Honest Weight Food Coop invited Ellie and me to make food for their Food for Thought film series, co-hosted by the Linda, WAMC radio station’s auditorium. The film was A Place at the Table, a documentary about hunger in America.
Ellie and I made our favorites: beans and pancakes. Beans are quick with a pressure cooker, Ellie’s favorite tool. Pancakes are the original fast food, a way to make a hot, satisfying meal in minutes. And both foods are protein packed and cheap, an important edible message as people gathered to think about the issue of food insecurity.
Using Farmer Ground cornmeal, I made cornbread to go with Ellie’s black bean salad. I also made cornmeal crepes to serve with yogurt, and a side of gingered coleslaw. I don’t know how many people got our lesson that this food is inexpensive and nutritious, but I got a lesson in helping kids love food.
Felix, my nine year old who would rather talk than eat, came with me to set up for the event. In the time before my husband fetched him, we had a great moment I might never have noticed, except Ellie caught it in these pictures.
Felix wanted to flip the crepes, and I let him. At home I am master of the griddle, because breakfast is busy and he’s getting ready for school. But at the theater the griddle was his height, and he was not otherwise engaged.
We were out of our element, which is what let this moment occur. Now that I see him so locked in to studying the method, I want to find ways to make this kind of exchange happen again.
The idea that kids need to see food at all stages of production, from dirt to dinner table, is not novel. But it is hard to remember, even for someone with a mission to teach people that feeding ourselves is fun and important. As a parent you have to make room for your kids to touch tools and maybe burn their fingertips and do what you do. Or else they will never do it.
My love for pancakes began when my dad made room for me at the griddle. I remember him letting me flip the inaugural pancake, a box of mix sitting on the counter. Under the watchful gaze of both Aunt Jemima and my dad, I watched the batter bubble. He nodded when the pancake was ready to turn.
Now I eat pancakes or crepes almost every day. Thanks, Dad, for giving me some room. Thanks, Honest Weight for pushing me out of the house and into a situation where I could give my son some room. Thanks, Ellie, for noticing it. I am very, very grateful.
And the film and panel discussion afterwards by Capital District Community Gardens, Unity House, Hunger Solutions, and The Food Pantries for the Capital District made me grateful for all the work being done to tackle food insecurity in our area.
RECIPE: CORNMEAL CREPES
- ½ cup Farmer Ground Flour cornmeal
- scant ½ tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- ¾ cup milk
Whisk together ingredients and let sit for ten minutes so the cornmeal can absorb the moisture. Butter a heated griddle well and pour a thin layer of batter, turning to make sure it spreads thinly and completely. (I use 1/3 cup batter on a 10 inch griddle.) Cook until top is set and edges are golden. Flip and cook slightly on the other side.
Note: when using whole grain flours in crepes, stir thoroughly before each pour as bigger particles settle to the bottom of the bowl.
Farmer Ground Flour is organic, NYS grown, stone milled grains. Look for them at farmergroundflour.com.