“Ha! Are those your prom shoes?!” My best friend was referring to an old pair of gold Chuck Taylor sneakers on the shoe mat by the front door. I had just dug them out from storage in the sincere hope that they were cool again and I could pull them off this season without buying another pair. Yes, I am officially ‘owned something long enough that it went out of style and came back again’ years old.
“Wow,” she continued, “those are 10 years old!” As soon as the words had materialized, we were both struck with the haunting reality that it had indeed been 10 years since we started our senior year of high school together. And almost 10 years ago, having no dates and our very own (ahem) unique sense of style, we attended prom together. I, in a tea-length (is that cool again?) lacy gold dress with matching gold sneakers and Ashton in her mother’s wedding gown.
A lot has happened to us in these last 10 years. We made it through the ups and downs of our college years together, shared a duplex across town, and worked at the same print shop. Then she went off on an adventure halfway across the world to teach English in China while I stayed here, got married and started my career. Now she’s back, met a great guy, and started working at her family business. Despite the different paths our lives took for awhile, now that she’s back it feels like we never broke stride.
Ashton is my ‘yes’ friend. When I have a crazy idea, I know I can come to her and get a ‘yes.’ And visa versa. So when I had an urge to go camping and I knew my other friends would say ‘no’ or ‘you mean get a hotel?’ Ashton would be the one to say ‘yes!’ And when she asked if we should do all-out rustic style camping, I was in.
We wound our way up the Leelanau Peninsula late on Friday, getting to our campsite just as it was starting to get dark. We pitched our tent right on the shores of Lake Michigan and were lulled to sleep by the lapping waves. It wasn’t until the next morning we got to enjoy the most excellent beauty of our campground. The sun was just coming up when we unzipped our tent and got hit with crisp, cool autumn air. Bold, orange sunlight spilled across the beach and we immediately got to work fixing breakfast.
Ashton’s late Grandpa taught her how to make these pancakes. His West Virginia roots shine through this recipe featuring a hefty dose of cornmeal to create a perfect texture. We soaked our pancakes with maple syrup and crunched on perfectly cooked bacon in betweens bites of fluffy pancake. The campfire smoke that infused each forkful made everything taste just a little better.
We spent the rest of the weekend hiking through the scenery only a Michigan fall can provide, sipping cold ones at the breweries that litter this corner of the world, and enjoying s’mores with fellow campers. Besides being a beautiful autumn weekend, our camping trip was the validation I needed to know that I’m not quite too old for this stuff.
Of course you don’t need a campfire to make these pancakes. But, oh, if you get the chance, please get out there. Do something that puts you on the outskirts of your comfort zone. Set up a tent in the most rustic campground you can find, build a fire first thing in the morning, and make pancakes and bacon while trying to stay warm in the crisp, damp air.
When was the last time you said yes and did something new? Tell me about it in the comments below and try these pancakes for the best breakfast you’ll have.
Southern Style Buttermilk Pancakes
- 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 Cup Yellow Cornmeal
- 2 Tbsp Sugar
- 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
- 1/2 Tsp Salt
- 1 1/2 Cups Buttermilk
- 1 Large Egg
- 1 Large Egg White
- 3 Tbsp Vegetable + Additional Oil for the Pan
- Maple Syrup
Heat a large skillet over medium heat (or fire). Mix the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk the buttermilk, egg, egg white, and vegetable oil. Lightly oil the pan and pour the desired amount of batter in the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the edges of the pancake start to firm up and lose their glossiness. Flip and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. Serve warm with excessive maple syrup and enjoy!