Grandpa’s special pancakes
When I was little, I spent a lot of time at my grandparents’ house in the Dallas neighborhood of Oak Cliff. Sundays through Fridays, my grandmother ruled the kitchen. But on Saturdays the stove belonged to Grandpa. Every Saturday morning, you’d walk into their house and the smell of smoky bacon, spicy sausage and sweet syrup would waft through the air, inviting you to take a seat at the table and dig into a tall stack of Grandpa’s special pancakes.
When cooking his pancakes, he’d always mix his batter with an eggbeater in a large 32-oz. glass measuring cup, which made it all the easier to pour the batter into the skillet. And while his pancake recipe is pretty simple, because they were made with both expertise and love they are still the best pancakes I’ve ever had.
Even though my grandparents were living in Dallas, they had never given up their family farmland in far North Texas. On both farms are pecan trees, and so they always had a steady supply of this sweet and crunchy Texas treat. Grandpa would throw them into his pancakes, and when blueberries were in season he’d add those as well. The soft, puffy pancakes combined with the snap of fresh nuts was a perfect marriage—so sweet and delicious, in fact, that no butter or syrup was even necessary.
When they retired and moved back to the farm, Grandpa didn’t abandon his Saturday-morning pancake tradition. If I’d be visiting, my grandparents always insisted I stay through Saturday so I could eat some of his pancakes. It was a request I never refused.
My family loves to both eat and cook, and my brother Jacob has decided to continue Grandpa’s pancake-making tradition. So when my Grandpa died in 2008, on the morning of the funeral, we woke up early to find Jacob in the kitchen beating up a batch of pancakes just like Grandpa’s. After eating and cooking, my family loves nothing more than the opportunity to remain at the table talking and laughing for hours on end. And Jacob’s pancakes were indeed a fine tribute as we sat around that morning at the farm, eating puffy pancakes while sharing memories and stories about Grandpa.
Grandma gladly gave me his pancake recipe, which is made all the more dear by the added instructions, “Mighty good on Saturday morning.” And yes, you can eat these pancakes anytime, but for me they’ll always be Grandpa’s special Saturday pancakes—a sign that a happy time of family gathering has begun.
Grandpa’s special pancakes
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon whole-wheat flour
- 1 heaping tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup shelled pecans
- Beat together the egg and milk. Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix (can add more milk if needed).
- Pour 1/4 cup onto skillet heated at medium.Cook for a couple of minutes on one side (until edges are brown and bubbles form in batter).Flip and cook on other side a couple more minutes.
- Serve immediately.Don’t forget: Mighty good on Saturday morning!
these pancakes were out of this world. i left out the pecans, but they were still amazing. thank you for sharing your grandpa’s special recipe.
I’m sorry for your loss but am so happy that you have the memories. I lost my dad right before Christmas and I know how important memories are. I, too, have those special ‘recipe’ moments with my dad to look back on and those are more important that words can express. Thank you for sharing your memories and his recipe. I look forward to trying the recipe (can hardly wait actually) and will remember the love that you expressed and shared when enjoying them.
Another fellow Texan and Dallas native. I’m so sorry for your loss and share your pain. I lost my Dad right before Christmas and I know just how important those memories are. Like you and your Grandfather, my Dad and I have some special recipe moments and one of those is definitely his banana pancakes and breakfasts in general. It was always a joke with us as to what the next meal that he’d prepare would be and whether I’d like it or not (of course, the food wasn’t the issue near as much as the love that he added into each and every recipe). Thank you for sharing the recipe and your memories. I will think of you and your Grandad when I prepare these next Sunday morning for my family.
Thanks for the tears, Lisa. I really choked up when I saw your picture of the egg beaters. Dad kept the recipe thumbtacked inside the cabinet where the Calumet baking powder and the Morton salt were kept.
When he taught me to make pancakes, he watched me as I observed the bubbles pop on the pancakes cooking on the skillet, meaning they’re ready to turn. When I flipped one, he punctuated the movement with a quickly quipped, “Pretty.”
P.S. You own the lovingly used skillet – photograph for my kitchen?
I think its so weird when a food blog has been around for as long as yours has, and I am just stumbling upon it!
I have leftover pecans from my pie making over Thanksgiving and will be making these for breakfasts this week.
Sorry for the loss of your grandpa, but after this much time has passed, hopefully you can smile about the good times.