While baking breakfast the other morning, my guests Judy and Gary asked where I learned to cook. They were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and had shared countless stories and personal advice. I typically reply that I developed learning to cook through the years; through trial and burnt toast I learned what I liked and found that others enjoyed the same.
This particular morning, I gave pause and actually considered the question. What I discovered surprised me — I learned to cook from my mother. Not that I admitted that at a young age. She was a master in the kitchen, and I was not particularly good at listening or following direction. Subsequently, I became good at watching. I watched her whip cream and sugar, crack eggs and sift powdered sugar. She worked marvels with ingredients of every kind, but my favorite was always flour. I loved the smell as it mixed with melted butter and it lent itself a beautiful rise once placed in the oven at 375 F.
This particular morning I had prepared a baked apple pancake reminiscent of the German pancakes my mother would bake. I marveled at the memories one dish could bring to light. Thinly sliced apples baked soft in butter then topped with a simple pancake batter — just enough for Gary and Judy (and myself of course) — neatly wrapped in the smell of baking butter and memories of my mother.
As with so many dishes at the inn, this can be doubled or tripled. I use whatever apples I happen to have in the fruit bowl but prefer Granny Smiths.