No rabbit for Christmas

Christmas dinner?
Food habits have changed through the years. Just like many habits, norms, values and rights. What once was common, normal, the right thing to do disappeared or is wrong. At least it is if it comes to the common people aka mass.
I don’t care about ‘woke’. Things are like they are and woke has nothing to do with it. A lack of education but above all knowing your history or the history of the country you live in, the habits you adapted has.

The grandfather of a schoolmate -primary school- did breed them. He had a shed filled with rabbits. That shed wasn’t much different from the huge shed my grandfather had. His shed was filled with rows of cages. Cages with chinchillas.
Those rabbits were not meant to keep for pets. They were food. Food for celebration days like Christmas. Even the poorer could have a Christmas dinner if they kept a rabbit alive till Christmas.

It’s hard to believe but today rabbit is food for the rich just like a good steak or meat in general. The habit of keeping your own future meat -chickens, rabbits, geese- in your garden or shed is no longer done. Neighbours will complain about the noise, smell and call you an animal molester.
At home, we never had rabbits for dinner. Christmas dinner was at my grandparents’ house and we had goose. One of grandpa’s geese and it was big enough for the entire family of nine people and it was tasty. As a child, I knew a goose is an animal. I knew what it looked like alive, it was killed and the piece of meat wasn’t produced in a factory (today children might say with a 3D printer). Did the food on my plate make me feel miserable? The answer is no. The goose had a great free life in an orchard that was at least six if not eight times bigger than my grandparents’ garden.

The first and only time I had a rabbit for a meal was at a friend’s home. I was surprised they served it. It was about 20-25 years ago and I said to my daughter: Look it is Flappie.
She shrugged and said: I don’t care it tastes good. I always admired my child for that. No matter what people say if it tastes good is it good and she doesn’t lose her appetite because of what others say, emotions or the animal/ingredients are different from what the norm is. Indeed she knows who Flappie is but Flappie’s abruptly unexpected death was his faith. 

The song about Flappie is my favourite Christmas song (I added the original Dutch version underneath). I still shed a tear if I hear it. I see the upset child, hear the tears in its voice and understand the anger. The anger of not respecting that Flappie belonged to the kid. The lies and stupid joke the father made. I grin if I listen how the story ends. I love the dark humour. Believe I know how it feels if you see your father with different eyes and understand why that evil man’ ended up in the shed. Till today Flappie is not forgotten. After all these years Youp van het Hek still makes his point. Who knows he even managed we Dutch people gave up on eating rabbits.

I remember my first meatless Christmas very well.
A magazine of a supermarket provided in it. An omelette with spinach. It was quite disappointing, tasteless. A pathetic meal which wasn’t even cheap because eggs and spinach are expensive especially in December. I don’t believe I’ve had great Christmas meals since then.
It was an economic crisis again. From one year to the next restaurants decided to stay closed during Christmas while only a few years back reservations had to be made eight till six months earlier. Today it’s the lockdown why restaurants are closed if they aren’t bankrupt already.

While others cooked at home I lost my appetite. To be honest I don’t see any point in spending a lot of money to cook for people who don’t like to travel if the weather is bad. I’ve always been the cook, the one with the stress, expenses and dirty dishes and if it comes to my children. Little children don’t care if they eat rabbit, hamburger, bread with chocolate sprinkles, chips or pancakes. What counts for them is we share quality time and they can do what they like.
So I gave up on the cooking ceremony, the new clothes, on inviting people and started our own Christmas ceremony. A tree with lights and red ribbons, pyjamas day, hot chocolate or anise milk, watching films together and sleeping longer. We eat if we feel to it. It’s fine if the meal is skipped or we have some snacks or chocolate.

What did we have for a meal on the first Christmas day December 25, 2020?
Next to hot chocolate milk, tea and bread I fried chips. The only reason I did was that it wasn’t freezing outside -I fry outside- and I didn’t want the chips to get spoiled.

December 26th I baked pancakes for brunch (breakfast + lunch). Two pancakes for each. One with cheese (Gouda + Parmesan) the other with banana (one banana in slices per pancake).

In the Netherlands, pancakes are originally not eaten for breakfast. Pancakes are more like dinner. Our pancakes are thick and big. Usually, people eat only one. If you like to see what our pancakes look like you can visit one of the many ‘pannenkoeken restaurants’ in the country. At home, people bake them differently and not as big. I don’t have a pan big enough and if so no plates.

The most known pancake is made out of milk, egg, wheat flour, salt, and vanilla sugar. It’s eaten with sugar or ‘stroop’ (syrup of sugar). The next famous pancake is with bacon or apple. Today pancakes are eaten with nearly everything on them. Let’s say what we put on a slice of bread or pizza can be found on a pancake too. It all depends on the creativity of the cook and the taste of the customer.

I’m not too crazy about pancakes (raised my youngest with pancakes) and if I bake them I frequently use oatmeal flakes. With oatmeal, the pancake is thicker, taste different and it fills the stomach. In a way, the smell reminds me of porridge.

* 1 mug oatmeal flakes (no need to use oatmeal flour)
* water
* 2-3 eggs
* salt
* wheat flour
* butter or oil to bake

I don’t add oil to the dough and didn’t use vanilla sugar in my recipe because a sweet pancake with cheese smells and taste so good.

Baking trouble/your pancakes fall apart?
* If you use oatmeal you need something extra to make a good dough. Eggs are helpful and so is wheat flour.
* Too much egg makes a pancake taste like an omelette.
* You didn’t use enough flour.
* You turned the pancake too fast.
*  You use the wrong pan. Some pans make it hard to bake a decent pancake.
*  The fire is too low or too high.

Pancakes shouldn’t look dark brown or burned it’s unhealthy.

How to
* Oatmeal flakes in a bowl.
* Add water to it (let it soak become soft)
* Add salt and eggs.
* Add water stir, flour stir and so on till you have the amount of dough you need.
You can let the dough rest if you like. It can become thicker because of the oatmeal. You can add some extra water if it’s too thick.

Make sure your pan is hot before you start baking. It’s nonsense the first pancake is always bad. Once the pan is hot put some butter or oil in it and add the dough.
Be sure the dough in the pan is dry before you turn it.
Next, you can put cheese or banana on it.
I fold the pancake so the cheese can melt and the banana is warm faster.
If you like you can turn the folded pancake to its other side for a short time.

The pancake with banana is served with powder sugar. I used a coffee grinder for it (works with rice, oatmeal flakes, nuts too).

My children love these pancakes. It’s more like a dessert, a treat than an ordinary pancake. Thicker pancakes save me time plus the thin ones are always cold at the time I finished baking and we eat. Another plus is the cold bananas are eaten instead of being ignored and thrown away. I don’t like to spoil food. So Christmas was again without rabbit, goose, deer, turkey, chicken or steak but we had chocolate and enough to eat, time for each other and no piled up dirty dishes, stress or expenses I can’t afford. We ate what I had stored and in 2022 I’ll see what the prices of groceries look like.

#kittywu #christmas #rabbit #habit #recipe #oatmeal #pancakes