A NEW YEAR TO CELEBRATE – Happy Birthday to a Special Mother

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Hi there,

I received the following story from Marica at Big Food, Big Garden, Big Life (https://bigfoodetc.com.

I know that you are going to love this story about Marica’s mother and her childhood. At the end of the email Marica told me it will be her mother’s 87th birthday on January 2, 2023. When I read that, I knew I had to start off the New Year with this story.

The Story of Mom’s Skinny Pancakes

Before I share my story and recipe (such as it is) I just want to say what a marvelous place this is. Cooking is such a big part of my family’s lives and so many stories attach to the food, to the friends, the crowds we (used to) cook for. It’s fun reading other’s stories, too! So a Big Thank You to Bernadette for making and keeping up this space.

My mom was a young woman when she came to The States from Germany in the late 1950s. When my brother and I were little kids, she’d make us “skinny pancakes.” We’d spread them with jam, or sprinkle them with sugar, and roll them up. It didn’t make any difference what time of day it was—she’d whip up a batch of skinny pancakes for be breakfast, after school snack, or late evening answer to “I’m still hungry.” We loved them. 

We grew up in the times of progressive dinners–dressed up grownups progressing from one home to another through the course menu. One of Mom’s specialties was made with skinny pancakes. For the grownups’ dish she’d fry up some bulk sausage, mix it with cook spinach, and season. She’d spoon a nice dollop of the mixture on a pancake, roll it up, and put the stuffed skinny pancakes in a baking dish. Cheese sauce over all. One memorable New Year’s Eve in the mid-1970s she’d made a double batch for company. When my teenaged self arrived home there were still some leftover. Teenaged self was allowed champagne on New Year’s Eve. I must have devoured a half dozen! (It was the mid-’70s, after all.) This dish has been on my own family’s New Year’s Eve menu every year since I became a grownup.

It wasn’t long after the memorable New Year’s Eve when the first Magic Pan came to a nearby city. I would have been 18 or so. Imagine my surprise to discover that Mom had been making crepes all of those years!

When Bernadette asked me to share my skinny pancake story, she reminded me to include the recipe. As many of you have shared in your stories know, that can be a problem. 

The Story of Mom’s Skinny Pancakes, continued

I was in college–a science major–when I asked Mom how to make crepes. As she finished making the batter she said that getting the consistency right was important. “Here’s the test,” she said. She got a spoonful and poured the batter slowly back into the bowl. I’m a science major. A test means drops per unit time or some such. What’s the test? She does it again. What’s the test? “That’s it.” And then she said, “Es ist nicht in meinem kopf, es ist in meiner hand.” It is not in my head, it is in my hand.

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed authentic Gundel crepes many times in Hungary. I have the Gundel cookbook with its classic crepe recipe. Mom’s Skinny Pancakes are every bit as delicious. 

Mom’s Skinny Pancake Recipe



AP Flour


(Sugar, optional)

Oil (canola works well)

1 large egg, with flour and milk in proportion, yields two 8-inch crepes

For each egg, use 1 Tbsp flour and approximately 1 Tbsp milk (just a pinch of sugar)

Beat the eggs well. I prefer to use an old-fashioned hand held rotary mixer because the eggs get frothier. Mom uses a fork. (I think an electric mixer would be too cruel.) Add flour and mix well. Don’t be too concerned if you see flecks of flour; as long as you mix well enough to disperse the larger clumps, you’re fine. Add milk and mix.

Mom’s “test” is that the thickness of the batter should be somewhere between half & half and cream. 

Heat a NOT non-stick 6-8” pan over medium heat. (Use 8” if making stuffed crepes.) Add about 1-2 Tbsps oil and let that get hot. Lift the pan from heat, pour in about ¼ to 1/3 C of batter and spin the pan to distribute batter on bottom. The trick is to use only as much batter as is needed to get a thin pancake. Try not to get it on the sides of the pan. Return pan to heat and let cook until the top of the batter has no liquid shine to it. Using a NOT non-stick spatula, flip it over. Let cook until the crepe has little bubbles that pop up. Transfer to paper towel lined plate. 

Tips from experience. I add a bit more oil every other crepe. Use a spatula that’s almost as long as your pan is round so you can slide almost all of it underneath the whole crepe. Adjust heat as you cook. I have never timed the cooking time, but from start to finish each one cooks for the time it takes to stir the batter, have a sip of coffee, and then start looking at it. The first one is going to be a mess for any number of reason. That’s the one you sprinkle sugar on and eat.

Mom will celebrate her 87th birthday on January 2, 2023. Still going strong.

Thank you Marica for sharing this very special post.. I can’t think of a better way to start a new year. And, I hope dear readers that you will stop over at Big Food, Big Garden, Big Life (https://www.bigfoodetc.com) and enjoy for yourself Marica’s stories and recipes. I always learn something new and interesting when I read Marica’s posts.

I would like to start off 2023 with the following quote from Judy Garland –


30 responses to “A NEW YEAR TO CELEBRATE – Happy Birthday to a Special Mother”

  1. Darlene – British Columbia, Canada – Writer of children's stories, short stories and travel articles. https://twitter.com/#!/supermegawoman http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=201634059868404&id=631897250&ref=notif&notif_t=like#!/pages/Darlene-Foster-Writer/362236842733
    Darlene says:

    The best story and recipe, and so perfect to start the year. I think most of us can relate. Happy New Year, Marcia and Bernadette!!

  2. Such a beautiful memory! The crepes look very yummy too, thank you for sharing it with us, Marcia, and happy birthday to your mom! Happy New Year!

  3. Ronit Penso Tasty Eats – NY, NY – Private chef, cookbook author, food journalist and translator. I love traveling and love to find out more about food wherever I go.
    Ronit says:

    Thanks for sharing. Happy New Year! 🙂

  4. Hi Bernadette, thank you for sharing this great story and the recipe too. Happy New Year.

  5. Awakening Wonders – Everyday life is filled with wondrous things and embraceable moments, but only if we allow ourselves to be fully awakened. I invite you to join me as I share passionate life adventures and ramblings that awaken my spirit. I look forward to awakening your senses to the simple, joyous wonders that are all around us. I feel that we are destined to become soulful adventurers!
    Awakening Wonders says:

    This is a sweet story!

    • Thanks. Just got off the phone with Mom. She’s waiting for two granddaughters and a great grand to visit. Tells me they want her to teach them something in the kitchen!

  6. Retirement Reflections – Vancouver Island, BC – Prior to retirement, I lived and worked in Beijing China for fourteen years (Middle School Principal/Deputy Director at The Western Academy of Beijing). Leaving international life behind, my husband and I retired to Vancouver Island in June 2015. To document both this transition and our new adventures, ‘Retirement Reflections’ was born. I hope that you enjoy reading these reflections, and will be willing to share your own.
    Retirement Reflections says:

    What a beautiful story – and a great recipe! Thank you so much for sharing both!

  7. the Painted Apron – Life is all about creativity for me, as long as I'm creating something I am happy! I hope I will inspire your daily life and give you ideas for your own wonderful creations!
    Jenna says:

    What a delightful story, thank you for sharing Marcia and Bernadette! I miss Magic Pan!

  8. Annika Perry – East Anglia, UK – I’m a versatile writer whose books span across various genres. My first venture into publishing is "The Storyteller Speaks" and this a collection of short stories, flash fiction and poetry. Published in January 2018 "The Storyteller Speaks" has received over twenty-five glowing reviews on Amazon. "Oskar’s Quest", my second book, it is a beautifully illustrated children’s book for younger children (and all young at heart!). "Oskar’s Quest" is an engaging story of adventure and courage. I have also completed one more story for children which is as yet unpublished. "Island Girl", my first full-length novel, is in its final edits and I’m looking forward to publishing this in due course. Writing has been a passion since childhood although it is only in the past few years that I have seriously started to write fiction. Initially, a writing course gave me encouragement and direction with my writing. Furthermore, the tutor recommended blogging and in January 2015 I set up my blog, Annika Perry’s Writing Blog. I never imagined the friendships I would make and I’ve been overwhelmed with the warmth and incredible support from people around the world. In spring 2014 I won First Prize in a Writing Magazine’s Short Story Competition which was a fantastic surprise and joy. Furthermore, I was short-listed for an Ink Tears Short Story Competition the same year. The recognition of my writing ability outside of my family and friends was a huge boost to my self-confidence and as a result, I started the mammoth undertaking of writing my first novel. Meanwhile, in early 2017 I was greatly encouraged by my friends and writers to publish some of my numerous short stories in a book. It was with great excitement and sense of achievement to launch the publication of my first book, "The Storyteller Speaks", in December 2017 with the paperback released in January 2018. The latter part of 2018 and throughout 2019 was busy with the realisation of a dream project, to publish a children’s book. Like so many parents, my son when young would request a bedtime story. These I tended to make up and a couple became his and my personal favourites. I revisited one of these stories and after much rewriting, editing and finding a wonderful illustrator, "Oskar’s Quest" was ready! Overall my road to publication has been circuitous and aided by the support of my family and friends. After gaining my BA Honours Degree in German Language and Literature from the University of Leeds I started working as a journalist. Following a serious illness, I changed career and gained a position as Administration Manager for a busy timber import company. I worked here for many years before leaving to pursue my passion for writing. I am now a full-time writer, blogger and book reviewer. I was born in Gothenburg, Sweden and at the age of six, moved to the UK with my family where we settled near Ilkley, West Yorkshire. Since then I have moved many times but now live in a small village in North Essex, England with my husband and occasionally my son, when he returns during university holidays. I am on the following social media sites and look forward to seeing you there. If you have a specific enquiry please use the form below. Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnnikaPerry68 Author Website: https://annika-perry-author.com/ Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Annika-Perry/e/B0789NNWFX/ Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/55576285-annika-perry Linkedin:https://www.linkedin.com/in/annika-perry-5a9ab8a6/
    Annika Perry says:

    Bernadette, a beautiful share and perfect for this time of year. Marcia, I love that only much later did you realise your mother was making crepes! A terrific story surrounding the skinny pancakes and I’m smiling at teenage you devouring seven of them one New Year’s Eve. As for the recipe, I’m the same – want exact measurements but my mother is just the same as yours – it’s all in the hands! (With pancakes I’m now the same and taught my son it’s just so!) Happy New Year to you both!

  9. This is a sweet story, and evidence of what I learned while working for a pro caterer; if you want people to be impressed with the food, give it a French name! I think “skinny pancakes” sounds much more fun than crepes, and it makes them more approachable!

    • I laughed at this comment. Yesterday my husband made cream puffs. I texted a photo of them to our 3 grownup girls. One daughter asks if he used paté a choux. I had no idea what she was talking about. This lead to several messages among two of the girls and I while John consulted Julia Childs and confirmed that even though his recipe was for cream puffs, it was the same. Later the other daughter (who didn’t read the whole thread) asks what paté a choux is. Answer: French cream puffs!

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