Breakfast Syrups and Elixirs

Several weeks ago, one of my favorite author-illustrator-chef-blogger‘s in all of humankind, Pierre Lamielle, launched a Kitchen Drawer contest on his site. The contest invited entrants to send in a Kitchen Scraps style blog post, one which features a witty mix of storytelling and entirely-edible recipe posting. You know, the sort Pierre always comes up with himself. This, I assure you is not as easy a task as he makes it appear to be. Anyhow, three contest winners would recieve a custom-illustrated post by Pierre himself.

Guess what? I was one of the winners.

{High-pitched squealing goeth here.}

And so it is, with tremendous pride, and even more tremendous pink-cheeked humility that I offer you my Kitchen Scraps Kitchen Drawer Prize post.

{P.S. I cried when I saw Pierre’s illustrations. Aren’t they beyond magnifique?!}…

I suppose it was years after actual traveling salesmen pitched their wares from wooden platforms:

Come One! Come All!
Get yourself a bottle of Dr. Lepper’s Electric Life!
Fix all ailments with a gulp a day!

But somehow, I imagine my grandmother standing in the front row of such an assembly. Pressed against the edge of a makeshift stage, necked craned back willingly as she squinted through silvery glasses, attempting a better looksie at the wares of a slickly mustachioed salesman.

Dr. Kilmer’s One-of-A-Kind SwampRoot Kidney, Liver and Bladder Cure!
The great Vigor-of-Life Tonic!

There would be humming in the crowd behind her. Believers and beliers. The afflicted, the ambulatory, the astonished. Say what they may, Grandma would have paid them nevermind. Her focus would have been there—just a yearning reach from her grasp– the bottle golden, or greenish or gloppy or gleaming, held high in the hand of the man with the striped suit.

W.M. Johnson’s Pure Herb Tonic!
A Sure Cure for All Malarial Diseases!
Pennies per dose! A lifetime of guaranteed vim!

Raising her hand faster than a shoo-fly piemaker, Grandma would have waved a shiny sixpence in the air, waited for the wink—and then the nod–of the white-hatted gent before he bowed before her, handing down a bottle of her very own.

W.M. Radam’s Microbe Killer!
Germ Bacteria or Fungus Destroyer. Cures All Diseases!

She wouldn’t need to search the crown to find Grandpa, dapper and winsome with brown waves of hair rolling across his high, smooth forehead. There was no doubt he’d be standing far off from the crowd, sucking on a candy stick or chewing back a mouthful of peanutted toffee. Grandpa was never much interested in cure-all’s. (Though, of course, he would tolerate Grandma’s healthy doses of vitamins B and K and Miraclemint as a gentlemen tolerates most a female’s whim). Rather, Grandpa relied on daily consumption of something else entirely to maintain his pleasant disposition.

I learnt all about it one morning at their house, over a breakfast of whole-wheat banana pancakes, turkey bacon, and an assortment of seasonal root vegetable juice.

“Buster?!” Grandma said the moment her heiny nestled it’s way upon the vinyl kitchen chair, “Why is your mouth all black?!”

Grandpa’s fingers fled to the edges of his mouth, wiping the corners with cautious naiveté. “Well. I don’t know, Gerrie. I don’t know.”

Grandma stood up. Leant over the table. Leant far over the table. Moving closer and closer to Grandpa. Closer still. Until her nose was nearly landed upon Grandpa’s lips.

“Buster?!?! Did you eat some of those licorice caramel’s I made last week? Before breakfast?! Why, it’s only just eight in the a.m.!”

Raising her eyes to meet Grandpa’s, Grandma begin to stare. Hard. Looking for evidence of his guilt, she peered well past his pupils, into the very workings of his soul. The only thing good, old Grandpa let her see was that trademark glimmer in his eye. Always shimmering and shining, those eyes were.

He glanced away to look at me. Winked. Then, turning back toward Grandma, he grabbed her hand gently and said with a cheery voice, “I sure am hungry. Shall we pray?”

Buster Brown’s Gleam-Giving Elixir!
A little bit of sugar and a lot of prayer.
Take daily for a lifetime of merriment and jubilation.

Celebrate chilly morning breakfasts this holiday with three incredible recipes,
inspired by Grandma’s life-seeking tonics and Buster’s life-giving cure…

Whole-Wheat Banana Cardamom Pancakes
With Coconut Cream Syrup
1 egg
½ very ripe banana
1 tsp. Sugar
2 T. apple sauce
½ c. whole wheat flour
¾ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp cardamom
½ tsp. cinnamon
Dash of salt
½ c. milk curdled with the juice of 1 lime
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Cook on hot griddle. Makes 4-6 pancakes, so be sure to double the recipe if you’re cooking for a crowd!

Coconut Cream Syrup
½ c. sugar
1 c. coconut milk
A pinch of lime zest
Heat all ingredients in a large bowl until steaming, but not boiling. Serve hot.

Gingerbread Custard French Toast
With Vanilla Cranberry-Clementine Syrup
2 egg yolks
1 egg
3 Tbsp. molasses
1 T. ginger
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 T. sugar
1/2 c. heavy cream
4-6 slices of your favorite thick-sliced bread (slightly stale)
In an 8×8 dish, combine first 6 ingredients and beat until frothy. Dip both sides of toast into the egg mixture, then cook on a heated griddle. Serve hot, slathered in the following syrup…

Vanilla Cranberry-Clementine Syrup
½ c. brown sugar
½ c. fresh cranberries
2 clementines, diced
1 tsp. vanilla
2 T. water
¼ c. corn syrup or maple pancake syrup
In a medium saucepan, bring all ingredients just to a boil. Remove from heat and serve piping hot over your French bread. Savor the seasonal flavor. Yum!

Pecan Waffles with Honey Baklava Syrup
½ c. crushed pecans
1 egg
1/3 c. flour
Dash of salt
2 T. butter
¾ tsp. baking powder
½ c. milk
1 t. sugar
Dash of Cinnamon, Ginger and Nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl until creamy. Spoon batter into a hot waffle iron & cook until golden brown. Serve with Honey Baklava Syrup.

Honey Baklava Syrup
½ c. pecans, chopped
¼ c. honey
2 tsp. orange flower water (or the fresh-squeezed juice of ½ an orange)
¼ c. sugar
¼ c. cream
In a medium saucepan, mix together all ingredients over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar is fully dissolved and syrup is quite hot. Spoon over waffles. Delight.

In Loving Memory of Grandpa Brown.


…and with most immense thanks to Pierre.
Thank you, Pierre. It was such fun.
Do be sure to stock your kitchen, your library, and your bathroom reading stash with Pierre’s indubitabley wondrous cookbook, Kitchen Scraps.
Available HERE.
You’ll love it so much, you’ll want to eat it for breakfast.