Sometimes I still have to pinch myself when I think about it – it's hard to fathom that I actually won. There is much I can write about, and my dream is to eventually return to North America and return to a few of the places we visited, particularly Washington D.C., which I loved. Today, however, I'll restrict myself to tell you a little about the food I ate. Strangely, I did very little culinary research – this was in my pre-blogging life, after all – and besides, we hardly ever had the opportunity to explore the local food scene. A few dollars at food malls were just about it, and to be honest, the one time I did try to buy a local snack – a pretzel by the Pentagon – I was disappointed to find them covered in sugar, rather than the regular German salted version I was used to. I gave the pretzel away.
But the arrangers did give me a small information pamphlet about what to expect in the US and Canada, and there even was a small section about food: ''American breakfasts are different from what you're used to,'' it read. ''They like to eat waffles, toast, bacon, bagels, pancakes and flavoured cereals, and you'll need to adjust accordingly.'' The prospect terrified me. My only hope was that there would be pancakes, which I grew up eating, but what was I supposed to eat if there were no pancakes? As I mulled over this shortly before my departure, I didn't really know what to think of the prospect of waffles for breakfast should (horrors of horrors) there be no pancakes, and I hurridly packed four packages of Swedish crisp bread with me.
The very first morning, in Philadelphia, I nervously headed down to the cafeteria and walked around the entire breakfast table, looking for pancakes. But there were none to be found. No pancakes? Did that mean that my fantasies of stalked delights with copious amounts of Canadian maple syrup for breakfast every day had just been squashed? Devastated, I hoped my next breakfast would be more successful. As it turned out, they never did serve pancakes for breakfast, just a continuous amount of waffles, toasts, bagels, muffins and croissants with hardened fat attached, which frankly didn't appeal all too much.
So I ate my crisp bread each morning instead, and soon attracted a small crowd of fellow crisp bread lovers, including Norwegians, a lovely group of American gymnists and a particular strange Finnish fellow. The problem was that because I kept sharing my storage of crisp bread with an ever-increasing group of people; by the time we reached Ottawa, the storage was all but empty. Then, a miracle occurred. The Canadians had made pancakes. It was spendid. Superb Canadian maple syrup poured on superb Canadian pancakes. It was what I had been waiting for, and the wait had been worth it.
I have since promised myself to take a gastronomic roadtrip around the US and Canada in a few years time. There were so many restaurants I passed on the trip I really wanted to check out, particularly Cajun and Tex-Mex ones. I want to try real, local food. I want gumbos, homemade pumpkin pie and New York bagels. And pancakes. Lots and lots of pancakes.
Original Recipe ® Marion Fløysvik
Yes, I know I've waxed lyrical about the splendors of maple syrup, but I sometimes berries are just as delicious. Raspberries are my absolute favourite, but you can use any berry of your choice for the sauce. I like to add seeds to my pancakes, to give the extra something, but this is completely optional.
280 g. (2 ¼ cups) flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 ½ tbsp. sugar
480 ml. (2 cups) milk
70 g. (5 tbsp.) butter, melted
2 tsp. poppy seeds (optional)
2 tbsp. sunflower seeds (optional)
2 tbsp. lemon juice
225 g. (1 ½ cup) fresh or frozen raspberries
2 tbsp. fresh thyme, very finely chopped
2 tbsp. sugar
1.Raspberry Sauce: Combine all the ingredients together in a small saucepan and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the sauce is thick.
2.Pancakes: Combine all dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add the milk, eggs and melted butter. Mix until just smooth. Heat a lightly buttered griddle or frying pan over medium-high heat. Pour about two tablespoons of the batter for each pancake, and brown on both sides.
A few notes...