Celeste, my daughter, is arriving from Los Angeles in a few hours for a weekend visit. (Her husband, Patrick, comes on Saturday, to enjoy with Celeste the all-too-common November-in-May Oregon weather. Our gutters were overflowing this morning, so I climbed up on the roof with my trusty high-powered leaf blower—a great way to clean gutters, by the way, even if water is in them—and ended up getting hailed on.)
In honor of Celeste’s visit, for it has been quite a while since I’ve seen my one and only offspring, I have decided to share with the world the pancake recipe which sustained Celeste throughout her childhood, and well into adolescence. Since she was a vegetarian who hated vegetables, other forms of nutrition had to be found that suited her fussy eating habits. This pancake recipe was one of them. I got it from a old friend who I grew up with in Three Rivers, California—Todd Wells.
Todd lived on a ranch. These are ranch pancakes. They have scared countless little girls who stayed overnight with Celeste, and innocently answered “yes” when I asked them if they would like pancakes for breakfast. Ha ha! I could hardly wait to plop these suckers down on their plate and hear them start crying. “What is that! They’re not pancakes!! I want my mommy’s pancakes!” “Tough luck,” I’d tell them. “You’re not at your mommy’s house anymore, and these are the pancakes you’re going to damn well eat. So, dig in!”
You see, these babies end up about an inch thick when they’re done. Eat a couple of them, and you could have been stranded with the Donner Party and survive the winter. In short, these are real pancakes, not those wimpy imitation pancakes most people make from a box, thin and insubstantial. I normally don’t make them with buttermilk, because I don’t like to drink buttermilk plain, but the original recipe used it. Strawberries and whipped cream make a good topping.
Todd’s (and Brian’s) California Ranch Pancakes
Mix: 1 cup oats (I use quick oats), 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, ¼ cup wheat germ, ¼ cup powdered milk, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 teaspoon baking soda
Add: 1 ¾ cups milk, 2 tablespoons oil