It's a big, fluffy pancake that can be dolled up either sweet, with fruit and jam and whipping cream and such, or savoury, with meat and veg and herbs galore. Your imagination is your only limit!
In some cultures of yore, the shamers shamed anyone with a chair on their porch because they were simply advertising their laziness, ergo deserving censure. Necessity demanded hard work, shoulder to the wheel, nose to the grindstone. Idle hands are the devil’s workshop. The harder you worked, the more virtuous you were perceived to be.
Things have steadily improved, of course, as societies progressed. Women began to drive cars and smoke cigarettes. Over time they seemed to start buying clothing instead of patterns and fabric. The shamers muttered protest under their breaths, but soon enough their breath was taken away by the cultural revolution of the sixties. They had to turn their censorious eyes off their neighbours in “store-bought” clothing, and onto Elvis Presley’s hips. Women, who had been valued socially by the complexity of their home sewn garments, by the daintiness of their stitching, had moved on. And no one seemed to raise an eyebrow. Or at least not for very long. Oh there are still those who love to sew and quilt and knit, but these activities are now seen as hobbies or “interests” rather than necessities of housewifery.
So why did home cooking get left behind, like some vestige of a bygone era? Home cooking somehow remains the gold standard. Sure there are people who love to cook, love to bake their own bread, roll their own noodles, preserve their own garden veg in preparation for the apocalypse we call winter. Instead of being seen as the hobbyists they are, they continue to be revered. Those who eat out, drive through, or indulge in take-out are seen by their snoopers as somehow less holy. It is apparently essential to raising children not on drugs or hellbent for juvy, that a parent (read “mother” here) stand by the stove creating a “home cooked meal”. Nothing else is healthy. Nothing else will quite do. Never mind that she wrestled her reluctant kids, onto the bus at the crack of dawn before heading out to work all day, and that before returning home as exhausted as anyone else would be, is made to feel guilty if she picked up a bucket of chicken. Why?
Maybe the problem is the bucket and not the mother. Maybe we just need more nutritious take out. Like the rest of the world.
The latest trend is a step in the right direction, having meal kits delivered to the home to spare Mother (ok or maybe Dad) the task of snuffling around for recipes and shopping the ingredients. That’s a help. But it is still deemed acceptable only if she actually toggles the meal together with her own loving hands.
In many parts of the world, delicious, nutritious food pick up is a regular part of the daily commute. It is excellent and reasonably priced. It’s fast, but no one calls it the End of Time. Neighbours don’t bat an eye and parents don’t feel shame. The kids are alright. Home cooking is a hobby for enthusiasts, but not a requirement for societal acceptability. Our fast-food providers are hearing our wish for fresh, tasty, nutritious offerings, but we have to support them and not (always) use them as an excuse to eat fries. If we buy it, they will provide it. The problem is indeed the bucket and not the Mom.
How To Make a Dutch Baby Pancake from thekitchn.com
I include this recipe for the food hobbyists out there. It is in the family of Yorkshire puddings, popovers and crepes. Actually, it’s pretty much the same recipe made in different pans. All can be used for either sweet or savoury dishes.
The uniqueness of Dutch Baby is that the batter is poured into a screaming hot cast-iron frying pan and popped back into a hot oven where it blows itself up like a puffer fish before collapsing into a crispy golden crown with a center just asking to be filled with something delicious, be it turkey dinner leftovers or mixed berries dusted with powdered sugar. This versatile baby is a sure to be greeted with enthusiastic praise as it emerges from the oven.
2 to 4
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole or 2% milk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Powdered sugar, maple syrup, and jam, for serving.
9- or 10-inch oven-safe skillet, preferably cast iron.
Blend the batter: Place the flour, milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a blender or food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Blend for 10 seconds, scrape down the sides, and then blend for another 10 seconds. The batter will be quite loose and liquidy.
Rest the batter: Leave the batter in the blender and set aside to rest 20 to 25 minutes. This gives the flour time to absorb the liquid.
Heat the pan and oven: Meanwhile, place the skillet you're using on a middle rack to warm along with the oven. Heat the oven to 425°F.
Melt the butter: When ready to make the pancake, remove the skillet from the oven using oven mitts and place it on top of the stove. Add the butter and swirl the pan to melt the butter and coat the bottom and sides of the pan.
Add the batter: Pour the batter on top of the butter. Tilt the pan if needed so that the batter runs evenly to all sides. Place the skillet in the oven.
Bake until the Dutch baby is puffed, lightly browned across the top, and darker brown on the sides and edges, 15 to 20 minutes.
Serve while hot: You can either serve from the pan or transfer the Dutch baby to a serving platter.
For a sweet baby, dust with powdered sugar. Cut into wedges and serve with maple syrup or jam.
For a savoury baby, your imagination is your only limitation.
Fruit-filled Dutch baby: Arrange fruits like blueberries, raspberries, sliced apples or peaches over the bottom of the skillet on the hot butter and then pour the batter over top. (Scattering fruit on top of the batter will keep it from rising as impressively.)
No one will shame you if you don’t have this baby in your back pocket, but they will definitely applaud if you do!