Raisin Bran

The menu evolved over the years but Kim always asked for pear crepes for her Mother’s Day breakfast.

Cooking opens so many sense memories. It’s not just the smells. It’s the repeated actions of years gone by that transports me back to another time I stood at the stove making this same breakfast.

Maggie helped me at that first Mother’s Day meal. She was one and a half and quite mobile. I brought her down to the kitchen, gave her her breakfast, and assembled the ingredients.

I let her out of her high chair when she was done eating and she wandered around watching me.

My sister called to wish Kim a happy first Mother’s Day.

Kim hadn’t come downstairs yet.

Jill and I talked for a bit and then I said, “wait a minute. Where’s Maggie.”

I saw her and told Jill I had to go.

Maggie had taken the carton of a dozen eggs to the back door. The back door was open but the screen door was closed. We kept the glass part of the screen door up all year or Tara, our dog at the time., would poke her head through the screen.

Maggie was standing and laughing as she took egg after egg out of the carton and smashed it on the back window and watched it run down the glass.

I scooped her up, washed her off and cleaned up the egg mess.

The crepes wouldn’t have as many eggs in them as the recipe called for.

That was the last time Maggie would help me in the kitchen.

I thought of that moment years later when I was once again making crepes for Kim on Mother’s Day. I turned my back for a moment to get the coffee started when I heard a lapping sound. Annabelle, our current dog, had climbed up on a chair and had her head in the batter.

I scooped up the batter. Annabelle licked the remnants off of her nose. I wet a paper towel and cleaned her off a bit.

Do I pitch the batter and start over again?

No – it’s going to get cooked.

If we were having company over I would have. But it was just for us.

That was the last time Annabelle would help me in the kitchen.

The morning begins with me mixing the batter and setting it aside to rest. Mark Bittman has a section of his cookbook devoted to pancake variations. In it he rails against the need for instant pancake mixes – he’s right. It’s so easy to make pancake or crepe batter and so that’s where my morning starts.

I grab a medium bowl and put it and the beater attachments in the freezer to cool them down.

I peel and slice the pears and put a twelve inch sautée pan on the heat. I throw in a stick of butter. The butter melts, foams a little, and browns. I add the pears. Every once in a while I give the pan a quick jerk to toss the pears and cook them evenly.

I put a saucepan over the heat and measure in sugar and water.

This might be my favorite part.

I stir to dissolve the sugar then I watch the mixture start to bubble and thicken. It colors just a bit. Straw color. Then darker.

I take it off the heat and add cold cream. There is a horrible noise as the cream hits the hot sugar mix and the water in the cream almost explodes. The cream clots together in to a mass at the bottom of the pan and I start to mix it slowly letting the sugar melt and then incorporate the cream.

A minute later I have a beautiful caramel sauce. I pour it into a serving dish and add a spoon. When it is cooled enough I taste it.

Perfect.

I take the cooled bowl and beaters out of the freezer and add more cream to the bowl with a pinch of sugar. I whip the cream until it has beautiful peaks that hold when I stop the beater.

I put the pears in a third bowl.

Everything is ready except the crepes and the coffee.

I make the coffee while I wash the pans and the beaters and clean the kitchen. I put a nonstick pan on the heat and take the crepe batter out of the refrigerator.

The smell of coffee has signaled to Kim that it’s time to come down.

Each year I look at her and

and what?

It’s hard to explain. … and feel that everything is right in my world.

I start to cook the crepes.

I don’t worry about the first one. It never comes out right. It’s the one where I figure out what temperature the pan needs to be. Sometimes the second one doesn’t come out right either. It doesn’t matter. I set them aside to cool. Once they have cooled off, I tear them into pieces and toss them to Annabelle.

Finally, I make one that looks perfect. I toss it onto a plate and start a second one.

While the second one cooks I add pears and whipped cream to the first. I roll it and then drizzle the caramel sauce over the top. Soon there is a second one next to it.

I take the plate into Kim with a fork and go back to make a third and a fourth for her.

I make and roll mine. I make a stack that Maggie will eat later.

I pour the remaining batter in the pan and make a final crepe for Annabelle.

I clean the pan while it cools.

Nineteen years of pear crepes. I’m sure there’s a metaphor that involves the crepes and whipped cream in the middle and the freshly made caramel sauce on top.

I’m equally sure I don’t want to hear it.

I’m not making crepes this year.

This year I had a bowl of Raisin Bran.

Published in: on May 14, 2017 at 7:19 am  Leave a Comment  

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