I think the month of November might have been one of the worst I can remember. Globally, the world is aching: the heartbreaking defeat of the woman who could have been America’s first female president, the loss of the genius Leonard Cohen, and then the brilliant Sharon Jones. The fight for native sovereignty and environmental justice over the Dakota Access Pipeline. The slew of racist and antisemitic attacks throughout North America. And that doesn’t account for the personal aches and pains; the fact that this time of year can be profoundly overwhelming and alienating at the same time. The pressures to buy all the things.That people can cause hurt. How do you deal when it all feels too much?
There are things you can do to feel proactive: you can donate to an important cause. You can make a playlist of your favourite songs. You can learn how to be an ally and stand up for racial justice.
But there are lots of things you can’t do much about. And for those things, I’ve been trying to focus on breathing more. I’ve even taken up meditating, every single day. Rather than try to constantly distract myself, I’m trying to sit with the pain, breath through it. I think there is a lot we can all learn from sitting with pain. I’m not comfortable with it, in fact I’m rather uncomfortable. But it’s starting to feel ok, and there isn’t much more you can ask for than that.
Another thing you can do? You can make someone, or yourself, a fantastic breakfast. A great breakfast is the ultimate act of care, and here’s one of my go-tos.
Buttermilk pancakes with pears & pecans
Pancakes are barely adapted from this recipe by Adrianna of A Cozy Kitchen.
Serves 2 very hungry adults or 3 with side dishes. Note: I’ve also made this with apples instead of pears and it’s as great.
Cooking soundtrack: Leonard Cohen: You Want It Darker
For the pancakes:
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (I used spelt), or sub more ap flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ cup buttermilk, shaken (or if you’re in a pinch, do this)
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the pears:
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2-3 pears (any kind you like)
- 1/4 cup pecan halves
- 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
- small wedge of lemon
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees. This will keep everything warm. Position two racks in the oven, one in top third one on bottom
- In an oven proof skillet over medium heat, toast the pecans. Once toasted (they’ll smell toasty), move to a small bowl or plate.
- With heat still on, add butter. Once melted add sliced pears, cinnamon, squeeze of lemon and maple syrup. Stir until well mixed. Everything should be sizzling. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, or until pears are starting to soften. Remove lid and stir in pecans, let liquid reduce for 2 minutes until nice and syrupy. Move pan to the bottom oven rack to keep warm.
- Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Put on top rack of oven.
- Make pancakes: combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl (flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda).
- Melt butter in microwave and let cool completely. In a bowl (or Pyrex liquid measure) measure out the buttermilk. Whisk in eggs, vanilla and melted cooled butter.
- With a fork, gently mix wet ingredients into dry. Do not over mix! This is the key to great pancakes. Having some specs of flour is totally fine.
- Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add pat of butter. Once warm, start making your pancakes: use a 1/4 cup dry measure to pour out the mix. Let cook until many bubbles form on the surface, then flip. Let cook for 1-2 minutes more until nice and brown. Then move pancake over to baking sheet in oven.
- Repeat! You won’t need to add more butter every time, but you can do it if the pan is looking dry
- Once all pancakes are cooked, you can serve either with topping already on, or each person can add your own. Benefits from more maple syrup and coffee. And maybe bacon if you eat it.