My mother and her sisters were very particular--picky you might say--but each was particular in her own way and disinclined to give a single inch on the way she wanted things to be. (I do not, thank goodness, share that family trait. Instead, I am inconsistent; but, as my mother used to like to say, I am consistent in my inconsistency.)
In any case, Aunt Ess (my mother's youngest sister) was of a nostalgic frame of mind. She loved to "rescue" things, to make them new again as best she could (so I guess you could say she had some influence on me, her namesake). Once upon a time, my mother gave her some kitchen curtains that she no longer wanted. Mother had slit the single panels down the center and seamed them to better suit her own windows. When my aunt received them, she wanted the two sides to be a single panel again. No, she did not sew them together; instead, she actually re-wove the curtain fabric. That's what I mean by "particular."
Mother had little use for nostalgia. She liked things "just so" and she wanted them that way instantly; she was also quite a rebel for her time. I have already mentioned the sofa she chopped up with an axe so she could remove it from a room more easily. I have not mentioned that she did the same exact thing with a grand piano or that she sawed the legs off of an antique cherry gate-leg table so that she could host a sit-on-the-floor Chinese dinner. And that is what I mean by "particular."
Needless to say, my mother's rebellious ways made my aunt shudder and my aunt's parsimonious ways made my mother blanche. But they were, despite any differences, the closest of sisters.
Aunt Ess never really understood or accepted the fact that my mother despised nostalgia or anything untidy. (I know Mother was like that because I often annoyed her on both counts.) That is most probably why Aunt Ess thought that Mother would enjoy a vintage cookbook that she had fixed up as a special gift. Mother loved her sister but she hated that cookbook and wouldn't keep it in the house (although she would rather have expired than ever to admit this to her dear sister). I, on the other hand, was thrilled to bits to have the nifty old fixed-up cookbook and still use it regularly. I smile each time as I remember the not-at-all-similar sisters.
It's the second edition of Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book. Mother had given Aunt Ess a copy of that very same book as a wedding present, hence the nostalgia. Aunt Ess tidied the cookbook, fixed the torn ring-binder pages with little hole covers, and she covered the book with cheerfully colorful (no on in my family, including me, has ever liked anything dull) 1960's vintage curtain fabric as a reminder of that other kitchen curtain.
This morning I was pacing up and down in the kitchen, dissatisfied with the world generally and with my pantry in particular. I need to make bread. I didn't want oatmeal or grits. The only leftover in the fridge was some plain pasta. Nothing seemed good, and I didn't know what to have for breakfast. That's when I noticed that old cookbook on the shelf, and I knew precisely what to do.
Betty Crocker's Favorite Pancakes. Page 87. I have it marked with an old tire ad that came in the mail one day and that found its way into the book; a decade later I see no reason to remove it. (See, Mother was right: I am consistent in my inconsistency.)
Hopefully, Ms. Crocker's copyright won't go crazy if I share this recipe from 1956 with you.
Just in case you can't read the scan;
Heat griddle slowly while mixing batter.
1 1/4 cups buttermilk or sour milk
2 tablespoons soft shortening
1 1/4 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Beat with rotary beater until smooth.
Bake as directed..... (well, I'm sure you know how.)
So that's what I enjoyed this morning. And I have leftover pancakes to put into the freezer for several more lovely pancake breakfasts.
Life is good.
Even if you're particular.....or inconsistent, as the case may be.