Don’t you love food porn? Those inspiring photos of well-executed steps and beautifully plated dishes. Pristine ingredients, colorful spices in tiny glass bowls, gorgeous gadgets of all sorts in perfectly appointed kitchens.
I’m a sucker for a gorgeous cookbook, especially one chock-full of healthy recipes. Once we moved into a smaller house, I’ve controlled this purchasing compulsion in two primary ways: utilizing online content more often and revisiting cookbooks I already own.
Though I adore those beautiful photos and reading recipes, I hate to shop. So when it’s just me to cook for, I play a little game: How long can I make do without a trip to the grocery store? Using what’s on hand, whether ingredients or cookbooks, can lead to some creative successes. . . and interesting failures.
What you’re about to see is more crime scene than food porn.
Strawberry Banana Pancakes
One morning, I’d gone for a run and returned home craving something warm and sweet and healthy for breakfast. Aha! I stumbled upon a recipe for strawberry banana pancakes in The Healthy Gut Cookbook by Lindsay Boyers. A quick pantry and refrigerator revealed, miracle of miracles, all six of the necessary ingredients were on hand. Sweet!
Even better, my fruits were on their last legs, so I was saving them from a compost bin demise. High five for less food waste!
As I mixed together the egg whites, banana, strawberries, and almond butter, I found myself wondering. How, exactly, would these bind together? Would the egg whites form that mouth-watering pancake I was eagerly anticipating? Hmmmm.
Such a pretty combination of ingredients! I heated my coconut oil, making sure to swirl the warm oil around to coat the pan’s bottom before pouring in my mix.
Now, I have a tendency to flip too soon, so I set a timer after covering the pan as instructed. An unusual move for pancakes, right? After those 2–3 minutes, I lifted the lid. Uhhh…that’s not right. Not only was nothing “golden brown” about the bottom but the top was still gooey.
Nervously, I slipped the spatula under the edge to see what lay underneath. Except there was no edge; the entire “underneath” was firmly adhered to the pan. Crap! This was not going as expected.
Gently flipping the pancake turned into frantic scraping. The best I could manage was piling overturned bits into a mound of goop. Great. I cooked the scrambled mess for the requisite time (another 2–3 minutes), scraped it onto a plate, sprinkled the cinnamon on top, and tried a bite.
While the flavor was nice, the texture was extremely disappointing. Porridge, not pancake. I couldn’t get past the mushy banana bits.
Our compost bin ate breakfast and I disappointedly settled for a hardboiled egg.
Recipe Post Mortem
So where’s the fatal error in such a total foodie fail?
- Should the banana have been mashed? In “Easy Pancakes,” Boyers says mash, not slice, the bananas.
- Was flour needed? “Fluffy Coconut Pancakes” requires 1/2 cup coconut flour.
- What about those egg whites? Each of the other pancake recipes uses the entire egg(s).
- Can I call user error? Maybe my pan/coconut oil wasn’t hot enough; maybe I didn’t “swirl” well enough to keep my pancake from sticking.
- Were expectations unrealistic? The fluffy, bread-y stack pictured on the “Breakfast and Brunch” intro page had my mouth watering. Perhaps, though, this was supposed to be mushy.
What do you think went wrong? And should I give The Healthy Gut Cookbook another try or find some new food porn?