Monday, May 11, 2009

pancake power

yesterday i awoke to a clean kitchen, scoured by my children (well, probably just emma). nothing better than that. no other gift can hold a candle to a perfectly sparkling counter top. i was greeted too by heartfelt cards expressing love and tender feelings. wonderful.

in the splendor of my clean kitchen (it sounds as if my kitchen is always a pig pen...well, just feels extra special when someone ELSE cleaned it...sort of like how green salad tastes better when someone ELSE makes it? you know what i am talking about) my beautiful surroundings were begging for pancakes. a worthwhile reward my children deserved on this mothers day. so, my little darlings awoke to the familiar smell of homemade Ellie Dombrowski pancakes.

she was a wonderful lady who was my mothers friend when we lived in redlands. i remember vividly her huge, victorian estate propped on top of its own hill, with manicured gardens and exquisite furnishings. i also remember her raven beehive hairdo and her smiling eyes. she was married to the nicest man, Ed Dombrowski, the local orthopaedic surgeon. they were cultural giants in the community, volunteered their time and donated lots of money to worthwhile causes. seems as if my parents hung around with some very classy people. only now do i seem to recognize all of this. back then, i was not really enamoured with the gorgeous estates and money these people obviously had.

i spent much if not all of my childhood residing at the West's home. another estate appointed with a full guest house, tennis courts and olympic sized swimming pool. in their kitchen, they had their milk delivered in large containers which were put in a commercial dispenser, much like in a cafeteria, with the round, heavy stainless steel lever. the milk coming out in a little stream from a white little hose right into your bowl full of lucky charms. that whole set up was magic for me. their home was a maze, all on one level, with a library and a sitting room, a cellar and several "wings", and these large bumpy olive green mexican tiles all throughout. i can still feel the cool texture on my bare feet. we used to run in the "meadow", a large grassy area which would fill with flowers in the spring, then scamper over to the corral where their old, appaloosa mare named Sugarplum was housed. we used to laugh at her when we would feed her tortillas and they would get stuck to the roof of her mouth. they had a german shepherd named Lady, and another black one named Sport. Sport once got into the bunny cage and killed all of the rabbits. still remember that. i also remember sticking hot pins into Sport's ticks, which were many. great fun for a bunch of kids (i think they ended up with 12 children) with nothing to do but run around a 10 acre estate all summer. no computers, no ipods...only the partridge family and the brady bunch on friday nights. we were the "older kids" so we were responsible for looking after the "younger" ones all day. one day one of the "younger" ones pooped in the pool. we were all laughing hysterically and totally grossed out while scooping it up with the net. not sure which "little" one was responsible. dont think anyone ever fessed up. these wonderful people took me into their home like one of their own, and included me in most if not all of their family activities. thank you for providing such warm memories, and possibly shaping me into the person i am now, with your great examples of how decent human beings should behave.

my mother was equal in her friendships with those around her. i remember very well, playing with kids from the ward who had hardly anything. however, that didnt matter to me or anyone else. what they DID have was priceless. i have memories of spending the night in a tiny little home of a friend, who's bedroom was an added on "lean to" if you will, with not much insulation, and a walk through to the living room and another added on adjacent room. adorned with dated furniture and minimal bedding and one miniscule bathroom which took care of their whole household just fine. her dad was a janitor, and her mother worked hard physically too as i remember. they had a boston terrier they adored, probably the ugliest dog i have ever known. to this day when i see one, i think of my friend in redlands who lived in the house with the gravel driveway. these "salt of the earth" types were my favorites. loved these wonderful, caring people who were not afraid to show they cared. they also introduced me to the wonderful treat of white toast smeared with peanut butter. they were humble, generous and good people. thank you for showing me at a young age that all of the "stuff" doesnt really matter. it's what is inside that is crucial.

so in memory of all of these wonderful people, i have included Ellie Dombrowski's pancake recipe, from the redlands ward cookbook (probably circa 1970) which i have been using for years. truly the best pancakes i have ever had. o, and also to the sisters who are in my ward now and have a copy of the current tijeras canyon recipe book, please note that i accidentally omitted the 3 eggs in the recipe that was printed. sorry. i am a recovering scatterbrain.

3 cups flour
3 eggs
3 cups buttermilk
3 TBS sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
6 tsp baking powder
milk to thin

and to Ellie Dombrowski, thank you for making beautiful memories in my home.


Anonymous said...

You are such a beautiful person - both inside and out. I am grateful for you and your friendship. You have an absolute darling family. Love you all! Thanks for sharing your childhood stories... they warmed my heart. love u - xo julie mclain

Anonymous said...

Oh, the recipe is one I will definitely try... it sounds delicious! Happy Monday. j