Perfect Pancake Day – Creating Triumph from Disaster.

Ours did not look like this…

As millions of mums around the world know, it was Shrove Tuesday this week – aka Pancake Day.  Now, while I am not trying to be a Perfect Mum, I would not feel happy if we didn’t make pancakes in our house on Pancake Day (or at least one day this week).

So, feeling brave, my three children and I donned our aprons and started making our batter.  After arguing with my eldest over whether to double or triple the quantities of ingredients (I won, but he was right in the end) we shared out the weighing, pouring in, and mixing jobs evenly, and proceeded relatively conflict-free.  Soon, however we realised that we had very, and I mean very, lumpy batter.  I’ve made quite a few batches of pancakes in my life (some not even on Shrove Tuesday!) and I know that having lumps is really part of the process. In my kitchen at least.  But these lumps were massive, and probably because they contained half of the flour and egg, the rest of the mixture was really thin.

“Oh this is not good,” I try to say in a light-hearted tone.

We attempt to whisk, then squash the lumps out and it kind of works.  It’s  not smooth, but ok.  Then we melt the butter and add a bit to the batter.  Not only does the butter immediately go hard when making contact with the cold batter, but we realise it is orange.  We conclude that we used the pan that I had made a chorizo and tomato pasta sauce in a few days before, and someone – probably me – didn’t wash it up properly.

So we’ve got a thin mixture with big floury lumps and bright orange buttery lumps. We should give up and start again, but we’ve been through so much it seems right to soldier on.

“This is the worst mixture we’ve ever made” says my oldest, like he’s enjoying himself more because of it.

“Nevermind, it might still taste nice,” says my middle one, in a light-hearted tone.

“Yum, yum,” grins my youngest, licking the flour off the table.

We start the frying.  “Remember, the first one is always rubbish, ” I say.  And it is.  The mixture is so thin, and the frying pan so old and warped that the pancake has a big hole in the middle.  So we move to another pan, and sacrifice another rubbish one.  By now, I’m starting to get wound up.  I’m getting talked at from 3 angles, my youngest making the loudest ‘now’ demands, and everyone is getting too close to the hot cooker. But they manage to take turns pouring their mixture in, flipping over and then eating their own creations.

“Mmm, delicious.” “Yummy” “Can I have the last one?” “They were great, mum.”

We congratulate ourselves on saving our pancakes from disaster.  I congratulate myself at allowing the process to get crazy, chaotic and imperfect, and not losing it somewhere in the middle.  Not so many months ago, I might have given up, shouted, cried, and basically had a tantrum because it didn’t all run smoothly, and I couldn’t cope with the chaos and noise. I can’t say that will never happen again, but I’m proud of myself for letting go of the need to be in control, and of celebrating imperfection with my children.  Hopefully, they learnt a good lesson in failure and success, persevering, and basically enjoying the process.

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