Sadly, because I gorged over the weekend, and have a lot of food going out of date soon, I didn’t get to have pancakes today. I’ve always looked forward to Shrove Tuesday for the excuse to make them, but I have to get the diet back on track. Although I’m probably not as strong willed as I sound – I’m getting through it by promising myself I’ll buy pancake mix on clear and have them at the weekend instead.
Ironically, despite my love for this day, I completely suck at making pancakes. Years of practice and every time I end up with sloppy bake mix that often looks like the goop you get in the sink after baking. Of course, half baked baking sometimes tastes even better than the fully baked stuff – especially when treated with liberal amounts of sugar and lemon.
Considering they’re supposedly one of the easiest things on the planet to make, it’s kind of astonishing how few people know how to make them properly. I only started making them annually when I started going to university. If there’s one thing any student living in dorms learns to take advantage of, it’s a holiday that encourages the digestion of fried foods. Not so much the holiday that follows, but the start of Lent? Students are all over it. 4 years of student accommodation resulted in 4 sets of young adults – many of which had never held so much as a wooden spoon in their life – deciding they couldn’t get through the day without making their own. Girls would be coming through the door with pancake mix, specially bought frying pans, and hosts of things they thought would go well with them. The particularly smart roommates came home with a stack of crepes and just watched. 30 minutes later we’d have plates of pale sticky goop drowning in lemon and bacon, and be eyeing the store bought crepes. Still can’t believe that with about 20 potential chefs, not one actually managed to make a proper pancake.
My favourite memory was in my Second year. I had a roommate that could not hold her liquor. One drink and she was soused – at which point she would do crazy stupid things, and in the morning have a complete mental blank. As a teetotal who got to witness several of these, one of my favourite pastimes was reminding her exactly what she’d done.
So, Shrove Tuesday of that year, we’d gone through the obligatory ‘let’s see if this year we’ve magically learned how to make pancakes’ cooking session, and left most of the ingredients out. That evening my roommates went out to party, while I holed up in the living room with the TV, a games console and several hours of RPG goodness.
(Not exactly relevant, but yes, that is how I spent most of my university nights. I didn’t have a TV until my Third year, and my roommates didn’t exactly want to watch me play, so I would wait until they left and play the night away when I didn’t have to get up early. Most roommates didn’t really get why I chose to spend my time like this, and this roommate specifically hated it).
Around 3am, in comes a very drunken roommate, along with her not-quite-as-but-in-the-ballpark drunken male friend. She came in and began her mutterings about how I was rotting my brain with these games. An argument that would have been a lot more convincing if she wasn’t completely dependent on her friend to keep her upright. Her legs were complete noodles and she was only standing due to his hands on her hips. Despite this, after her complaints to me, she suddenly decided she wanted to make pancakes. So she grabs a bowl, tosses in the eggs (plus shells no less), milk and all of the other necessary items (and if memory serves, quite a few unnecessary ones too), mixes it all up and pours it into a pan. A few seconds later.
“Aw S*&t! I forgot the oil.”
So out comes the batter, poured back into the bowl. In goes the oil, and roommate pours the batter back in…Most of it missing the pan and hitting the stove and the hob beside it (she then gets the idea to heat that one up and see if she can’t make a pancake without a pan). By this point, even her friend is struggling to stand because he’s laughing so hard, and I decide for my own safety (especially if she decided I had to taste them) to call it a night. I left the two of them flopping around the kitchen, and kept a pair of shoes and a jacket near the door should they set off the alarm.
(And to anyone who argues that I should never have let them near the stove in that state? I am very nervous around drunk people, her friend was one of the biggest guys I’ve ever met and said roommate and I weren’t exactly on the friendliest of terms. Frankly, doing anything more than saying I didn’t think cooking was such a good idea – which I did – would have taken more guts than I had at that time in my life. I’d rather they burn down the kitchen than try to get in their way – legless or otherwise)
As it happens, I woke up in the morning, so they avoided burning down the kitchen. Of course, when I went in, I nearly walked straight out. Apparently the first attempt had been so bad (or so good), that they’d decided to try again, but only without the bowl. There were ingredients everywhere. I don’t think there was a clean surface left (and that’s not mentioning what they’d done to the stove).
Her reaction when she woke up and saw the carnage?
“What on earth happened here?”
On the plus side, she did the cleaning and bought us all proper crepes as an apology, so it ended up being a win, win.