The summer is fading now. I know it’s autumn, of course, but it’s been so unseasonably warm in Minnesota these past weeks that, despite the leaves changing color and blowing from the trees, in my mind it’s still summertime. And I wish it were still summer, before everything had changed and I had lost so many things. I haven’t posted for a long time, in part I think because I wanted either to go back or to skip forward, until things were better again, easy and sweet and summery. Loss is hard. And that’s okay. We muster the will or courage to go forward. Or we get out of bed and the day passes until we can, which is its own kind of will and courage. Somehow it gets better. Or I hope it does. No, it does. Even when the losses still feel like the whole big bowl of the sky, small things begin to appear again, babe in woods moments of acute awareness when the wind as I drive or a blue cornmeal pancake roots me in the present for a moment and takes me away from the losses. And moments when a friend understands that there is no making this better, no easy solution, no pat answer, understands that I’m okay and more than just the losses, and that silent support means more than anything else. Then gratitude comes rushing in and eclipses all that seems so hard to bear. And I know that autumn will come, and winter, and spring, and maybe next year by the time summer comes again things really will be better, the losses will seem smaller or more distant and certainly not the whole big bowl of the sky anymore. I’ll hold on for that.
Rich Blue Cornmeal and Applesauce Pancakes
Yield: ten five-inch diameter pancakes
1 c. all purpose flour (I prefer King Arthur.)
1 c. stone ground blue cornmeal
1 T. baking powder
¼ c. dark brown sugar
a pinch of salt
2 large eggs
3/4 c. natural, unsweetened applesauce
½ c. half and half
1 c. milk
¼ c. (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
canola or other neutral oil for the griddle
- In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, blue cornmeal, baking powder, dark brown sugar, and salt.
- In a small bowl, beat the eggs with a fork and stir in the applesauce, half and half, milk, and melted butter.
- Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with a fork, mixing only until combined. There will be lumps in the batter. Do not overmix.
- Heat a griddle or large frying pan over medium heat. (312 degrees F is ideal.) When it is hot, drizzle in a little oil. When the oil is hot, pour in ½ c. batter per pancake.
- Fry the pancakes until bubbles form across the top and the edges look dry.
- Flip each pancake and fry on the other side.
- Add a bit more oil to the pan with each batch to fry.
- Serve hot with butter and maple syrup. (Pure maple syrup is best.)