Monday, April 23, 2012

Swedish pancakes!

When I was growing up, I had a grandmother, Julia (pronounced Yulia) who originated from Sweden.  She came to the States when she was young, possibly a 13 year old, not sure of the age.  But as time went by, she and her family settled in Iowa and she eventually ended up working in the Governor's household. 

She was a very religious woman, and had a very strong mind.  If she said something, it usually meant that everyone should have been listening.  She was strict, but maybe forced to be due to family issues, and the loss of her husband at a fairly young age.  She was very independent, and very determined.  (I think I know where I get that determination from--and I think I have passed it on through to my daughters--Thank you Grandma!)

But one thing she didn't pass on to me was the secret behind her Swedish pancakes.  They were very thin, light, formed a good sized circle, and tasted like heaven with maple syrup or jam.  I was only a small child, but I remember asking her to show me how to make them.  She would just smile and say:
"Yanice (Janice), now never mind, you go do something else for now, and I will let you know when you can eat these." 

One particular morning, when Grandma had spent the night with us, she decided to make her magical pancakes for breakfast.  I was so excited, and tried to quietly sit in the background of the kitchen and watch her prepare her 'secret' batter. But I was discovered, and Grandma Yulia told me to leave, and once again, she would call me when they were ready to eat!  She then proceeded to close the doors to the kitchen so that she wouldn't be disturbed - I actually think it was a game she played with me, so that I would stay curious--anyway--it worked!

I shuffled off dejectedly, but  as soon as I smelled the batter gently turning golden in melted butter, I  would wait anxiously, not far from the kitchen door, to be called to breakfast!

I loved those times with her.  She was mysterious, and even though she was somewhat strict and sometimes demanding, I always knew her soft spots, and loved just being with her.

Finally the kitchen door opened, and we were beckoned to eat her 'magic pancakes'.  Sometimes I can still taste them. 

Note:  Since then, I have tried various times to imitate the taste and texture of her pancakes--I think part of the magic was her, and the mystery she kept from me.  She was unique!

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