11 November 2010

Pancakes and The Vicar of Wakefield

A delightfully slow day. I spent it for the most part reading The Vicar of Wakefield.

When I mention these things that I am reading or have read, I honestly do not do that to impress you with my culture. It may sound as if that is the case sometimes, but it is not. It just so happens that I enjoy reading antique fiction. That is all. And since that is what I do sometimes, I mention the books now and again.

The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith is a novel that was first published in 1766. It may have been the most popular English novel of that century among English readers in the next century. It is told from the point of view of the Vicar himself in the first person and consists of an account of the Vicar and his family falling on hard times. The Vicar's voice is entertaining. One laughs as a series of melodramatic tragedies befall the family knowing that ultimately all will be well thanks to some utterly improbable deus ex machina.

I came to the point where the Vicar is thrown in debtors' prison for failing to pay his rent. He could not pay his rent because what little money he had remaining after other financial catastrophes, some of his own doing, had gone up in flames when the family home burned to the ground. At that point late in the afternoon I needed a break.

I went to the kitchen and surveyed my empire there while I scratched myself. Suddenly, it occurred to me that I could use that new tortilla pan as a pancake griddle. It looks like a mid-size pizza pan but is of a somewhat higher gage metal.

I could not remember the last time that I had made pancakes, and I will tell you exactly why. I had to do them in the skillet and could only do one at a time. That is no good. The first one is cold by the time you eat it. It appeared to me that I could do three at a time on this tortilla pan. Now I had the craves for pancakes.

After rounding up all the ingredients, I did an experimental batch of three size medium pancakes. I burned them. It was tricky figuring out the proper setting of the burner. Then I made three perfect ones. Then I mixed another batch of batter and made three more perfect ones. Then three more perfect ones.

I do not deprive myself when it comes to butter and syrup--real butter, not the cheap substitute. I am not talking "lite" syrup either. Those nine pancakes in batches of three were slathered with butter and syrup to the extent that I do not feel well now. Not well at all. I was over-served in my own kitchen.

Here is how this will work out. If, for some odd reason, the subject of The Vicar of Wakefield comes up in conversation a year from now, I will not have any recollection of the plot at all. I will recall, however, that the book is somehow related to pancakes.

I am going to lie down now.


Beej said...

I had to laugh at this, Steve, because now I will forever link pancakes to this book.

This is a classic post. Thanks for the am giggles.

Sheila said...

I loved this post as well. Live is too short to skimp on butter, Steve. I can taste them from here.