Do you the remember holidays when you were a child? What is it that you remember, is it presents? A specific toy that you pined for? Something your parents paid a mint and battled crowds for? If you and I share similar memories the presents don’t really come to the forefront. What I remember are smells, tastes, sensory experiences that make me feel loved. The sound of family, the smell of fresh pine and cinnamon, pent up excitement combined with sizzling butter.
Over the years my parents tried hard (as Santa Claus) to fulfill all of our wishes for the latest and greatest in 80’s advertised on TV toys (oh, I wanted Pound Puppies, Popples, and Cabbage Patch Kids as much as the next kid), they enriched our minds with Santa brought works of great literature (every kid has to have the complete set of Laura Ingalls Wilder books right?) and made sure we were stocked up in matching pajama sets… OK, we actually STILL have matching pajamas on Christmas. Good job Mom and Dad for making that happen even in the years I was pregnant – that had to have been difficult. I must say though one of the things I’ve always looked forward to most on Christmas is not the stuff, but our breakfast tradition.
Every year, like clockwork my mom gets up on Christmas morning and puts a simple mixture into her blender. Flour, milk, eggs; a simple recipe she learned in 7th grade French class that we’ve claimed as our own. A few quick pulses and the crepe batter is ready. Years ago, I stood on a stool by her at the stove, watching the pan and learning when to flip, when to wait. A simple task that was special for that day, didn’t involve a gift, and gave us the time to appreciate each other, savor the holiday, pause and postpone the gifting. These days I may be found at the pan myself or possibly my husband.
I hope that I will pass on a smell, a taste, a sensory experience of the holidays to my own family. That I will give them space to pause and savor, and that while generosity and giving will be a part of their spirit; we will not concentrate too heavily on what we give and receive. Maybe we can take a little moment at breakfast to pause and reflect on the holiday spirit together.
In honor of my mother and her dedication to family and tradition, here’s a version of her Christmas Morning Crepes:
Christmas Morning Crepes
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup orange juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter melted (plus extra for the pan)
Mix all ingredients in a blender or bowl until smooth batter is formed. Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brush a little melted butter or oil on the pan. Pour 1/4 cup batter into pan and swirl the pan to coat evenly. Cook until mottled brown on bottom, loosening crepe from pan side with a rubber spatula. Flip loosened crêpes quickly with spatula; cook until spotty brown on other side, about 30 seconds longer. Place cooked crêpes on plate and repeat cooking process with remaining batter. Crepes can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 2 months.
Serve with fruit, whipped cream, sour cream, nut butters, jams, sautéed vegetables, breakfast meats, cheeses or other accompaniments of your choice.
Makes 8 to 9 crêpes
For a real holiday treat, make homemade nutella.