Nuts for Nutella

Whenever I check the site statistics and review the searches that lead to this blog, without fail the list includes a search for Nutella—most often Nutella pancakes.

People are nuts for Nutella.

It’s quite popular in our household, too, and certain family members (who shall remain nameless) have even gone so far as to purchase and stash a personal jar.

I confess that I am somewhat mystified by all this devotion to Nutella. Perhaps it partly because I am not a superfan of pancakes or hazelnut or chocolate. I’ll take peanut butter and jelly any day of the week.

That being said, “breakfast for dinner” remains in the top-ten menu choices at my house. I can flip a mean pancake and have fine-tuned an array of favorite toppings that include, among others items, warm maple syrup and whipped cream, sliced bananas tossed with cinnamon and honey, mini chocolate chips, fresh blueberries, and pumpkin butter. And when I ask, “Do you want it to snow on your pancakes?” a yes means a flurry of dusted powdered sugar.

Nutella is not included among this list of toppings because it’s somehow regarded as a convenience food, something fun and filling to have on the fly. Breakfast for dinner, you see, is a meal that we like to linger over.

In addition to the pancakes, I usually cook each family member an egg to order, sunny-side up or over easy, with a side of sausage or bacon. After a holiday, there may be grilled slices of fragrant honey ham, or a hash of leftover potatoes. Popular too, is a plate of kielbasa and eggs. Completing the meal is always a tossed salad made from whatever fruit currently fills the oversized bowl on the kitchen table.

If I’m feeling extra gracious and spacious, I may caramelize fresh apple slices, and the last time I did this I added two handfuls of mulberries, fresh-picked (while the birds complained) from one of several mulberry trees in our backyard.The berries turned the apple mixture a bright red, which looked lovely atop the slightly crispy pancakes that were flavored with a bit of vanilla.

My favorite part of this meal, and family favorites like it, is that it puts everyone in good spirits, and encourages us to slow down and enjoy each other’s company. Who knew that pancakes are a portal to open communication?

When I see the search for Nutella pancakes on the blog’s statistics I’d like to think that it’s someone searching for a recipe to make an inviting meal for loved ones. And I’d like to imagine further that it’s a recipe that will become a household favorite.

So what does all of this have to do with writing? Nothing, really. It’s just that it’s nice sometimes to chat over coffee and pancakes—or waffles and Nutella, if you prefer—on a relaxed summer Saturday morning after another hectic week.

Could you please pass the syrup?

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