In 2006 I decided to do nothing but write – mainly in order to discover if I could handle it (I can; I still write for a minimum for twenty hours each week). For a period of three months, that’s all I did. In order to keep going as long as possible before going back to the world of paid employment, I was EXTREMELY careful with money. I worked out later that I’d spent an average of $5/week on food and even less on transport (usually I walked up to two hours in each direction).
(For those who are wondering, this is not a recommended career choice for writers. 95% of us keep our day jobs for life – and that’s just the ones who get published.)
Previous poverty experience had taught me that if I don’t get three meals a day I stop being able to function. So I ate pancakes – generally twice a day, and sometimes three times a day. I had a regular schedule of three actual proper meals each week, which I relied on for my nutrition (I’d spend dinner with my parents – who of course didn’t know how badly I was eating – W, and another friend). Towards the end I staggered when I walked, and was hovering on the edge of illness. But I could still type, so I didn’t care.
(As you can tell if you know anything at all about CJ, this was before we met.)
The pancake recipe I used (really crepes, since they’re so thin they’re see-through) was:
Batter: Mix 1 egg, 2 cups milk (mixed from powdered milk), 1 cup of plain flour.
Fry pancakes in margarine and eat with sugar and lemon juice.
The astonishing thing about this piece of personal history is that I still like pancakes (although they absolutely must be fried in real butter these days). So for our monthly date this month CJ and I went to The Pancake Parlour for breakfast (expert’s tip: If you eat out for breakfast somewhere with freshly-squeezed orange juice, DO NOT brush your teeth beforehand).
The Pancake Parlour in Canberra is a subterranean wonderland of leather-padded seats, wooden booths, and brass fittings. The franchise began in Melbourne, and is found in most large Australian cities.
CJ had a full country breakfast:
I had a “Red Dawn”, which consists of two cheese pancakes with rashers of bacon cooked into them, served with a giant scoop of butter (it looks like the sun at dawn, see?), and grilled tomatoes. (As you can see from photos taken this week, that beanie is staying firmly planted on my head until Spring.)
I didn’t finish the tomatoes (just empty vitamins). I did, however, steal some of CJ’s maple syrup – because although bacon and maple syrup is gross, when served with a pancake it’s sheer gastronomical genius.
Mmm. . . pancakes. . .
Why not make your own this weekend?