Pancakes and Bacon and Syrup, Oh No

Nora Ephron’s ricotta-egg pancakes with blueberry preserves

I’m not a difficult person to feed.

I eat red meat. I eat dairy. I eat wheat. I’m not a huge fan of collard greens but I eat kale and spinach and arugula with pleasure. It is true that I developed a pretty severe shellfish allergy a few years back, so I guess I’m a little bit of trouble if you want to serve me lobster, crabs, or shrimp.

Once, when my kids were young, and my mother was visiting, we went to a restaurant, where I tried to give my kids a lesson about picky eaters. My mother had left the table to freshen up, so I told them the best way to make my point would be to have them watch the behavior in action (my version of Animal Kingdom).

“Pay attention when Grammy places her order,” I said, but they were too impatient. “What’s she gonna do?” they wanted to know.

So I looked toward the restroom, assured that Mom was still in the distance, and pointed to my menu while looking at the girls. “I’ll have the chef’s salad, please. And I’d like a scoop of tuna. I know it’s not on the menu as an option but I see you do serve tuna sandwiches so . . . I’ll have the low fat Italian dressing, on the side please, and I like the tuna that comes in water not oil, whole not chunk, and very light on the mayonnaise, like practically no mayonnaise at all, just enough to get a taste of it. If you put celery in the salad or the tuna salad, don’t put it in mine. Oh and I’ll have an Arnold Palmer to drink. The ice tea isn’t sweetened, is it? Because I don’t want it if it is, and only a tiny bit of lemonade, about an eighth of the glass. And no ice. I don’t want ice. You refrigerate the tea, I hope.”

Then my mother returned to the table. Waitress came, Mom ordered exactly as I anticipated, kids couldn’t stop laughing, and I had to explain. Thankfully Mom knows she is a “high maintenance” restaurant customer and if she was offended, she didn’t show sign of it.

The first time I heard the term “high maintenance” was in reference to the Meg Ryan character in the film, “When Harry Met Sally.” She ordered her food as if she took lessons from my mother.

Which leads me to my point, which is that Nora Ephron gets me. She sees things in ways that make sense to me.


Nora Ephron wrote “When Harry Met Sally” as well as many other screenplays and witty essays that I laugh at over and over again. Recently, I reread an essay she wrote about teflon, which, naturally, made me laugh. But it also contained a recipe for a pancake-type breakfast food that sounded tasty to me.

I’m getting to the point. I promise.

Only a few days ago, we were up North with friends who made pancakes and bacon for breakfast. I’m either a protein shake or egg and english muffin or yogurt and granola kind of breakfast eater, but I’m game for something else if that is what is prepared. Except pancakes and bacon. I love bacon when it is cooked with other foods (in a pasta dish, with brussel sprouts, wrapped around scallops) but don’t like it much by itself, and I find that pancakes, unless made with whipped egg whites (try it sometime; you won’t be sorry), are a waste of calories to me. They only taste good with syrup and the one time of the day that I don’t love sugar is the morning. Black coffee for me please.

When I saw the recipe in Nora Ephron’s essay, I memorized it (very simple) and decided I’d give it a try. This morning, I did.

All that’s left to say is there are now two kinds of pancakes worth every single calorie: the egg-white ones and Nora Ephron’s ricotta-egg ones.

Recipe links below.

Link to Nora Ephron’s essay, which contains the ricotta-egg recipe.

Link to recipe for egg white pancakes.

Let me know if you try the recipes and if you like them as much as I do.


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