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The Art of Winging It

I realized something this morning. My dad taught me how to bake. It wasn't a scene like you'd picture in your mind. We didn't stand for hours in the kitchen leaning over cookbooks and breaking eggs. It was one recipe that changed how I approached cooking forever.

Pancakes. Sounds pretty innocuous, I know, but these pancakes were different. They were different in a way that made them far superior to the pancakes my friends parents made, or even the ones we had at our favorite restaurant. I couldn't put my finger on why they were so much better. They were crepe-like, with a buttery consistency. All the other pancakes I tried were fluffy and cakey.

It was the day before I was leaving for college. I needed to know what made these pancakes so delicious. He used Bisquick, so I knew I had to start there. But when I asked if we could buy a box to take to school, he was quick to answer yes, with a caveat. I needed to know "the secret". Yes, I did need to know the secret! I thought it was simply the recipe on the back of the box. My dad laughed and said "You NEVER follow a recipe. What you need to do is experiment and see what it is about the combination of the ingredients you like and don't like." He proceeded to share his super-secret pancake recipe with me. I still use it today. But what I took from that was even more important than the actual recipe (which my kids now use, to raving reviews!). I learned that by practice and play, I could make a cookie that would be uniquely mine. That's exactly what I did.

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