Pancake Roll-Ups by Terry

As I was reading a story of my grandfather’s breakfast time cooking and, later, my brothers accomplished leap into the role, I was reminded of a tradition that my wife and I have concerning the cooking of pancakes.

I love pancakes. There is something about getting up in the morning and downing a whole heap of delicious griddle cakes doused liberally with butter and maple syrup….syrup from Aunt Jemima or from the small stills up state, doesn’t matter. There is no way better, short of chocolate cake, to start a day requiring vim, vigor and energy.

After getting married, my tastes, though, were in need of refinement, so my wife helped me to learn the joy of thin pancakes, or as some would call them: crepes. And what a delicacy these were. This was one of the first things I can remember us cooking up in that old cast iron pan we bought 36 years ago. Delicious, wonderful, and light…..a person could eat a bunch of these jelly filled morsels…..

As our children were growing up, my wife and I would take this recipe for simple delectable goodness and come up with a process for mass production… No longer were we cooking crepes….those slight flimsy wisps of goodness, placed singularly on a plate sprinkled with sugar of the mountain enjoyed with a good wine and candles on a tablecloth spread over our makeshift level spot in our first apartment in Rock Springs. We were now in the production of: pancake roll-ups!!!!! And boy, were we good at it.

As with my brother and grandfather, though, adequate manufacture of product stored in a manner not to dry out and served in a manner that doesn’t leave out one of the patrons needed to be figured. And this is how we did it…

First, we had to have the oven set on warm and in it a receiver plate or two. Next stirring the mix of one to one of pancake batter to water (the key) and two, possibly, three eggs had to be done thoroughly in that no lumps could be left and you had to have a very thin conglomerate. Meanwhile, we would heat up our old skillet plus the new one we got in about 1984. Now the trick was to have the skillets hot enough to take the batter, but also slick enough to allow for easy turning. Hot to start an immediate set of the cake.

We would take a cup of the mixture and pour about a three inch diameter cake. Immediately you pick the pan up and start a rolling motion to allow the mixture to start spreading. If everything was working correctly, we would end up with about an eight inch diameter ‘crepe’. If the pan were hot enough, the cake would be all bubbled up in about a 30 seconds. Flip it now and take a square of butter and place on top of the browned side of the cake. Allow to set for just about half a minute and flip. The pan will sizzle now as the butter melts and some starts oozing through the cake. Press the cake and start moving it about the pan spreading the butter over the cake and also greasing the pan for the next one. Flip once or twice to get the desired brownness and then flip one more time onto the jelly plate. You now have a very thin buttered pancake and a greased pan. While one is spreading jelly over the cake, rolling it up and placing on the warmer plate in the oven, the other is pouring the next 3 inch blob of batter on the pan. Once production is up and running and with two pans going, it’s like a dance. You need to be sure you have enough jelly or jam and butter because if one has to stop to replenish, the rhythm is lost and will need to be regained….usually not as gracefully.

At the end, there are about fifteen to twenty of these rollups in the oven, music on the stereo, three children walking in wiping the sleep from their eyes, good coffee to be poured and no syrup needed….


9 thoughts on “Pancake Roll-Ups by Terry

  1. This story was written by my father and fills my heart with joy. I have such fond memories of these breakfast mornings, and pancake roll-ups. Many of the things I admire the most about my parent’s marriage is embodied in these breakfasts – not just the fun, love, and laughter, but their cooperation and collaboration. They make a strong team, both inside and outside the kitchen.

    But seriously, Dad, these are not nearly as easy to cook as you make them out to be. Just tried and the only thing that I seemed to do well was melt butter (hence the photo). You say “allow to sit for a minute and then flip,” but you don’t tell me how to flip them! I ended up with a crumbled mess of pancake and jelly. 🙂

  2. My Dad made french toast every Sunday morning while my mom got 4 kids ready for church. When I was first married, by father was diagnosed with lymph cancer. We traveled home to be with him and when he got up on Sunday morning and started making french toast, I knew things were going to be OK.

    • Hi Rhonda – What a touching memory. Thanks so much for adding it to this blog. All best to you and your dad. I hope there are many more Sunday mornings of French Toast in your future.

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