Wistful Wednesday #2: cornmeal pancakes

person in beige robe holding stainless steel spoon Photo by Ksenia Chernaya on Pexels.com

Something new for ’22.

No not poetry. Recipes that conjure up wistful memories. Sometimes from the distant past and sometimes more recent.

Cornmeal pancakes that bring a smile every time.

I’m not big into cooking and baking shows. Still, every once in a while and episode catches my eye. A few years ago, that happened with America’s Test Kitchen. I do like how the crew tests out and recommends different tools for the kitchen. I think about the cutting board comparison every time I get out my smallest cutting board. I should know better. Test Kitchen warned me this one is too small for just about anything.

Christopher Kimball, one of the hosts, started out the cornmeal pancake episode with a long expiation of his quest to find a cornmeal pancake recipe his family liked. No matter what he did, they turned their noses up. He reduced the amount of cornmeal to a measly 1/4 cup, and still they complained that his pancakes were gritting. Finally, at long last, he came up with a solution.

Every time I make these, I smile at the bow-tied Christopher’s tenacity.

“Why don’t you give it up? Maybe your family just doesn’t like cornmeal pancakes.”

Yet, he persisted, confident that he could come up with just the right chemistry for success. He did. I am the better for it.

What you need for this recipe:

1 3/4 c buttermilk. (I often use the substitute: 1 Tablespoon vinegar to each cup of milk. Loved-One was suspicious until he did a little research and found out that’s the way most buttermilk is manufactured these days.)

1 1/2 c cornmeal

3/4 c flour

2 T sugar (I use brown sugar)

1 3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 T unsalted butter (I consulted my The Science of Good Cooking and I decided that the salted butter could be substituted without problem.)

2 eggs

How you prepare this recipe:

  1. Whisk together 1 1/4 c buttermilk and cornmeal in a large microwave oven bowl. (This is not all of the buttermilk.)
  2. Slice the butter and place on top of cornmeal mixture.
  3. Cover and microwave on high for 90 seconds.
  4. Mix together the eggs and remaining 1/2 c buttermilk in a small bowl. Slowly whisk into cornmeal mixture.
  5. Mix together all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl before adding to the wet ingredients.
  6. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  7. Fry on a hot griddle in 1/4 cup increments. Note: if you use oil or cooking spray, wipe excess off with a paper towel before frying pancakes.

How to enjoy this recipe:

These pancakes are, indeed fluffy, not a bit gritty, and delicious. They are especially good with cranberry relish on top (or a little warmed maple syrup.) For a savory treat, I make them with crumbled bacon inside.

This recipe makes a boatload of pancakes. I suppose you could cut the recipe in half. I never have. Instead, I put the leftovers in a tortilla keeper and refrigerate. They’re wonderful warmed up in the toaster oven.

Now I feel even more wistful!

This picture is from 2015. How the years fly. And my coffee mug? My friends from Harbor Beach gave that to me before I set off for the Windy City.

Do you have recipes that bring up memories? I’d love to hear about them. Please leave a link to your blog/instagram/facebook post.
Hmmm.. now my recipe has some great memories attached to it. I can feel the memories piling up.

Before I meander too far into my wistful woods, please hop over and check out Baking in a Tornado. I’m confident you’ll love Karen as much as I do. She’s a blogger friend who posts wonderful, short essays along with her recipes. Today she shares a poem. It’s much longer than the one at the top of my post.