The Brian Loo Cookbook...Brian Loo pancakes
by Kurt True

Brian Loo blueberry goop
Brian Loo appropriate blueberry goop.

The first thing you need to understand about blueberry pancakes is that blueberry pancakes are not what happens when you mix blueberries into your pancake batter. That isn't blueberry pancakes. Blueberry pancakes are what happens when you make goop out of blueberries, and then you ladle the goop on top of your pancakes.

I know all about blueberry pancakes, because I've been to Maine. And not only have I been to Maine, but I have researched it. Extensively.

See, in the Fourth Grade, everybody in my class had to pick a state to write about. One of the United States, I mean. Our teacher, Mrs. Lewis, went through the class roster, and told each kid to pick a state, and by the time she got to my name, all the big name states had been taken.

That's how things worked back in those days. Kids at the top of the alphabet got their first pick of any research topic, and kids at the tail end got stuck with whatever was left. We had to pick an explorer to write about. I got Vasco de Gama. We had to pick a president to write about. I got Franklin Pierce.

Or I would have. Somehow I lucked out and got Theodore Roosevelt. The kid who originally picked Theodore Roosevelt must have come down with the chicken pox or something.

Anyway, by the time Mrs. Lewis got to my name and told me to pick a state to write about, every state that had ever appeared in a John Wayne movie or on an episode of "The Untouchables" had been claimed, even Oklahoma and Missourri.

So Mrs. Lewis said to me "Well, nobody's taken Maine yet. You can have Maine."

I'll be honest with you, I was disappointed. I'd figured I could maybe at least pull off Wyoming.

I'd barely heard of Maine. There weren't any movies about Maine. Maine was never on any TV show that I ever saw, not even "Love, American Style."

But I went to the library and looked up Maine in the Encyclopedia Britannica, and I found out that there was plenty to like about our nation's Pine Tree State, and plenty of excitement to be had there. I found out that Maine had vast forests full of moose and other large, dangerous mammals. I found out you could go ice fishing and snowshoeing in Maine. And shoot rapids and spelunk. I learned that Maine had been, in centuries past, an important center for whaling.

So just because John Wayne never laughed in the face of death in Maine, that doesn't mean plenty of other people didn't.

Brian Loo pancakes with goop
Brian Loo pancakes heaped with blueberry goop.

So I developed what would prove to be an abiding affection for Maine and her death-defying people, and I always felt in my heart that Maine was the sort of place that, if you went there and asked for blueberry pancakes, they'd bring you a stack of pancakes with blueberry goop on top of them.

And who knows blueberries better than Maine, right? It's one of their major commercial crops. That and potatoes.

Which reminds me, if you ever boil potatoes, for mashed potatoes or homefries or what have you, save the potato water. Just let it cool off and save it in a plastic container in the fridge. It's the best thing for thickening Brian Loo blueberry goop.

Now the goop itself is the easiest part of the recipe. You just put about a quart of blueberries, either fresh or frozen, in a stock pot with maybe a quarter cup of water and cook them down on low heat. The water is just in there to keep the blueberries from scorching. They get really soupy as you cook them down, so you don't have to add water. But if you have potato water, throw in about a half cup of that once your blueberries have cooked down for fifteen minutes or so. Then cook them for another ten minutes or so.

When the blueberries are all done cooking, stir some sugar in there. Maybe a quarter cup. Depends on how sweet you like your goop. You can also use honey as a sweetener, provided you have pristine honey. By "pristine" I mean honey that hasn't been opened yet. You don't want to take the risk that somebody's cross contaminated your honey with peanut butter.

Brian Loo pancake batter
Brian Loo pancake batter

To make the pancakes, you mix together a cup and a half of sifted all purpose flour (or pastry flour, if you're feeling fancy) and a teaspoon of salt, about a quarter of a shotglass of baking powder and about a half a shotglass of powdered cinnamon. Or a whole shotglass. Depends on how much you like cinnamon.

Put a cup of Brian Loo applesauce in a separate bowl. If you're going for a thinner pancake, you can mix a couple of jiggers of milk into your applesauce. In any event, you need two bowls, because you want to fold your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients. So now fold your flour-baking-powder-salt-cinnamon mixture into your applesauce bowl and give it a good stir.

Brian Loo pancakes
Brian Loo pancakes having been flipped.

Then ladle out your Brian Loo pancake batter into a hot skillet (not blazing hot, about medium heat) that you've greased with something that Brian isn't allergic to, corn oil, safflower oil, canola oil, butter. When the edges of the pancakes start browning, you know it's time to flip them.

Then, when you're ready to serve your blueberry pancakes, you put the blueberry goop on top of them.

And that's how you make Brian Loo blueberry pancakes. Well, that's how you make Brian Loo blueberry pancakes, if you want to make real blueberry pancakes, the way you make them in Maine.

And I know how they make blueberry pancakes in Maine, because my little sister used to live in Limestone, Maine, and one time she took me to the Governor's Restaurant in Presque Isle, and I ordered Maine Blueberry Pancakes, and the waitress brought me a stack of pancakes buried under a glistening cascade of purple goop.

So maybe in Kansas or Florida, you can get away with mixing blueberries into your pancake batter, but that's not how you make blueberry pancakes in Maine. In Maine, you cover your pancakes with goop.

Furthermore, I feel I can assert with some confidence that that is how you would have made blueberry pancakes for Theodore Roosevelt.

Kurt True
22 August 2016

kurttrue at kurttrue dot com

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