Yams, Grandma’s macaroni and cheese, collard greens, beans, rolls, ham…
This is what typically comes to mind when I think of traditional holiday foods. The holidays always meant being surrounded by family and an abundance of food. Whether Thanksgiving or Christmas, preparations began the night before with washing vegetables, soaking beans, and defrosting large birds or hams. The next morning, I rose early with the sun and my mother to help in the marathon of cooking and baking. My brothers generally woke late and spent the morning picking at whatever we were making, and slowly family and friends trickled in to our home, which increasingly filled with music and laughter. Nourishing others with delicious food became a great joy, responsibility, and sense of pride for me.
This year is the same, but in so many ways, completely different. New marriage, new family, and new food considerations mean a strange, awkward time in life where we’re trying to decide which traditions to keep and which to create. There is excitement in the creative unknown, but an unexpected grief in letting go of what once comforted us.
This will be my husband and my second holiday season together. With his wheat sensitivity, my lactose intolerance, and our organic, pescatarian lifestyle, making those traditional foods became a lot more complicated. To put it lightly, I’ve crashed and burned (or should I say my dishes have!) a few times trying to simply swap ingredients to accommodate an allergy. (Last year we made gluten-free pizza and apple pie on Christmas Eve. The pie was actually wonderful, but the pizza tasted and felt like cardboard.) I’ve almost accepted that finding our staple holiday foods are simply going to have to evolve over time.
For now, one of our most cherished and comforting times together is mornings. Not just any mornings, but those that are cold, cloudy, and lead into a day where there are open plans and family. This time of year is perfect for that. We like to wake to no alarm, turn on music, start the coffee, and make a breakfast that could put you back to sleep before settling in for the day or making the drive to see family or friends nearby. And what better comfort breakfast food is there than pancakes?
These buckwheat pancakes have a hearty, fluffy texture and a beautifully rich and smooth nutty taste. The cinnamon and nutmeg lend to the smell of the holidays and add a pleasant spice that pairs well with your syrup or honey of choice. These are great to nibble on alone, but hold out to top them with fresh fruit, a compote, nut topping or all three! These easy but special pancakes are the perfect compliment to a lazy, relaxed morning, or as the first meal of a day filled with food, family, and celebration. Enjoy!
- Heat griddle to medium heat
- Mix all of the dry ingredients well
- Whisk in rice milk and vanilla until completely blended with no lumps
- Pour about ¼ cup of batter onto hot griddle
- Flip after the formed bubbles begin to pop, about 1 minute
- When finished, top with sliced berries and syrup.
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