ROAR! In my house, baking is announced with the roar of the grain mill. Pancakes for breakfast. Little feet come running. Quick as a wink, two stools are pushed up to the counter and two eager children scramble up on them. They hold their hands over their ears and then take them off again. On. Off. On. Off. What are they doing? I try it. The grain mill says “waa-waa-waa-waa” when I do. We three look at each other and grin. We look ridiculous clapping our hands on our ears. The sound from the mill goes up an octave. The wheat has become flour. I shut off the machine.
Kid sounds fill the vacuum of silence. “I want to measure!”
“I want to crack an egg. Can I crack an egg, Mama?”
I measure out the baking power. Claire and Charlie take turns adding it to the bowl. Charlie tries to shove Claire off her stool because he wants to pour in the salt.
“No, Charlie. Here. You crack this egg.”
I’m brave with the eggs. My sister taught me how to scoop out shell bits with a shell half. It’s easy and so Charlie can crack eggs. He bangs it on the side of his bowl. He squeezes it hard with two hands. Somehow the egg plops into the bowl without any eggshell. Charlie takes care of that problem. He drops the entire shell into the bowl on top of the egg. I scoop it out and Charlie pours the egg into the batter.
“I want to stir!”
“No! I want to!” Again with the shoving.
“Charlie, you just cracked the egg. Let Claire have a turn first.” Claire stirs gently and then pushes the bowl over to her brother. He stirs recklessly. I wipe up the batter that splashes over the side. Not nearly as much mess as the time Lauren was mixing up banana bread with the hand mixer and she fell off her stool with the mixer still whirring in her hand.
“OK, you two. Your part is all done.” They do not hop down but lean in close as I spoon out the batter onto the griddle. They wait for the bubbles to come to the surface.
“Mama, there’s bubbles. It’s time to flip them.” Claire knows about pancakes.
Lauren pours the juice. Faith puts the butter and syrup on the table in the sunroom. Claire gets the silverware and Charlie puts a napkin on everyone’s chair. After he's been called five times, John appears with sleep in his eyes and chicken hair. Then it’s a scramble to get everybody’s pancakes buttered and cut and spread with syrup.
“My pancakes don’t have any butter.”
“Yes they do Charlie. It’s melted in.”
“They don’t have butter. They don’t.”
“Alright! Here’s a little more. Faith that’s WAAAY too much syrup. Pour some of that onto Claire’s plate.”
Finally, the sound of silence as five mouths are full. The pancakes are delicious, light and fluffy and buttery. A great way to start the day.