I am not a fan of pancakes. Allow me to explain why.
When I was kid, my mother always made pancakes on St. Patrick’s Day.
She’d wake us up early, and in her best Irish brogue proclaim that the leprechauns had left us a fresh, hot batch of pancakes. Green pancakes. And they looked exactly like the pancakes in this photograph.
The dog always ended up enjoying those St. Patrick’s Day pancakes, because we kids surely did not. My mom is a great cook. And I mean great. But I could never bring myself to ingest even one bite of those phosphorescent flapjacks—flipped from some tiny magical griddle notwithstanding. We begged for cold Rice Crispies and wolfed them down with gratitude.
The funny thing is, even though we refused to eat them, my mother made those pancakes every year without exception. I realize now that she did it not because it made us miserable, but because it made her happy.
Today, when one of the kids looks at me sideways, for example, for wearing a pair of disco ball earrings left over from a Halloween costume because they crack me up and inspire my work on a middle grade novel manuscript that is supposed to be funny and asks, “Why do you do that?” I answer, “Because it makes me happy”—and think of my mother blaming it all on leprechauns.
We were utterly Italian in genes and ways, but my mother had a St. Patrick’s Day joke and a St. Patrick’s day saying—“Everybody’s Irish on St. Patty’s Day”—that she said with a St. Patrick’s Day sparkle in her eye.
One year, Mom suggested we ask the leprechauns to make Green Eggs and Ham instead of pancakes for breakfast on St. Patrick’s Day, but even our dog Dutch, a German Shepherd, objected to that.
After all, there’s a fine green line between funny and going too far.