On Tuesday, I found out that a good friend of mine – someone I’d known since middle school, who I’d skiied with, gone to school with, laughed with, learned with – was killed by a predatory bear while doing field work in Alaska.
Every day, I open Facebook and another one of Erin’s many friends or family members has written something beautiful about her. They’ve shared happy memories, amazing pictures of her adventures… and it’s at once so sad and so comforting to know that she was so well-loved.
She brightened so many lives and it’s just effing awful that she’s gone because the world is missing out on the incredible person she was and had yet to become.
Tuesday evening, I needed to do something with my hands so I could think about something else for just a little while. Tuesdays in the summer are also traditionally pancake nights in our house, so I pulled out my sourdough starter and got to work.
This starter is special to me for a couple of reasons. One, it was a gift from my mom for my wedding. Two, it’s starter she made in Alaska and feels like home. I needed a little bit of home this week.
Along with the starter, my mom gave me a few of her sourdough recipes: brownies (omg), biscuits (below), and pancakes. The biscuits might be my favorites, but they’re all delicious.
The sourdough pancake recipe as become my go-to this summer, though. One batch makes a huge stack of the most delicious ‘cakes ever. Clay likes his with chocolate chips, I take mine plain, and lately, my mom has tried making them with slices of apple baked in. As is the case with most pancakes, the possibilities are nearly endless.
My mom’s pancake recipe is as follows, for anyone interested in trying for themselves. If you want to try your hand at making sourdough (if you don’t have some already), it’s actually pretty simple. King Arthur Flour has a great post about how to do it.
I usually add a little flour (around 1/4 cup, maybe less) to the batter, because I like my pancakes a little thicker, but the recipe as-written is generally perfect. Seriously. Look at these.
Mom’s pancakes this week became comfort food – and I’m okay with that. They reminded me of home and home is where I want to be right now, to be close to the community I grew up in, and to give hugs to those who need them.
This weekend, Clay and I are going to go climb some mountains I think – feels like an appropriate way to honor Erin and remember her adventurous spirit. <3