After all, the big day had arrived on a Sunday, a day that's always crowded with activity. Getting ready for church, going to church, coming home and fixing our traditional Sunday brunch.
I decided I'd waited this long to learn the news. What did it matter if it took a few more hours?
I left the newspapers lying unretrieved out on the front lawn, put on my apron, and got busy.
One of my accomplishments during my newsless, entertainmentless, sportsless, weatherless year was to develop to maturity my Sunday brunch pancake and waffle recipe. This is of major signficance because for me these delicious hot griddled versions of bread are an occasion for absorbing satisfying quantities of 100% maple syrup.
What I discovered was that I could take a product that is fairly average in quality and, with the right embellishments, turn it into something that knocked my brunch guests (wife and son) out of their chairs. This saved time and it also proved that the potential for greatness can lurk in something as common as Aunt Jemima mix.
Fat makes all the difference, starting with the butter.
Supposedly the AJ mix contains its own rising ingredient and dehydrated eggs, but you have to "egg" this mix on in order to get it to do what it should, i.e., rise with an airy insouciance that clearly intimates that these light cakes are going to dance rambunctiously in your mouth before they dissolve on the tongue.
And the buttermilk! The instructions on the box say use water or milk, but you wouldn't believe the difference buttermilk makes in flavor and everything else. Remember what television was like before the HD version arrived a few years ago? Those were your old pancakes. Blurry, jittery, ghosting pancakes. Bring on the buttermilk and you have high definition taste. You can even see the difference in these thick, lucious golden beauties.
Yesterday I ate pancakes with great enjoyment and then I went and got the newspapers and brought them into the house.
With the maple syrup sweetness still soaking my molars, I sat down on the couch. As planned my wife and son made a 30-minute presentation (with visual aids) concerning the events of the last year. A photographer/writer from the local newspaper took pictures and took notes for a story that would run on Monday.
I asked questions. Then some more. Not that I'm finished. I'm still thinking of additional questions that must be asked.
- "How many people died in the Japan earthquake?"
- "Tell me the dimensions of this thing people are calling 'the Arab Spring.' What countries are we talking about besides the leaks I heard about Egypt and Libya?"
- "How long did it take the Navy SEALS to finish off Bin Laden?"
- "Okay, a film called The King's English won the best picture Oscar, but what else was nominated?"
- "I know Greenbay beat Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl. Was it a good game?"
- "Is anyone starting to think the US economy is like Humpty Dumpty? All the irresponsible mortgage bankers and derivatives brokers and bond rating agencies and Fed chiefs let him slip off the wall and no one can put him together again?"
- "Is anyone saying that with this summer's record heat we could enter another Dust Bowl era?"
And the questions go on and on at the same time I'm trying to digest, along with my comforting pancakes, all the things my family told me--plus what was in yesterday's newspapers.
Will anyone feel insulted if I say that it felt like a LOT of bad news to imbibe in such a short time? That's why I need to take a day or two to decompress. I'll continue going through my newspapers, magazines, and ohter sources. Then I'll be back. - A.H. (formerly V.W.)