My Material Life

Marion Cunningham’s Buttermilk Pancakes for Friends

I really admire Marion Cunningham – her writing and thoughts about cooking at home for family and friends, her recipes, the way she reinvented herself in the middle of her life. Throughout the 90’s and into the early 2000’s, I collected her columns from the San Francisco Chronicle food section. Her pancake column is the one I turn to again and again because pancakes are a favorite dinner in our household.  This recipe turned up shortly after Marion Cunningham published her Learning to Cook book.  She suggested buttermilk pancakes served with bacon or sausage, fresh fruit or berries and real maple syrup (warmed just a little) as an unexpected, but very welcoming meal for guests “when you are not quite comfortable cooking a full meal for others”.  We had our neighbors Sharon and Rolf over for brunch yesterday and this is exactly what we served.

Buttermilk Pancakes
The batter holds up well for 3 days in a covered container in the refrigerator.

1 cup buttermilk
1 egg at room temperature
3 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Combine the buttermilk, egg and melted butter in a mixing bowl.  Stir briskly until smooth and blended.
Combine the flour, salt and baking soda; stir until well blended.  Add to the liquid ingredients and stir only until any dry bits of flour disappear.  Do not over-stir; a few lumps are OK.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
Heat a pancake griddle or skillet to (she says medium-hot, but I keep mine on low – 2 or 3 on my electric stove – or they burn too easily after the first batch.) Grease it lightly.  Spoon out about 3 tablespoons of batter per pancake.  Spread the batter with the back of the spoon so it is thinned out a little (I rarely do this.) Cook until a few bubbles break on top.  Turn the pancakes over and cook briefly.
Transfer the pancakes to a platter and place in the warm oven.  Continue with the remaining batter.
Serves 4.  (More like 3 the way we eat them!  I doubled the recipe yesterday.)

p.s. The pretty greenish blue accessories are from Target.  The placemats are from India and are currently on clearance for $2 and some-odd cents and the glass piece next to the flowers is actually a lamp base.


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