I belong to a Facebook group that features recipes. Someone posted this picture of bananas that were past their prime. They asked what they could make besides banana bread. That brought a smile to my face.
My immediate response was pancakes!! I’m guessing that’s not what you were thinking I’d say.
Let me tell you a little story.
Growing up, my mom took bananas like these, and she would smash a couple of them, add a little sugar and a little milk then stir it up. She’d make pancakes and we’d pour the banana mixture over the pancakes just like you might put syrup or mashed strawberries on your pancakes.
I vaguely knew that other people had syrup on their pancakes but I thought it was entirely normal for people to eat pancakes with mashed bananas on top.
Fast forward. Kramer and I got married. It was 1986. I was a young bride of 20 and I was trying to keep the grocery budget low. I asked Kramer one night what he might like for supper. He said, “How about pancakes?” Great idea I told him, only I didn’t have bananas so I couldn’t make them.
He didn’t say anything…we moved on and had something else for supper.
A week or so later I was getting groceries and saw bananas were discounted as they were past their prime and I bought some bananas thinking I would pancakes like Kramer previously suggested.
I was the proud little wife. I was so happy to be making my husband the supper that he requested. I happily made the pancakes. I happily made the banana mush. I put it all on the table so pleased with myself.
Kramer grabbed some pancakes. I grabbed some too. I loaded mine with bananas. He got up and went to the refrigerator. I didn’t know what he was doing. He got the butter and then asked, “Where is the syrup?”
I said, “What?”. He said, “Where is the syrup?” AHHH!! I completely forgot that other people use syrup. It was so normal to me to have pancakes with bananas on top. Oh my. I had to tell him we didn’t have any syrup.
He looked at me odd…then looked at my plate and asked me what I was doing. He had never seen anyone have pancakes with bananas on top.
I explained to him that this is how my family ate pancakes. He looked at me like I was pretty weird.
Then Kramer, who never cooked at all, walked to the cabinet, pulled out brown sugar, white sugar, and a saucepan, and started to make syrup. His recipe was:
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup water
Bring it to a boil. Pour over pancakes.
We learned a lot from that little incident. We learned that even though we thought we’d both come from farm families with moms that did the cooking and caretaking of the home, we still didn’t grow up completely the same. We’d have to do a lot of compromising and discussing along the way to make our own normal…especially when it came time to raise the kids.
So you might wonder what tradition our family came up with for pancakes…
Part of the kids pancakes with bananas…part don’t. When I make pancakes we have both Kramer’s homemade syrup and my bananas.
I had to really laugh one day when my brother came to visit. I made pancakes…I made bananas for the pancakes. He was so happy. He said he had forgotten all about having bananas on pancakes. Once he had it again, he said he missed that.
Isn’t it crazy the little things that make home, home?
Another thing my mom did with bananas…
She would slice them into round slices, put a teaspoon of brown sugar on the top and then we’d pour milk on that and eat it for dessert. Another crazy thing my mom did.
Mom told me that both of the banana traditions came from her family when she grew up. I’ll have to ask my cousins on my mom’s side if any of their moms used bananas that way. I’m guessing not as mom was the only girl in a passel of boys. Traditions like that usually pass through the moms.
So…my curious mind wants to know…Does anyone else have a family tradition of putting mashed bananas over pancakes??