(not the pancakes of the story)

Yesterday I made pancakes.

I know.  For some people that’s like saying they put on their shoes or brushed their hair or woke up in the morning.

Simple. Easy. Even effortless.

I get it.  I understand.  It’s like that now for me, too.  I love making pancakes and stacking them with strawberries and butter.

But not so long ago it was a completely different tale.

And so in honor of Valentine’s Day.

Here, once again, is the rest of my pancake story. 🙂

Stack of Pancakes

It started with an invitation.

I think that all really good stories do.


I asked my husband who was then my boyfriend over for lunch.  We were both home from college for the summer and I wanted to impress him with my culinary skills.  (Just between us I really didn’t have any culinary skills).  But I had something so much more important.

Belief in myself.

And belief the fact that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to.  Mind over matter and all that.  Any stone not uncovered was one that just hadn’t been turned over yet.

Including cooking.

I told him I would cook him anything he wanted for lunch and he told me that he wanted pancakes.

Pancakes?  Seriously.

How about filet mignon and summer squash or braised pork chops with fresh garlic and onion or chicken stuffed with ricotta cheese?  He shook his head and insisted.

He wanted pancakes.

So that day I searched my mom’s The Joy of Cooking until I found the best-looking pancake recipe I could.  I didn’t know about Bisquick.  Or generic pancake mixes.  All I knew was The Joy of Cooking gave this pancake recipe the stamp of approval and that was good enough for me.

First I added the milk and sugar and eggs and baking powder and salt and butter….and oh wait….

….the flour.


Now you have to understand… this point….my only cooking reference was chocolate chip cookies.

That’s all I ever baked.

That’s what I was known for.

So when I added the ingredients together it just looked….well….truthfully it looked so….un-chocolate chip cookie like.  As a matter of fact, it just looked runny.  I panicked.  How was I ever going to form this dough into balls to press into the pan to make pancakes (remember the chocolate chip cookie reference)?  Frantically I read the recipe again.

I must have done something wrong, I thought.

So I added some flour.

And some more flour.

And just a little more for good measure.

Until all of the runiness was gone and my pancake mix was a big ball of dough.  And staring at that big ball of dough all I felt was confidence.  Hello cooking channel.  Hello Food Network.  I’m ready for my pancake show.

And in that overly-confident moment……inspiration really struck.

Why just have plain pancakes……

……when you could have blueberry ones?

Now The Joy of Cooking didn’t really mention blueberry pancakes.  But remember all that confidence?  It applied to the executive decision to go to the freezer and take out frozen blueberries (umm……yes……unfortunately I did say they were frozen)  and add them to the dough.

And then a funny thing happened.

The frozen blueberries made the dough blue.

Go figure.

Pancakes and Strawberries

And now I was running out of time.  I had spent so much of my lunch break setting a beautiful table with the most amazing fresh flower arrangement and silver and china and candles.  And there was the whole adding extra flour and frozen blueberries thing.

That’s when brilliant idea number two struck.

“Why have a bunch of little pancakes when you could just have one really big pancake?”

I know….right?  I know what you are thinking.

This idea was truly inspired.

So I took that big blue ball of pancake dough and I pressed it quickly into the frying pan.

And when I was waiting for the top to cook.

The bottom burned.

Well…actually…it burned on both sides.

So now my pancake was….big….and blue…..and….umm…..burned.  And that’s when I got amazing idea number three.

Add powdered sugar to cover the burned part.

I know….brilliant.


Stack of Pancakes

So I styled the pancake on the plate with powdered sugar and a few remaining blueberries that were now thawed and set it on that beautiful table.

Just in time.  Just in time to see my future husband’s eyes light up as he walked through the door.  Oh, if he only knew the feast that was waiting for him.

So there we sat.

Just the two of us.

I was the one having the cheese sandwich because (as I told him later) there wasn’t enough pancake for me.  I watched as his fork hovered with delight over the powdered sugared blueberry delicacy.  Then, with great anticipation and gusto he cut into it.  His fork sliced the pancake and from the center…from the center of that very under-cooked…..yet oddly over-cooked blueberry pancake….

….rivers of blue goo that spilled onto his plate.

He looked at the goo.  He looked at me and I looked at him about to burst into tears.  And like a man inspired he took a deep breath, grabbed his fork, scooped up the blue goo with bits of blueberry and powdered sugar still attached…..

…..and took a big bite.

And chewed.  He chewed that gooey pancake like a contestant on Survivor when they have to eat a local delicacy to win fresh towels and shampoo.

Slowly he finished his bite.

And he smiled.

And told me how delicious it was…..

…..and then asked me for the rest of my cheese sandwich.

And I gave it to him…along with my heart. 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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  1. Image for Michelle Rudis Michelle Rudis

    Good morning!! Just decided I love being the first one here. Adorable story, Karianne, and from the looks of the photographs, your pancakes have vastly improved ;-) I cut my culinary teeth on The Joy of Cooking also. Still love that book! Didn't have a lot of cooking skills in the beginning either but I could bake a cake. Lawdy, yes. But the first time I tried to make mashed potatoes for my new hubby? I called my mom in tears complaining that I'd peeled and diced and added butter and milk, just like I'd seen her do, and they were still hard as a rock. She said, "Well, after you boil them..." "Boil them," I asked? Yeah, I heard once that really smart people don't have a lot of common sense. I figure I must be right up there at genius level then.

  2. Image for Lanita Anderson Lanita Anderson

    Oh my goodness...that's a great story!! And he loved you (and married you!) in spite of your lack of culinary skills where pancakes are concerned! :) Thanks for sharing -- happy Friday!

  3. Image for Amy K Amy K

    OMGoodness!! You made me laugh out loud with the powdered sugar!! Exactly what I would have done (and have done :-) Love it!

  4. Image for Nancy Carr Nancy Carr

    Karianne, you are the best. I have laughed all the way through this. You are so adorable and human, and I love your stories and the way you write about your life. Blessings,

  5. Image for Becky Becky

    Karianne, that is such a sweet story. I know a dear lady who tells a story of being a newlywed and moving from the city to a farmhouse in the country. She was fearful of being out in the country alone when her husband was away so he decided to get her a large dog as company when she was home alone. One day she decided to impress her husband with homemade chocolates at Christmas. She worked so hard mixing, rolling and dipping those candies and they filled the counters and kitchen table. She then left to run errands and left the dog on a little enclosed porch off the kitchen. When she returned the dog had gotten in the kitchen and got into the candy and had gotten sick. Can you imagine? Her husband returned to find her in tears cleaning up the mess. They have been married for over 60 years now and raised six children together.

  6. Image for Jennifer Jennifer

    Adorable! A good way to start my day laughing at your cute story. The first time I cooked for my boyfriend (and eventual husband), I made chicken pot pie, black-eyed peas, cornbread and, oddly enough, tuna stuffed mushrooms. I didn't notice until we were sitting down to eat it all that everything on the plate was brown. And I later found out that he hated black-eyed peas and mushrooms, especially the tuna-stuffed variety. Ha!

  7. Image for Design Chic Design Chic this! Blueberry pancakes are my favorite, but I would only test eating while out...never my own making!! Happy, happy Valentine's Day Weekend, sweet friend!!

  8. Image for Terri Terri

    lolololololololololololol.......................................... and you lived "Happily every after" !!!!! WOW What a guy!!!!!!!!! :) .... and what a gal .... a true-blue story teller!!!! These "life-lessons" are making my day!!! Where is my kleenex.... laughing so hard... I am tearful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)... Happy Valentines Day "Thistlewood" friend!!!

  9. Image for Amy W. Amy W.

    Sweet, Sweet, Tender Story! The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of! Thanks-So-Much! Much Love Over The Holiday Weekend To You And Your Loved Ones! Happy Valentines!

  10. Image for Mimi - 247 Mulberry Lane Mimi - 247 Mulberry Lane

    What a sweet story just in time for Valentine's Day. :-) I remember serving a lot of Cap'n Crunch the first year I was married. Thank heavens the good Cap'n had a variety of flavors to go with just about any occasion. Ha!

  11. Image for Jeanne Jeanne

    So very Sweet. Love your stories. When I married, I only knew how to cook Italian food. My Native American husband had never seen so much tomato sauce in his life. Matches made in Heaven! Happy Valentine's Day!

  12. Image for Cherie Cherie

    Hilarious! You've come a long way, baby! But he has loved you every step of the way! Love your storytelling! Hope you have a blessed Valentines weekend!

  13. Image for Classy Glam Living Classy Glam Living

    Thanks for a good laugh on this Friday morning... sorry, it's too funny to know of someone with my level of cooking =) Sadly, my cooking skills are still at your college level lol! It's the thought that counts. Happy Valentine's Day!

  14. Image for Judie Judie

    Oh that's too funny! I think we've all had those kinds of experiences. What a guy for being so brave,he's a keeper. I was so disappointed when I couldn't open the link & finish the story,thanks for fixing it. Happy Valentine's Day !

  15. Image for Julia - Vintage with Laces Julia - Vintage with Laces

    I always love your love stories, KariAnne. You are such a sweet couple and just made for each other. :) On a totally different note I would like to THANK YOU. I really appreciate that, even though your blog is part of your business, you don't have ads within your post texts, pictures with ads on them or such an annoying "subscribe my blog pop-up". I totally understand the need to make money and I don't mind ads on the sidebars, on the blog tops or bottoms. The ones within a blog post are really distracting and take the fun out of reading. I stopped following several blogs already for that reason. The pop-ups are a harrassment. Not everybody wants to follow a blog via email but everyone gets these pop-ups on a lot of blogs. I'm really, really happy that you pass on these things. Besides your sweet stories, your cute and funny personality, this is also something that makes it such a pleasure to visit your blog. Happy Valentine's Day to you and your sweetheart, Julia

  16. Image for Toni Toni

    Oh my, you started my day with a laugh out loud! THANK YOU. Loved your story! And THAT my dear, is why you have such a GEM of a man! Happy Valentines Day to you both!

  17. Image for julianne mudic julianne mudic

    I'm still laughing because you remind me of me and one of my culinary messes. Mine was trying to out do my mother in law as a bread baker. As much as I tried those first couple of years of marriage, I could not out do her. Of course she had been baking bread for 50 years. All the times I tried, the dough did not rise. Eventually I learned the tricks of baking. Keep the stories coming, Kari Anne they bring a smile to my face each day.

  18. Image for Susan Susan

    I think your hubby must've fallen in love with your brain-storming problem-solving mind...I am quite in awe of it each time I read this story! He really was a sweetie to take such a big bite like that and to not let this one mistake colour your relationship....that's true love! I think he realised you did your best for him and that's what really counts, yes? At least you learned how to make your pancakes a lot less chewy and gooey...hehe! They truly do look delicious! Happy Valentine's, dear friend!!!

  19. Image for Bonnie Schulte Bonnie Schulte

    I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes. What a very sweet special story. And it has been said that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Ha...this man, your husband now, I believe he was in love with you at first look, and the pancake and cheese sandwich just cinched the love he felt for you...

  20. Image for Debbie Debbie

    I LOVE your writing style, KariAnne! I'm a recent follower, and I thoroughly enjoy your posts. I don't know how you did it exactly, but you took me from bent over, gut-wrenching, hysterical laughing (with a possible snort) to getting all mushy and teary-eyed. Thank you for sharing your precious memories. Xx

  21. Image for Amy Amy

    I too have a pancake-boyfriend-husband story. I was about 20 and was making pancakes for my boyfriend, now husband. We didn't cook much at my house growing up. The pancakes kept sticking so I kept starting over with a lower heat and more Pam spray. It wasn't working. They looked terrible, but he was hungry. At about the third pancake I noticed that I wasn't using Pam, I was using Static-Guard that my Mother stored in our kitchen cabinets.

  22. Image for Mary Mary

    Laughing... Laughing.... You are so funny. Truth be known, he fell in love with your great sparkling inventive and sweet personality - and the pancakes came later! Love your stories! Happy Valentines day to you BOTH!

  23. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    *sigh* That grabs at my heartstrings every time!! I just love romantic, beautiful stories and yours, my friend, is truly that. You two deserve each other --- in the nicest completely compatible way. I am sending you a big, Valentines Day hug and please give twinkling brown eyes one for me too -- we Italians love to hug :-) It is a requirement if you're Italian. Hugs and kisses to the people we love!!!!!!

  24. Image for Jan Jan

    Thank you for waking up another part of my memory of the past. Don't think I can top your fabulous story but I still want to share. 45 years ago I rushed to make my new husband his first birthday cake by me. I removed it from the oven and quickly added the frosting. So thrilled to finish before my ride came to take me to work. I couldn't wait to see him discover my accomplishment. And on cue, he told me how delighted he was. I asked if he counted the candles, he couldn't understand the question... We laughed as we ate around the globs of wax. Happy Valentines Day!

  25. Image for Sue B. Sue B.

    Any one feeling "blue" on Valentine's Day just needs to read your story and a smile will cross their face, thank you! As you, I was trying to impress a man in my life a "few" years back and wanted to make a custard pie (something his mother did which he loved) and not until we each took our first bite (crust and pie did look amazing) did he and I at the same time realize that I had left out, unlike someone else had added, a very important ingredient, sugar. Whoops!!

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