My husband has been cooking pancakes almost every Saturday since we first met. I’m not a huge fan of pancakes, but I ate them anyway because he seemed so happy making them and that’s what was available for breakfast.
I don’t hate pancakes, but they’re not something I would ever order for breakfast unless I absolutely had to. So if I had the option of, say, going down with a ship in the middle of the ocean or ordering and eating pancakes? I’ll take the pancakes. If it were up to me, though, I’d have a fried egg sandwich and oatmeal because it’s got more flavor. Also, you can’t ask for a more filling breakfast unless you eat a bag of cement.
It was three years into our marriage when I finally told him I didn’t love pancakes.
“What do you mean you don’t care for pancakes?”
“I don’t know; I just don’t love them.”
“Who doesn’t love pancakes?”
“Why didn’t you say anything before?”
“I don’t know; it never came up.”
“It came up every Saturday when I was making the pancakes.”
“I guess I never really thought it was a big deal.”
“So our entire relationship is based on a lie?”
“Yeah, pretty much.”
The seven stages of grief took about twenty minutes, and we moved on with life — still making pancakes every weekend.
Pancakes on Saturday have been a constant in our relationship from the time we met. Almost every Saturday morning there are pancakes in this house despite fights, arguments, family struggles, life struggles, vacations, and holidays. They’re like the Post Office of breakfast food for our life together: neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these hot cakes from the swift completion of their appointed meal times.
Pancakes will be part of our family legacy, long after we’re gone. Even if our kids don’t continue to make them, they’ll still be there in hidden memories deep down, buried somewhere in the depths of their syrup-coated psyche. For now, they’re just breakfast on Saturdays. Every Friday evening, the fridge is stocked with eggs and the pantry with syrup. In the morning, our son wakes up and pulls the bag of pancake mix out of the pantry. He dutifully walks his three-year-old self around the house getting bowls and spatulas ready, and eggs from the fridge — by way of a chair — while shouting, “TIME FOR PANCAKES,” like a town crier in footie pajamas.
Our kids request shapes, animals, and different candies to add to them. Sometimes, they ask for food coloring. Occasionally my husband makes them so big that our kids have to hold them with both hands. Birthday pancakes come with sprinkles and whipped cream, and when Dad is out of town, I make pancake dippers — little tiny ones they can dip into a bowl of syrup.
It’s become a tradition in our house to have pancakes on Saturdays for no other reason except to have them.
I know, it’s not as glamorous as handing down a family ring that’s been passed from generation to generation since the middle ages. It’s not an adventurous family story about a great-great-great-great grandfather who purportedly fought off a bear with a stick and a wish. It’s a flat cake made of carbs that’s a vehicle for whipped cream and powdered sugar. Sure, you can put fruit on top to make it feel healthy, but it’s not. It’s neither a pastry nor bread. I don’t really know what it is — except Saturday-morning breakfast.
I supposed if a marriage has to be built on lies, this is one of the better ones to build from. The foundation is spongy and a little soggy, but if you stack the cakes high enough, it works.
Although to be fair, I never lied about liking pancakes.
The subject simply never came up and that’s what was available for breakfast.