My Favorite Meal

Everything you need to know about Chocolate Chip Pancakes

  • Recipe
  •  Makes 4 pancakes
  •       Ingredients:
    •                2 cups Aunt Jemima’s Original Pancake Mix
    •                2 1/2 cups water
    •                1 cup Nestle Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (mini)
    •      Directions:
    •        1. Place medium pan on stove top on low/medium heat
    •        2. Mix Aunt Jemima’s Original Pancake Mix with water and whisk
    •        3. Scoop about 1/4 cup of mix and pour onto pan
    •        4. Sprinkle desired amount of Nestle Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips onto pancake
    •        5. Flip pancake when raised and lightly bubbling
    •        6. Remove from pan and garnish with desired toppings

 

 

Dish of Life by Deanna L. Phipps

Morning sunlight streams through the large bay window nestled behind the dining room table, countless dust motes twirling through the air. Below rests five sets of empty plates, napkins and glasses filled with cold orange juice or milk, idly perspiring in the warm morning air.  My two sisters and I, along with our mother, sit hungrily before the prepared table. It’s Saturday morning and almost time to eat.

The source of the excitement, the reason we’re all sitting at the table, comes marching around the corner. Dad is dressed in his classic flannel pajama bottoms and white crew neck, spotted with grease and flour from his kitchen endeavors. A plate of perfectly crisped bacon resides in his right hand, while his left balances a precariously balanced stack of perfect golden pancakes. Upon quick inspection, I expertly determine which pancakes are graced with chocolate chips. Eager hands reach for the steaming pancakes before he even gets a chance to set them down. It’s the best meal of the week and I can’t wait to dig in!

 As a weekly occurrence, this modest family tradition maintains a special place within my heart. Beyond just tasting delicious, chocolate chip pancakes and bacon represent a sliver of time I’ve come to rely upon emotionally. Such connections are not uncommon. Creating attachments to different foods goes beyond sensual pleasantries or primal necessities, it’s an unconscious emotional aspect established by an intangible link between a moment in time and a meal.

Over time, the meanings behind this meal have slowly evolved into something beyond the basic taste and love of the food. The initial love for pancakes I harbored as a child was based solely on the taste of the meal. Now, there are much deeper emotions tied to the small circlets of golden-brown perfection. My mother recognizes the evolution of my passion for chocolate chip pancakes, reminiscing that “When you were little it was purely about eating chocolate for breakfast. You would gorge yourself all day long. But then as you grew, I think it turned into more about the family time along with loving pancakes; not to mention the bacon.” She’s right, of course. My passion for chocolate in the morning slowly evolved into a steadfast love for family time.  

It was a predictable time in my life where I knew my whole family would be together, ready to talk to one another and discuss anything and everything. My mom sees these moments as “memories of one day a week where we’re all together as a family and we get to share our time together and have good food. It means family, tradition, and bonding. Also, it’s a time where I don’t have to cook; a meal where Dad makes the meal instead of me.” Saturday morning breakfast is a moment out of the whole week where we can all just take a break and enjoy being a family. No rush to go anywhere or important work that needs immediate attention. Just a relaxing morning spent with the ones I love. Yet, upon further consideration, I believe that my emotions are more complicated than simple love of family time.

There were those rare occasions in which my dad decided to switch up the normal routine. Saturday mornings where I would wake up with a certain excitement only pancakes could procure. Diffused through the house was the distinct smoky hint of bacon, but on this rare occasion, a mysterious undertone hinted at disaster. It took a few minutes for my sleep-fogged brain to register the masked scent, but finally I placed it. Cinnamon. Rushing down the stairs, horror struck deep when I entered the kitchen. Cinnamon and nutmeg were dashed across the countertop next to an open loaf of bread. Each new horrifying detail I took in was like a blow to the stomach. There was no Aunt Jemima pancake mix box sitting out, no chocolate chips spilling across the countertop. But Saturday mornings were for pancakes! My mind reals. I was about to voice my outrage when my dad opens the oven to toss in the new batch of freshly made French Toast when I caught a glimpse of four golden brown chocolate chip pancakes.

Everyone in my house, save for myself, enjoyed the occasional switch to French Toast. I’ve come to realize that it wasn’t so much the taste that I disliked about the obtrusive breakfast food, but the small change in the morning’s traditional routine. I loathed the days when my father would make French Toast, even though he made me my own personal plate of pancakes. It took me some time to recognize that, whether he admits to it or not, my father recognized my physical and emotional attachment to pancakes before I did. In trying to remedy this change in tradition, he would create a small stack of pancakes especially for me. This small and inconsequential action established a foundation of trust for me at a young age. Even when the entire family was eating something different, my dad would take the time to make a special plate of chocolate chip pancakes for me. I trusted that, regardless of the situation or prevailing circumstances, my dad would always be a steadfast rock in my life.

The transition between high school and college was a difficult time in my life. Adjusting to new routines, new environment, and new meals was a shock. The reality of my situation really stuck deep the following Saturday after I moved in to the dorms. Striding into the dining hall and gathering a plateful of food was exciting. Sausage, eggs, pancakes, hash browns, bacon, there were so many foods to choose from. It wasn’t until I sat down to dig in that I realized I had filled my plate with pancakes and bacon. But they weren’t chocolate chip, and the texture was wrong. The bacon was floppy and dripping in grease, not crispy. I realized was comparing this breakfast with the one I had grown with. It just wasn’t the same. When I returned home later that month, I knew I could expect to be treated to a heaping plate of my dad’s chocolate chip pancakes and bacon.

Meals cooked by those you care about is inherently different from mass produced food. Home cooked meals versus a university dining hall, there is really no comparison. A certain feeling received from family cooked meals that can only be described as love is present in every dish. It’s a fundamental element that isn’t missed until it’s no longer there, like an important spice in a dish that no one realizes is included until someone forgets to include it. It results in the entire dish feeling wrong and incomplete. A meal cooked by anyone other than family may be made with the exact same recipe, but it ultimately fails to compete with those made by the ones you love.

            Foods hold a certain power over you. Chocolate chip pancakes and bacon are important spices in my dish of life that without, would have influenced the foundation of my being. The memories made with my family and the trust and reliability established with my father would simply not have been created. Food has the power to create powerful connections between a moment in time and the emotions provoked. These memories will remain with me throughout my entire life, and hopefully I’ll be able to pass on these feelings and moments to my future family.  With any luck, they will have the opportunity to experience the same love and happiness I felt when eating this simple breakfast of pancakes and bacon.