it needs to be cleaned up.

People down in the unburned lands, they learn you are marooned up there, in the burnt non-town mess, and, because they are Nice, they send up to you Foods.

Among these Foods, is a box of Harvest harvest hill.jpgHill Light & Fluffy Pancake & Waffle Complete Buttermilk Mix.

“Just add water!” it says.

Next, wait for the electricity to come back.

When a town burns down, all the electricities, burn with it.

Humans, from all hithers and yons, must come to the burned down town, to bring back the electricities.

This will take—if you’re lucky—about a month.

Okay. The month is passing.

Can you feel it?

There. Now it’s been a month.

That means there is again electricity. Which means there are stoves that actually work. Rather than just sit there.

Now, for the Harvest Hill Light & Fluffy Pancake & Waffle Complete Buttermilk Mix, you, as it says on the box, “just add water!”

But, in this, there is a Problem. Because when a town burns down, the pipes carrying the waters, they burn, too. And, in this burning, benzenes bubble out from the pipes, and into the air, and onto the lands, and into the waters. And benzenes, they are poisons. And if they go into your body, they may there sprout Tumors. And, no one, wants, Tumors.

So the town says: “See that water, there in your house? Don’t use it! It is bad and wrong! And will remain so! Until we suck out all the benzenes!”

This, the benzene-sucking, it will take—if you’re lucky—about a year.

But while a human may survive a month without electricity, no human is going to survive a year without water.

This means you must find alternate waters.

This means you are now wandering the lands, to find water, and fetch it, and tote it into your house.

Which means, you are now in a time warp! Hauling water, just like in Jesus’ time!

Maybe you could also, like, go out and heal a leper. Because you can’t heal the town. It’s just all burned down. It is Mess, and like a motherfucker. Or maybe cast some demons into pigs. Or just into that bacon we made yesterday. Or pound on a table about money. That’s always a good one. Wash some feets. No, can’t do that one, because water is too precious. When you are hauling it into your house, there in the town burned down, hauling it like in Jesus’ time, water, it is more valuable than gold. Or even cocaine. You cannot be wasting, any of it, washing, any feets.

Well, except when you go into the shower. Then you will wash your own feets. Also the feets of anybody else who happens to be in there. Though of course you are not supposed to be showering. Because of the benzenes. They are there. In the shower water. The benzenes. Tumoring. Like a motherfucker. But you go in the shower anyway. Because you are not going to go a year without a shower. Because you are not Frank Zappa. And if his music happens to come on, you unplug all the electricities. Because you would rather there be silence and darkness. Than Frank Zappa.

Melissa from the newspaper, she is meanwhile cassandraing, at all times, that you should stay out of the shower, because of the benzenes. And also that you should get out of the town, because living there, is like living, in a corpse.

But this, you do not hear, much less, obey. Because you are dumb. And you are stupid. You do not grok, her wisdom. Until, some, real, just too, late.

And after you get out of the shower, you look at the box of Harvest Hill Light & Fluffy Pancake & Waffle Complete Buttermilk Mix. And you note it wants 1.5 cups of water.

And that seems like a lot! When you are hauling water, like in Jesus’ day. Because a thing about water? It’s fucking heavy!

Just looking at it, like in a pond or a stream or some shit, it doesn’t seem like it would be. But it is.

When you are in the year of hauling water, you learn that, carrying, here and there, and how-many-more-miles, a couple gallon jugs, of Crystal Geyser bottled water, that is like toting around a Sherman tank.

And you do not want to be toting tanks, any more than is necessary.

And so when something wants 1.5 cups of water, you come to give it the stink eye.

You basically stop cooking.

Because cooking always wants water—water, always, water!

So you retreat to eating foods that do not want any waters.

Which is why you now weigh orson.jpgmore than late-period Orson Welles.

But you will be fine, once you can squeeze out of your body, all the waters. Because the human body, it is 60 percent water. And the water, it is fucking heavy. And that is why, the humans, they, are so, Fat.

This, is Science.

So you decide you will not be making any Harvest Hill Light & Fluffy Pancake & Waffle Complete Buttermilk Mix, that wants the 1.5 cups of water, until the town says the benzenes are out of the waters, and so you can receive the 1.5 cups of water from the tap, rather than carrying it across the desert in heaving jugs that weigh more than howitzers.

So, you wait the year.

Until the town says: “We’ve tested the lines up to your meter, and you seem to be benzene-free!”

But the town only tests the waters up to the meter. From the meter to the tap, those lines are the responsibility of the property owner. The property owner must test them. You are not a property owner. You just live there. These further tests, they range from around $5000, where water is drawn from several indoor taps, and then is sent to several Lab Coats, who subject it to several scrutinies, to $50 jobs, where some guy comes out and turns on an outside faucet, runs the water a little, sticks his finger in it, puts it up to his nose, sniffs it, then says: “Seems like there’s no benzene in here to me!”

And thus, when the property owner calls, and tells you the lines to the house have been checked, with no benzenes reported, so it is okay to go back to the waters, you know that he elected to go with the $50 jawbone method, because nobody ever came in the house, and fondled there any indoor taps.

But unlike the neighbor in the back—who water-bottles to this day—you decide, what the hey, let’s just trust the guy with the finger in the faucet stream.

And so it is time for the pancakes!

In many ecstasies, you pull from the shelf the box of Harvest Hill Light & Fluffy Pancake & Waffle Complete Buttermilk Mix.

It’s been sitting there more than a year now. But at last there can again be pancakes! So you open the box. And you peer inside.

And there are people living in there. These people, they are weevils.

So, you close the box.

And you go into the front room, and you sit in the corner, and you rock back and forth in a fugue state.

Again.

timeline 2

This tracks timeline 1, until you get to the part where you decide not to go to the pancakes for a year, because of your water miserliness. Instead:

You decide, alright, you can spare 1.5 cups of water, to achieve pancakes. Because you just have this feeling. That somehow, someday, someone, will want to Know, about making these pancakes. And, maybe, he will be a Norwegian. And, he will be, your Friend. And so, it is your Duty.

And you gird your loins, with your pajamas, which keep falling down, because, before the town burned down, when you ordered them from Bezos, you ordered them several sizes too large.

Pajamas girded, you go to the box of Harvest Hill Light & Fluffy Pancake & Waffle Complete Buttermilk Mix.

You extract two cups of this powder, and put them in a bowl.

From the howitzer-heavy jug of Crystal Geyser you add 1.5 cups of precious water.

Then you stir them together.

The box says for this stirring to use a whisk, but hella no that, you’re not using any damn whisk, because a whisk is something to wash, and when your house waters have gone all to benzene, and you have to haul waters into your house like in Jesus’ time, you’re certainly not going to be expending any of this cocaine-valuable water to be washing any extra whisk-shits.

In re dishes, you have come to appreciate the sacred godliness of paper plates. When your fire companera comes by now and again with the pizza, she arrives also with the paper plates, that the pizza people, so kindly, bestow. And, as you eat the pizza, you gaze, lustfully, at the little pile of paper plates. How many will you get to have? You wonder. There in the lust. Because you and your fire companera, you are, at root, Sane and Decent, mostly, that is why, generally, in the end, you evenly divide the paper plates, rather than mud-wrestle for them. Because she’s all burned down too. And so also has come to be in worship, of the plates, that are paper.

And, in one of the many tomes I will never write—this one called Slob Of The Century—you will learn just how many times it is possible to reuse a paper plate, without from some galloping food poisoning, going to a Hospital.

So. Anyway. No whisk. Instead, you stir it with a fork.

The box says “Batter may be lumpy.”

No shit, you, be, Sherlock.

Especially when you are eschewing the whisk, because of the benzene waters situation, and are using a fork.

But you have nothing better to do, there in a town burned down, then fork some water and Harvest Hill Light & Fluffy Pancake & Waffle Complete Buttermilk Mix.

Until the cows, all burned down, they come home.

So, you do that.

And, as you reduce the lumps, you remember that Thanksgiving, when your brother, he served the mashed potatoes, with all the lumps in them. The lumps were wrong, and thus also were the potatoes, and this was not like your brother, as, in the cooking, generally, he was very good, but you understood the alcohol was now moving your brother, and very fast, towards the boneyard, because he said the lumps were intentional, but really you knew the lumps were there because he was just too drunken. He, was, burning: down.

Okay. Lumps gone. Brother: still in the boneyard. Town: still burned down.

Go to the stove. Set on a burner an Oje-approved cast-iron skillet. Heat the skillet. To some sort of goldilocks setting: not too hot, not too cold. Pour pancake goop onto the skillet, in pancake shapes. These are generally circular. But they don’t have to be.

Like, look at that one. It looks like a house, burning. That house over on Fir. Next to the lawyer’s office. That’s burning, thing itself.jpgtoo. It’s all burning. But not you. Because “i’m telling you/so you can tell/the rest what you’ve been though.” And you will. Look behind you.

Shake your head. Keep shaking it. Until, the burning house, there, in the skillet, it goes away.

After cooking on one side about 90 seconds, flip the pancakes.

Hope they don’t burn, like houses, all my tears, like water flow, that side, too.

Remember that metal scraper I yesterday said you use only to scrape out scum? I lied.

Like P, she lied, about the orange peel, there in the pancakes.

Because you also use it, to flip the pancakes. So: do that.

After the pancakes have been heated 90 seconds on each side, you are ready to remove them from the skillet, and eat them.

Put them on a paper plate. Eat them with the same fork you used to stir the goop.

Now, Oje claims that here a Mess is introduced, in the form of syrup. But you will be eschewing syrup. Because trees do not want syrup. I once planted a little scarlet maple here, and the first thing it said was: “If you’re going to try to get syrup out of me, I’m just going to die right now.” It then explained to me the anathema of tree-bleeding. To get syrup from the trees, the humans bleed the trees. This is so gross. It is worse than The Matrix. No one Sane and Decent would ever go there. And as I know Oje to be Sane and Decent, I know he will now shove syrup, entirely, out of his life.

Instead, on the pancakes, he will put butter. Butter is related to cheese, which is one of the three essential food groups—meat, heat, cheese—and thus it is right and meet to put it on the pancakes. Especially as pancakes are not of the three essential food groups, and therefore somebody, like butter, from one of those food groups, must be bootstrapped in, in order to justify, eating the pancakes.

Pancakes are basically grains. The human body does not want any grains. The human body is built to run on meat and fruit—this is Science; see book Consuming Passions, author Peter Farb—and that is what it wants.

Oh, and you cut the butter and spread it on the pancakes with the same fork you used to stir the goop and with which you are eating the pancakes. That fork. It is all about. Multitasking. In the town burned down. In the benzenes. Of the waters.

Are you done?

Was it good for you too?

Now all you have as Mess is a cast-iron skillet, a bowl, and a fork. Also, the paper plate. That you set aside for the next 98 times you use it. The fork? Just wipe it with a paper towel. That’s good enough. There shouldn’t be any Mess in the skillet, it should have all come out as pancake. If there is any Mess in there, just turn the burner to high, until it high-heat incinerates and evaporates all the Mess. That’s what the fire did to the bodies of the humans. Also, the animals. Birds. Etc. Burning and burning and burning and burning. Anyway. That leaves just the bowl. What you want to do now, is find some dog. Not the dog that in the fire burned in the bathtub. Some other dog. Remember that dog who burned in the bathtub? I do. Every day. Anyway. Some other dog. Go find one. Have the dog lick the bowl. The dog will be happy to do so. Because dogs will lick anything. Except they can’t lick fire. When the dog will lick no more, take the bowl back, put it on the counter, and forget there ever was a dog. Like you can’t forget the dog, who burned, there, in the bathtub.

And thus we see how easily pancakes may be achieved without Mess. Where there’s a will, as they say, there’s a way. Except, when your town burns down. Then, it will always, the town, be a mess. And. So. Will you.

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Comments

fried up in that pig juice? Or would that make too much of a mess?

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hecate's picture

@peachcreek

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Bisbonian's picture

@hecate , (and then turned to wife, to satisfy our health insurance), loves Led Zeplin. I didn't know. Fourteen years into this relationship, she showed me her Zeplin...two albums...on vinyl. It was okay. Better than orange peel in pancakes. Then she made a pancake mess. I cleaned it up. All is well.

Good to see you again.

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"I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.” —Malcolm X

mimi's picture

your Pancake Trilogy. We don't have ready made pancake powder here in Germany (may be we do, but I never looked for it and would not buy it) So, I could never make the pancakes from scratch in your burned-down-everything parts of the world either.

I never eat a pancake.

Kudos to you. How did you write all this down in your burned-down-everything parts o the woods. Typewriter wasn't burned down and did its job?.

I feel so dumb.

I get a toast for breakfast now. With Quark. For my bones, which stoart to dissolve and brittle.

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mimi

hecate's picture

@mimi

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mimi's picture

@hecate
I don't understand this shit. Don't know why I still come here and try to read stuff just to be fooled and trolled. Can you be serious, for once at least?

I live with two persons who don't use a computer, don't understand what the internet is and I must explain to them what a blog is and what social media means. Have mercy.

And now I should explain what the 'infinity'sign means on blogs? Or what trolls are?

I would even eat your pancakes, if you wouldn't disrespect internet and blog virgins, even senile elderly virgins are humans and need to be respected..

I am mad as hell and can't take it anymore, Sherlock.

Sigh. C99p is killing me. Blog bubble and babbling online witches and devils?

/end of rant against the hecate machine.

If JtC wants to fire me now, because I insulted you, he has to fire you too, because you insulted me too. Basta.

Or does ∞ mean you love me endlessly? Now who is the fool, me or you?

(Sorry - I am a good girl)

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mimi

janis b's picture

@mimi

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mimi's picture

@janis b
would come to my life. I miss them so.

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mimi

for being and doing. Without is not a sustainable proposition. To eat is always ‘stealing’ from something that would rather live than become food. Rocks will not do. Neither will the eyes of the now food looking back at me as I fork it in, making a mess to boot.

I will enjoy my toast this morning with vegetable spread and honey (no bees are killed, I am just stealing some of their extra food).

Am I a monk? No, I am a vegan who also hates messes. Amen.

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Truth is the daughter of time, not of authority. Meanwhile people are dying because of the material self-interest of a few. - Eduardo Giuliani

“Without a diversity of opinions, the discovery of truth is impossible.” - Alexander von Humboldt

Lookout's picture

...and save the grease as well. I like to use parchment paper in the metal tray. The parchment paper gets used several times. No mess.

I'll pass on the pancakes with or without orange peels.

We often rinse and let paper plates dry for reuse...and will use paper towels multiple times too.

Sorry about the benzene water. That is a pretty nasty material.

Hope things rise from the ashes and hope springs anew!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

janis b's picture

You laughingly fooled me while reading. I thought your story would continue with you heading outside to collect some fallen twigs to whisk with, but I guess a fork is better, even if it means having to clean one more thing. Your cleaning and cooking methods, despite the context, are very funny. I can see this scene enacted in a stand-up piece. Nice work, hecate.

I hope you’re enjoying more palatable food these days, and just in case you do like pancakes, here’s an interesting version. You could always add some orange peel to the chocolate, if you like.

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enhydra lutris's picture

to be buckwheat cakes in a box, not wheat nor grain, but the stuff of soba. I haven't seen any in years, however, and mixing ground up buckwheat into my sourdough starter did not produce admirable results. Agreed that one should eschew syrup and stick with butter, bring out the taste rather than conceal it.

Good to see you posting again.

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --