"First person to ask where all of the bacon went gets a PANCAKE in the goddamn FACE."
My vision of hospitality is shared by old women and serial killers. Opulence and knowing, profiling your guests, to the point of creepiness. The other day I offered a preferred flavor of Kettle Chips to one of my friends, and after she exclaimed that she "LOVED both those flavors!" I muttered 'I know' in a voice so low and void of emotion that I locked myself in the cellar. Chilled, individual cans of both Classic and Diet Coke and complimentary slippers in the van with no windows, parked outside. Let me give you a ride home. Those weren't the child-safety locks clicking down, we just ran over some walnuts.
I like to imagine that when I am older, worldly, hospitality will be taken to a new level. Special glasses for my 'young-enough-to-be-nieces' cousins, robes and carafes, toothbrushes under the sink and a set or two of spare pajamas for heathens who hate sleeping in jeans, like I do. Flowers. A tray lined with bottles of perfume on the back of the toilet during parties, saving snoops the trouble. Ashtrays and a pack of guest cigarettes, different kinds of beer, glass-bottle sodas and cold champagne in the fridge, someone's favorite ice cream in the freezer. To me, Hospitality is about being a pusher -- indulging your friends and loved ones' vices and bad habits in a different setting, where guilt is left outside with dirty shoes.
And pancakes, to me, are the ultimate edible hospitality. You spend time making them, you serve one or two people at a time, and the small touches that go along with the simple cakes are what put them over the edge -- chocolate chips, berries, bananas added once the batter is pooled on the griddle, and then come the conserves, warm syrups, whipped cream, soft butter so that guests don't tear their cakes. If your guests are under ten, you pour the batter into shapes and letters. If your guests are over ten, make them obscene ones.
But with pancakes, like prosthetic limbs, everyone has their preferences. I like buttermilk pancakes, with a nice rise and a good texture, not too lacy, soft on the outside and fluffy inside. I like an even tan, and I like to think about that chapter where Ramona's parents were having a bad day and her dad (or was it her mom?) used the spatula to gouge out the center of the pancakes, proving they were still liquid inside. Then they went to Whopperburger, I think. Do you remember that? Those books were so good.
So, I hope you indulge your hospitality fetish soon, and if you do so by making these pancakes, let me know how they turned out.
Buttermilk Pancakes by Martha Stewart
This recipe works perfectly as-written, every time, which is why I'm linking to it and not rewriting it. My only advice is to add a teaspoon and a half of good vanilla extract, and to get evenly-brown exteriors, grease the griddle when hot, then wipe down with a paper towel and cook over lower heat for a longer period of time.