Buckwheat Pancakes and Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
This week I’ve had quite a reckoning. (It also just took me forever to spell that word?) I finished the novel that I’ve been saving as a reward for finishing a challenging non-fiction read on the future of food (look for that next week), and I felt … different. Usually, when I dive back into the world of fiction after a slog through a technical, intense couple hundred of pages, I feel a kind of sick relief. Like “OH THANK GOD, FAKE THINGS.” But this time was different.
This time, as I finished Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, I felt kind of empty. More dissatisfied than I usually do with the fact that it was a fiction book I had just read. More .. bored. More like you do when you accidentally eat half the bag of chips. You know what I mean. “Well, I just consumed a bunch of potato and salt flavored air. Now what?” What does this mean? Does it mean I’m getting old? Does it mean that soon I’ll forget what I ever loved about fiction and be ten episodes deep in Planet Earth?
I wouldn’t feel so panicked about this if I hadn’t opened my big mouth and said “What if we made buckwheat pancakes instead?” when Colin suggested a big pancake breakfast the other morning. I mean come on. Buckwheat. At breakfast. In pancake form! Who am I turning into? AH!
To make myself feel a little bit younger and hipper (if that’s even what the youths are calling it these days), I made a nice toasted oat and almond crumble for the pancakes too, and that made me feel a little bit better. Until I realized that I’m basically eating oatmeal for breakfast. Sigh. Stay tuned.
Don’t let the buckwheat scare you. These are still crazy delish.
Buckwheat PancakesBy Page & Plate, September 21, 2019
I’m all for pancakes, but I know too much to eat them without feeling guilty about all of the butter that dies to fry those cakes. Thank god Colin made these buckwheat pancakes (healthier, duh) so I can live through the guilt. Do yourself a favor and make the “optional” crumble, too.
Makes: 12 Cups
- 1/2 cup of butter, divided
- 1 cup of Arrowhead Mills Gluten-Free, Organic Buckwheat Flour
- 1 cup of all-purpose flour
- 3 TBSP of sugar
- 1 tsp of baking soda
- 3 TBSP of vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk
- 1 cup of oatmeal
- 1/4 cup of sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup of brown sugar
- Put your favorite pan over medium heat and add 2 TBSP of butter. Get it ready (melty and foamy) while you do the next few things.
- Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk. Set aside.
- Combine all of the wet ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk. Pour into dry ingredients, then mix until a few lumps remain.
- Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, pour pancakes (probably about three or four, depending on your favorite pan) into the butter.
- Cook until the bubbles rising through the pancake start to pop, then flip. I have no idea if this is real science or just something I learned at a young age that I’m unwilling to give up.
- Cook for about two more minutes, then transfer to plate. Or mouth. Whatever.
- Add more butter to the pan (uh, I told you?) and repeat until batter is gone.
- Once the pancakes are done, wipe out your favorite pan, then put back over medium heat.
- Add oats and almonds and toast for about five minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add the remaining butter (probably 3-4 TBSP at this point), and melt it into the oats.
- When melted, add the brown sugar. Think about how happy your future self is going to be. Oh man.
- When the sugar has dissolved, your work is done. Add the crumble to the pancakes, douse everything in maple syrup (the real stuff), and go nuts.
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
Plot: In an act of desperation, Clay takes a job as the night clerk of a bookstore. But, it turns out that there’s a lot more to the job than Clay originally suspects, including but not limited to clerking for members of ancient secret society slash cult. Oops!
Thoughts: Ah, how I love a good old novel about a bookstore set in Silicon Valley. The irony, she is ripe. The allegory, she is present. The reader, she is kind of a jerk sometimes.
To get down into it, there was nothing really wrong with this book. It was quirky, cute, and had a pro-reading ~lesson~ so why not say I enjoyed it? I ran through it in about four hours flat, so it certainly wasn’t a slog to get through. There was just … something missing for me that I can’t really put my finger on. Maybe it’s that I’ve seen one too many movies about secret societies affecting history. (National Treasure is my jam.) Maybe it’s that I’ve already read Ready Player One and this is the book version of that trying to make reading look cool. Maybe it’s that I’m cynical and old and starting to have a taste for non-fiction about how we’re all going to starve.
To cheer things up a bit, I’ll tell you that I loved the friendships in this book. They felt very real and young adulty, and I can appreciate that. To end on one last critique, I’ll tell you that the love interest was a total Silicon Valley manic pixie dream girl, which I found annoying.
Verdict: Meh. I’m so solidly 5/10 on this that I can’t think of anything else to say. Might as well give it a shot.
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