Well, we’re not able to barbecue this Memorial Day, but we’re celebrating a little bit of America by making pancakes. Not many Italians eat pancakes; in fact, we bought syrup at the grocery store a few days ago, and the check-out clerk was fascinated. A spark of recognition lit her face, but she was puzzled. ‘What do you use this for—to put in desserts?’ she asked. When we explained we were Americans and we used it as a breakfast condiment, she said, ‘Che meraviglia!’ and wanted to try it for herself. Breakfast in Italy is usually very light because Italians eat such a big lunch. Breakfast usually consists of a biscotto (cookie) or a croissant with a cup of coffee (sometimes mixed together in the coffee—no joke. We’ve watched people in the North and South take beautiful cream or jelly-filled pastries and crumble them unceremoniously into a large mug of milk and coffee. But they shudder when we make fried eggs for breakfast!).
The first time we saw pancake mix in the store, we were so excited. They don’t sell Bisquick, but a much better German mix—Nick “The Easy Rider” American Pfannkuchen. The resulting breakfast is surprisingly rich and fluffy; or, is it just that we hadn’t tasted pancakes in months and would be happy with any version? Regardless, this morning, we made pancakes from scratch. But we did use the trustworthy Nick’s “ahorn-sirup.” As noted on the bottle, it’s “the American way of life.”