The only thing Italian about this recipe is the story that goes with it. My son, Joe, and I were in Brindisi, Italy, on a volunteer-working-vacation. This was our second visit to southern Italy and although it was a different town, the mission was the same; to teach conversational English to students.
Joe was assigned to the eighth-grade class. They were crazy-excited to have an American high school student as their teacher. Their conversations included sports, music and food and when they discovered he was from California, they wanted to know all about their favorite Hollywood celebrities (incorrectly, assuming he knew them personally).
Much to my delight, I was with a class of second graders. What they lacked in English-speaking abilities, they made up for in enthusiasm. As this was a non-touristy town, with few visitors from the United States, the only thing they knew about the American way of life, came from what they saw on television and in the movies.
I had brought fun, kid-friendly maps of the United States and other show and tell items to foster discussions, but the biggest hit was the flash cards of food. With each picture of food, the children would proudly shout out what it is called in Italian. I would then give the English translation and then ask them to repeat it; Gelato/ice-cream, panini/sandwich, arancione/orange, uovo/egg etc.
I showed a picture of a stack of pancakes but, not one child knew what they were and when I explained that pancakes are made from a batter, cooked on top of the stove, smeared with butter and topped with sweet syrup, each had a puzzled look on their face.
When I informed them that is a favorite American breakfast, they all made gagging sounds as they shouted in unison, “Disgustoso” (Disgusting)!
Whether you call them griddle cakes, pancakes, hotcakes or flapjacks, this American breakfast favorite has Southern deliciousness written all over it. (I do have New Orleans roots) For a Southern cook, buttermilk is a household staple, and it adds rich flavor to these thick, griddle cakes. Particularly enjoyable on cool Autumn mornings (wearing sweaters and slippers) with plenty of hot coffee!
- 2 cups flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted (plus more to grease griddle)
- Maple syrup
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
- In a small bowl, mix together the egg and buttermilk and then slowly stir into the dry ingredients. Mix in the melted butter.
- Onto a lightly butter-greased griddle, drop mixture by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the hot griddle. Turn pancakes when tops are covered with bubbles and edges are brown. Cook a minute or two until done.
- As a rule, the first one is never perfect. Tear it apart to make certain it is done inside. Grease the pan and adjust the heat as necessary.
- Serve with warm maple syrup.