There are two things I’ve picked up from following blogger Sarah Hart on instagram (@homeiswherethehartis) and elsewhere: #1 Exposed shelves are definitely the way to go in a family kitchen (I’m obsessed.) And #2 The woman knows how to capture a moment. I mean that visually speaking, of course (her photography is gorgeous), but mostly I mean it philosophically. You realize pretty quickly that Hart, the mother of four boys ages 2 to 7, seems to have turned the idea of “being present” into an art form, whether it’s expressing the zen satisfaction of a clean bedroom or embracing the daily humor intrinsic in raising young kids. It’s why I knew she’d have a good tradition to write about for my Family Ritual Series. Here she is guest-posting about….weekend pancakes. Take it away Sarah!
My husband and I started making pancakes on the weekends long before children entered our lives. With busy work schedules, I guess the weekend was the perfect time for us to slow down and spend a little extra time in the kitchen, because who has time to make pancakes on a Tuesday morning? We would sit around the table sipping coffee and reading the New York Times while we ate our pancakes, enjoying the silence and each other’s company. You know, those moments when you can just be with another person without feeling the need to fill space with chatter and be totally comfortable with it.
The tradition happened organically. There was never any talk of having to make pancakes on the weekends or forcing our eventual children to take part in making them. It wasn’t planned. Instead, it just became a thing we knew would happen, something we looked forward to, and is something that still happens today, although the tradition has certainly evolved. We started out following a recipe and not being able to eat all of the pancakes to now tripling the recipe without any leftovers. We also have a lot of extra hands helping with measuring, pouring, mixing and making a mess in the kitchen. (One thing has not changed: I’m still in charge of all the clean-up.)
We’re pretty flexible with our weekend tradition – sometimes pancakes happen on Saturday, sometimes they happen on Sunday, sometimes there are blueberries in the pancakes, sometimes we use a mix if we’re short on time, sometimes everyone wants to help, sometimes it’s just me in the kitchen, and sometimes there’s even bacon. I’ve never once heard a complaint about changing things up, though, because I’m pretty sure my kids would eat pancakes with escargot or chicken liver mixed into them. I probably would too.
When I think back on my own childhood, it makes me a little sad that there’s not a particular tradition in my family that still resonates with me today. I think because of that, I knew early on in motherhood that I wanted to create special moments for my boys to remember, moments they can revisit with their own children someday. But, like I said, we didn’t set out to find the Weekend Pancake ritual; it’s more like the ritual found us. And I love that.