Sourdough pancakes (and waffles, too!)

Want some waffles that aren't awful? Pining for pancakes with panache? Give your breakfast some bounce with something simply stupendous: sourdough!
Some of the worst pancakes and waffles I've ever had, are the sort that come from a mix in a box. Like anything else we eat, they can't help but taste better if they're homemade. Why would someone use a mix anyway? Pancakes particularly, but waffles also, grew out of a need for a straightforward, easy-to-make meal to get the day off to a good beginning when there wasn't much to cook with. If bread boils down to water and flour, with a dash of yeast; then pancakes are little more than flour, water and an egg. Strictly speaking sourdough is not necessary, but it doesn't hurt. In fact, it can add some flavor to something that might otherwise be a ho-hum shade of bland.
Here's the basic recipe I use. Note the standard rules on substitutions.
1 c. sourdough starter
2 tbsp. butter or oil
1 egg
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 c. all-purpose flour
Soften the butter and place in a medium-size mixing bowl before adding other ingredients. Stir ingredients until they are thoroughly mixed. If the final mixture is too thick, add approximately ¼ cup of additional moisture to thin the batter out. My children prefer when I use buttermilk, but I also have had satisfactory results with milk. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, when it is properly heated, spoon batter onto the surface. Flip pancakes when they are lightly browned around the edges and removefter about 30 seconds, when they have had time to cook all the way through.
I use the same recipe to satisfy my children's craving for waffles, with no alterations to the amounts of the ingredients. Feel free to experiment and adjust the recipe to suit your own palate.
For extra flavor, substitute ½ c. whole wheat flour for half the all-purpose flour.


Six impossible things before breakfast

I've always got a kick out of the quest story where the hero is given a series of impossible tasks to complete, and yet somehow manages them.

Sometimes the hero manages them through sheer bravery and force of will; other times, the tasks are met with the aid of friends. Most frequently, though, the impossible becomes not only feasible but fairly obvious in hindsight.

The Mabinogion relates a few of the first sort of quest, in the person of Pwll as he journeys into Annwn, though I especially remember a story where a hero is given 46 impossible tasks to accomplish before he may marry the woman he loves. He gets the help of King Arthur and the other knights, but only does three or four of them before the bard loses interest, and they go kill the giant and the knight marries his lady-love.

Perhaps a better example is the Russian fairy story about a prince who is pledged to be given to the Devil, but he is able to outsmart the Devil with the help of a beautiful woman who has learned magic, so that he is able to spot the true tsarina among a group of 46 women indentical in every way.

Or what about the wise woman from Chinese folklore who is told she must capture wind and fire upon and within paper, and so she invents the fan and the lantern? The emperor hears great boasts of her beauty, and so he commands her to tell him where the center of the world is, and she replies, "It is directly in front of you; if not, please tell me where it is, that I may be corrected." And when he orders hre to squeeze enough grapes to fill the ocean, she replies, "Certainly. First please tell me how large the ocean is, that I may begin filling it."

Or there's this song, made popular by Simon and Garfunkel, about a woman who sets before her unfaithful lover a series of impossible tasks to regain his place in her affections:

Amazon.com: Luvvies Ballerina Purple Hippo 5": Toys & Games

Amazon.com: Luvvies Ballerina Purple Hippo 5": Toys & Games (clipped to polyvore.com)


Moment of truth

As it happens, I know exactly what the purpose of this blog is, but you are not yet ready for this truth. You will be required to gather five things, the nature of which you will come to understand more fully in time, but for now, I will inform you that at least one of them is dangerous, at least one of them is alive, at least one of them is not a tangible object, and at least one of them is completely free of trans-fats.

You will soon be ready to begin your journey of discovery; for now, you must be patient.

Moment of discovery

So I noticed yesterday that I have a blog named "The Purple Hippo."

What a nice pictureWhat is this blog for? I have no idea. Why did I create it? I don't remember. What purpose can such a blog serve? Beats me. The blog remains a mystery, made all the more compelling by the fact that I created it for reasons unknown and unscrutable, and it has been in existence all this time, biding its time, waiting for a purpose.

And now it has its first post; and because he is the sort of person who on general principle would support a blog named The Purple Hippo, I have invited my friend Brucker to contribute.

Maybe he'll know what it's for.