Something about winter makes me crave pancakes. Usually, they’re a weekend food. But some years, like this year and last year, I’ll eat pancakes every day. Last year, I’d get up fifteen minutes early every morning so I could make pancakes before going to work. Not only would I eat pancakes every day for breakfast, sometimes I’d make pancakes for dinner. Then when spring came I just stopped eating pancakes altogether. Until winter rolled around again this year….
It must be the fat; many animals crave fat in the cold dark months. Squirrels eat nuts (also full of fat); I eat pancakes. When I make pancakes myself, they tend to have even more fat: I just took one off the frying pan, and when I cut it with my fork, the fat glistened in the light. Mmm.
For some people, pancakes are an excuse to eat maple syrup, another winter food. But I don’t use maple syrup on pancakes. Sometimes I put some fruit in them — this evening, I added frozen cranberries grown in Freetown, the next town north of here — but I never use sweetener of any kind in or on my pancakes. It’s not the sugar I crave, it’s the fat.
There’s nothing like biting into a pancake hot off the griddle, the wheat flour providing just enough sweetness, the springy texture, and above all the lovely taste of hot grease. It doesn’t even matter what kind of grease: I’m protecting my arteries so I use olive oil, not butter. The pancakes still taste wonderful to me. My partner Carol gets her winter grease from fried squash seeds. I am not as fond of squash seeds as she is, but I suppose everyone has their own preferred way of ingesting winter grease.
Early spring will bring odd foods like dandelion greens and fiddleheads, foods that seem so unappetizing right now, but in a few months, as days get longer and warmer, I know I will crave them — the bitterness of dandelion greens, the slightly itchy texture of fiddleheads. For now, just give me pancakes.