Monday, April 26, 2010

Old Black Witch! OR, A Long Time To Wait For Blueberry Pancakes

I don't usually like stories about witches. In fact, I avoid them on a matter of principle. But, when I found Wende and Harry Devlin's Old Black Witch!, tucked in a box of books from my mother, I couldn't resist sharing it with the children, before I packed it away again.

Old Black Witch!, was one of my favorites as a child. According to the inscription in the front, it was actually a gift to one of my older brothers, two years before I was born (I think that makes it a classic).

Reading it again, I was thrilled by the delightful illustrations, of the grumpy little witch, with her tiny pointed shoes, and the unsuspecting mother and son, who buy her broken down house, to fix up as tea house.

While the cranky little lady, never completely comes around to the idea of being good (there is nothing hidden in the fact that she is a witch, and it is noted, before she turns a couple of thieves into pet toads, that she "knew evil, and believed in it to a point", and so recognized them as her kind of people) she does agree to help make, and serve blueberry pancakes to the ladies in the tea room. In fact, there's a recipe on the back of the book for the very same pancakes.

When I was a child, I begged my mother to make them, but she wouldn't. In her defense, I was the youngest of seven, and she was tired. Plus, I didn't like pancakes, as a child, so the chance of my actually eating them, would have been slim. Even so, not making those pancakes, has always been one of the tragedies of my life. And, while that was quite sad, what was even worse, was that the neighbor children, across the street, borrowed the book, and made the pancakes - MY pancakes!

According to the neighbors, the recipe was a dud, which I found scandalous. How could something, that sounded so good in the story, turn out less than perfect in real life? Clearly, I needed to try the recipe for myself - something I never did. But, this morning, some 30 years later, my oldest son, tried it for me.

To my old neighbor's credit, the recipe does assume a prior knowledge of pancake making, that children might not have. And, the batter was pretty thick. I filled in the holes in the recipe, and instructed my son to add some extra milk. And, he opted to skip the incantation, which was supposed to be said while mixing:

"Gobble dee gook
With a wooden spoon,
The laugh of a toad
At the height of the moon!"

They turned out light, fluffy, and delicious - just like I always imagined they would.

Not too bad, for the big boys first attempt at pancakes.

Maybe this year, I can hope for more than burned toast, and cold tea on Mother's Day morning.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

Oh, and I'll be adding this to the Kids In The Kitchen carnival at A Little Fun With Me And Lu (thanks to Wonder Mom from The Fantastic Five for suggesting it!)


Debbie said...

The pancakes look yummy!

Learning With Passion said...

Very cool! I love it when a book leads to real life experiences. The pancakes look great!

Valerie @ Inner Child Fun said...

Oh, those pancakes do look delicious! What a great activity to go along with the book. I never knew you were the youngest of 7... WOW!!

Ticia said...

Hmmmm.... would our pancakes turn out that yummy if we tried them here?

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

LOL on your Mother's Day fare. I think your oldest did a supreme job - those pancakes look delicious. I've never heard of this book before.

Sherry said...

YUM! I love anything blueberry!!! Thanks for joining in!