THE QUEST FOR THE PERFECT PANCAKE

JeniLynn Knopp (234 Posts)

JeniLynn was born and raised in South Florida. Being so close to Walt Disney World, she grew up regularly visiting the Mouse and developed a fascination with the creativity of Disney Parks. Noticing that her happiest moments seemed to always take place in Walt Disney World, JeniLynn began trying to recreate the magic of Disney in her everyday life beginning in her pre-teen years. Adulthood, sixteen years of marriage, and three children later, JeniLynn continues to lead a Disney Driven Life and diligently works to pass her love for Disney on to her husband and children. She has blogged for Touring Plans and been a contributing writer for The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, and she currently co-hosts Orlando Attractions Magazine: The Show; however, her primary focus has always been with the community that has grown around her own site, The Disney Driven Life. Through these venues JeniLynn strives to help other Disney fans stay connected to the brand that has served as a keystone in her family’s life.


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Recently, I found a pancake recipe that uses almond flour rather than the digestively forbidden wheat flour.  It spurred me into action.  Finding an organic, raw almond distributor online, I ordered these savory nuts in bulk and patiently waited for their arrival.  The delivery was made a couple days ago.  Since then, I have been looking for a day that affords the time I need to test the new recipe.  Perhaps today is that day.

It is a beautiful Saturday morning.  The sun is shining.  The air is crisp.  Little buds are appearing on the trees, and the daffodils are in full bloom.  I am refreshed, energized and ready to take on the challenge of a new day.

My mouseketeers are happily sleeping in on this lazy spring weekend.  It seems like the perfect opportunity to try out my breakfast discovery.  Then, like a lightening bolt sent straight from Mt. Olympus by Zeus, I am struck with a fabulous idea.  Today I will make Mickey Mouse pancakes!

I have never made Mickey pancakes before, but I can’t imagine that it is terribly difficult.  It’s just a big pancake joined by two little ones.  For added flair, I reason that I can use blueberries for eyes and a nose.

My last attempt at eliciting enthusiasm for our upcoming Disney adventure was a disaster.  It ended with me exasperating all who were involved.  For the sake of my family’s well-being, I must recover the ground in Disney love that was lost.  There is no better way to accomplish this than by serving a breakfast of Mickey blueberry pancakes.  This is going to be rich!

I go directly to my stereo and pop in the latest CD of Disney soundtracks.  Next to whistling while you work, bopping around to classic Disney tunes is the best thing for encouraging high spirits.  This should help sustain me through the mundane task of grinding almonds, thawing frozen blueberries and combining the various ingredients into a batter.

The music does–in fact–do the trick.  While the process of preparation is a bit time-consuming I sail through it easily enough as I sing the anthems of various Disney characters.  Once or twice I am so caught up in the music (which always prompts NDM daydreams) that I come close to culinary catastrophe.  But, thankfully, I snap out of my dream state and catch myself.  Now it is time for the fun part, creating the mouth-watering Mickey morsels.

I happily pour the mixture onto my griddle, but I am surprised by the behavior of the batter.  The texture is slightly different than that of wheat flour.  It has caught me off guard, and I don’t manage the surprise well. “Oh Hades!” I declare and use that dreadful Disney demon’s name in vain.  Rather than a Mickey head, my pancake resembles a cocker spaniel caricature.  “Well,” I rationalize, “I’ll tell Elle this is a Lady pancake.”  When it reaches a golden brown color, I scoop up the pancake travesty, place it on a plate, and try again.

Oh!  I didn’t use the blueberries.  I place the bowl of blueberries next to the griddle to ensure that I remember next time.  This time as I pour the batter, I am careful to get the head and ears just right.  It’s perfect!  I add the delectable blueberries and am so pleased with the adorable face frying before me . . . . that is until a blue juice begins to ooze from the berries.  What is happening?  Have the berries not thawed completely, leaving a watery blue mess to spread as the ice reverts to its liquid state?  I am sure I don’t know, but to my horror Mickey begins to look as if he is crying and his nose is dripping.  Well, shrink me down and call me Grumpy!  These pancakes are meant to inspire happiness about our trip–not depression.  Besides that fact, it is not so appetizing to imagine eating a runny nose.  “Ugh!” I exclaim.  When it is done, the depressing pancake gets put on a plate, and I have another go at it.

A half-hour passes, and time after time I fail to achieve Mickey pancake perfection.  I have Mickey heads that are too small for the blueberry facial features.  I have Mickey heads with lop-sided ears.  Some look like Mickey is sporting a dangle earring.  Others look like he is sprouting antennas or a sphinx-like goatee.  Some have fallen apart as I’ve flipped them and are no longer Mickey heads.  The plate is piled high with deformed Mickeys, and with every attempt another atrocity is created.

My frustration is mounting, and I am tempted to spout a few words that are not “Disney approved.”  “All I want is for my kids to wake up to a special breakfast.  Is that too much to ask?” I yell as I clench my fist around my spatula and brandish it in the air.

I hear the “Zip-a-dee-do-dah” track begin on the stereo.  It is more than I can take.  Why can’t Disney produce a cranky song every now and again?  Do they think that EVERY DAY is filled with happiness and sunshine?  Well, Brer Rabbit may not approve, but there is no Mr. Bluebird on my shoulder.  And if there were, it would be smacked with my spatula.

I stomp over to the stereo.  While my instinct is to pick the contraption up and hurl it out the window, I harness my extreme irritation and just seethe as I flip the off-switch with all the fury of Beast.  I huff and puff my way back to the kitchen, but I am abruptly halted by the angelic presence of Miller.  “What are you doing, Mommy,” he sweetly inquires.  Suddenly, I am acutely aware that the foul attitude I exhibit is only suitable for Mickey’s House of Villains and has no place in my House of Mouse.  Realizing my inappropriate manner, I promptly transform into a calm–albeit defeated–NDM.

My time is up.  A child has awakened, and breakfast must begin.  It will not be the special occasion that I’d hoped for, but there is nothing to be done about it.  With a heavy sigh, I direct Miller to retrieve his sisters for breakfast.

Once all my eaters have been seated at the table.  I place their full plates in front of them.  I begin to explain, “Guys, I made you . . . . “  “PANCAKES!” my kiddos squeal.  Poor things!  They haven’t realized the deformed nature of their nutritious breakfast.  “Yes,” I continue in a somber tone,” I tried to make you Mickey pancakes, but . . . .” Miller interupts, “Look!  I have a pirate Mickey!”  Confused, I examine the pancake in question.  Miller has the Mickey pancake that was accessorized with a dangle earring, but I now see how it could be viewed as a pirate ear hoop.  Why didn’t I think of that?  Margeaux thrills, “Mine is a Mickey with clown make-up!”  I look over to find that she has discovered a comical blueberry-smeared Mickey where I found a sorrowful one.  I am cheered up by these artistic interpretations.

“I don’t know what mine is,” Elle mumbles in disappointment.  I reply, “Yours is a Lady pancake just like the dog in Lady and the Tramp.”  She squints her eyes to examine her food more closely.  “Oh yeah,” she agrees and giggles with delight.

After a blessing is spoken, the kids dig into their surprise breakfast.  It is enjoyed with remarks of “This is the best breakfast I’ve ever had!” and “Thanks, Mom!  Eating Mickey pancakes is fun!”  I reason that this special occasion calls for music, and I feel grateful that I didn’t throw the stereo out of the window.

The rest of our meal is filled with talk of our upcoming trip.  The enthusiasm for it is high, and I can feel the excitement continue to build as we discuss what awaits.  Life is good!  The only thing that is missing is Mr. Bluebird, but I expect he will appear any minute.

*Mickey Mouse pancake molds can be found at http://www.laughingplacestore.com/Product-10434.asp . Although NDM#1 warns that making pancakes with this mold is still a challenge, requires practice and may not be worth the expense.

JeniLynn Knopp

JeniLynn was born and raised in South Florida. Being so close to Walt Disney World, she grew up regularly visiting the Mouse and developed a fascination with the creativity of Disney Parks. Noticing that her happiest moments seemed to always take place in Walt Disney World, JeniLynn began trying to recreate the magic of Disney in her everyday life beginning in her pre-teen years. Adulthood, sixteen years of marriage, and three children later, JeniLynn continues to lead a Disney Driven Life and diligently works to pass her love for Disney on to her husband and children. She has blogged for Touring Plans and been a contributing writer for The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, and she currently co-hosts Orlando Attractions Magazine: The Show; however, her primary focus has always been with the community that has grown around her own site, The Disney Driven Life. Through these venues JeniLynn strives to help other Disney fans stay connected to the brand that has served as a keystone in her family’s life.

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