Growing up, I can’t remember really having a favorite meal. We grew up like jellyfish, blowing with the tide, going in whatever direction daddy blowed in. Moving from by my mom, to my grandmother’s house and to my various stepmothers’ homes. Dad meant well, but he couldn’t control himself.
He was caught up in the moment, fucking here and there, and we ( my siblings and I) were the ones who suffered. After a while, he left us at my grandma’s house, after all we needed structure and that’s where I learnt a lot of the good and bad habits I have now!
My grandmother was always such a good cook. Making the simplest meals into masterpieces, she’s a black woman from the caribbean, who had a way with seasoning her food that no one could seem to replicate. She was a strong woman, who nurtured five children alone after my grandfather ran off, now she was raising seven grandchildren In the same house and never asking their parents for a dollar. Cooking was essential so she came up with a schedule, every Sunday we had big family dinner with all our favorite foods, it was the beginning of the week and she felt we should’ve started it out right! Monday was cook-up, Tuesday was some random shit, Wednesday was soup, Thursday was macaroni cheese and chicken with veg. Friday was my favorite night, pancake and beef night.
My grandmothers pancakes were made with banana, she use to add spices to the mixture making it creamy and with the sweetest scent. I can still remember at age five, cutting my fingers trying to grate the nutmeg on our old grater with the rusty shedder side, it hurt, but at that age I wanted to be just like her, and she never cried, so neither did I. It was comforting, being in that house, sitting on a chair, big bowl between my legs, mixing the pancake mixture together. I miss those days, when my brothers would fight me for the leftovers in the bowl. As we licked and slurped and plastered pancake mix all over each other.
We hounded my grandmother like dogs, waiting as a few pancakes had come out of the skillet, and then we started to sneak them out. Coming into the kitchen, lingering around the platter that they were draining on. We didn’t fool mother one bit, she always counted them, and for every one we stole, she deducted it from our final meal.
Pancake and beef was never a gourmet dinner, it required no table settings and no proper manners. Just an appetite and your fingers, but I would give anything to have that right now! Being with my family, simply enjoying each other and the antics we could come up with. Now everyone has moved on, having kids and starting their lives away from each other. It’s difficult, leaving the security of what pancakes and beef meant, to be a child… wild and free…no responsibilities, no hurt, just the freedom to BE, and that was priceless.