Kids and compassion in the kitchen

Some of my favorite childhood memories involve cooking with my grandparents and eating pancakes. How about yours?

My childhood was far from picture perfect, but I do have some very clear and happy memories, and a lot of them involve my grandparents, cooking, and pancakes.

In many ways I find, that cooking with kids, and cooking for kids, is an act of compassion.

I remember feeling challenged and valued at the same time, when I was allowed in the kitchen, and allowed to take part in the cooking.

Alone in the kitchen

I was very focused – especially when knifes where involved – and very eager to learn. And most important I think, I experienced cooking as something we did together! We cooked with each other, and for each other.

And the pancakes….

I remember my sister and I sitting in the living room, reading, drawing or maybe watching TV (one channel black and white) – and then suddenly we would smell the pancakes. “Mom is baking pancakes!”

The surprise because she had said noting about it, the joy because we loved pancakes – but primarily the feeling of love and compassion.

Don´t get me wrong, I am in no way saying, that cooking is the primary way of showing kids love and compassion – you can do that in so many ways – but for me, those are the memories that stick. And probably why I love eating and baking pancakes so much.

Pancaking around Amsterdam – The Aftermath

A great taste of pancakes, a new steel pan, syrup and sugar was what I took back home from Amsterdam.

I had a great weekend, and truly enjoyed the city as well as the pancakes and the shopping.

Amsterdam is an amazing city, and Sunday morning the sun was shining, and I had a chance to just walk the streets by the canals and take it all in. If you have never been – I suggest you put this city in your list!

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I now have a new pan, and the sugar and syrup I need for the next Afternoon Pancake event. The pan is stainless steel, and I am excited to try it out. Traditionally the Dutch use a cast iron pan, but this pan is a bit lighter, and the woman in the shop promised me, that it would be at least as good as the cast iron one. I asked her, what she would recommend, and this is what she suggested.

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Back home I found a very old dutch cookbook Wannée Kookboek from the Amsterdam Housekeeping School to give inspiration to a good Dutch Pancake recipe. I think that it belonged to my Dutch grandfather, and it looks as if it has been used quite a lot. I take that as a good sign!

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I will make sure you get the new recipe in time to join me on April 12.

Pancaking around Amsterdam #2

Would you wait in line outside for the best pancakes in Amsterdam?

I did! And it was absolutely worth the wait.

Before leaving for Amsterdam I did a little research on the Internet to find out, where to go for the good pancakes in Amsterdam.

One place in particular showed up in my search The Pancake Bakery.

Not only does it have a Wall of Fame with visitors like Alicia Keys, Paris Hilton and Miley Cyrus, they also have almost 2.000 likes on their Facebook page, and more than 10.000 visitors. AND they have the domain www.pancake.nl

Reservations at this place is only possible for parties of 6 or more people – so me, myself and I just had to show up, and wait in line, as it turned out.

The weather in Amsterdam was lovely today – sun was shining, no wind and about 8 degrees Celsius. So waiting in line was fine, and I had good company with two groups of Americans who had never had Dutch pancakes before.

I could write a at least a post or two in how I find waiting in line to be kind of a blessing. I will one day, but for now just trust, that it was a pleasure.

The Pancake Bakery is a great place, and the service was a pleasure. Most impressive was the cook sweating in the kitchen swinging the heavy cast iron pans around and flipping the pancakes.

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Almost a type of Pancake baking CrossFit exercise!

Since I had pancakes with apple and cinnamon yesterday (#1) I decided to go for the Plain pancake today.

Just plain and simple.

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Add a little of the thick syrup.

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And some powdered sugar.

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And what a treat it was!

Tomorrow I promise to do a follow up post about Pancaking around Amsterdam, and also share with you what type of pan I decided to bring back home for the next Afternoon Pancake event on April 12.

Pancaking around Amsterdam #1

Arriving here quite hungry, Pancaking around the city was not the worst thing I could do.

And Pancaking that´s the right word to use, wouldn´t you say?

I think it describes what I am doing pretty well – but when I Googled the word I found out, that it is Urban slang for when a performer starts out well, but then ends his show really bad..

Hmm… Urban slang or not, I think I will continue to use the word in this other (and more positive) context.

So I took a taxi from the airport, and usually when I travel, I enjoy talking to taxi drivers. They know the city, and often have interesting stories to tell.

I asked him, if he could recommend a good place to eat pancakes in Amsterdam, and his first quick reply was; Pancakes are so easy to make yourself. You just need eggs, flour, milk and some salt. I asked if he sometimes put beer in the batter, and that made him look at me really funny and say; You put BEER in YOUR batter?

It was a nice taxi ride though, and he ended up looking in his Amsterdam Bible and recommend, that I tried pancakes at De Carrousel Pannenkoeken.

I often ask that question; What would YOU recommend – in restaurants, stores, taxis and in general when I talk to people. I find, that we all like to share, and I have seldom been disappointed, when I followed someone´s recommendation.

De Carrousel it was, and I had a great pancake with apple and cinnamon.

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Today I will continue pancaking around Amsterdam, eating more pancakes and also finding a good pan and some syrup (stroop) to bring back home.

I will keep you posted.

Recipe for Happiness?

Today is the International Day of Happiness, so the topic for my post seems given.

Since one of the categories here on my blog is Recipes, it made me think if there could be a recipe for Happiness?

If someone asked me, what would my recipe be then?

The first thing that sprung to mind was: Don´t take anything personally!

I got this Sentence of wisdom from Don Miguel Ruiz and his Four Agreements;

1. Be Impeccable with your Word

Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

Out of these four (wise) agreements, I find the second one to be the most important in regards to happiness – but they are all important, and if you keep them in mind, they will truly make a difference in your life.

So there! Put on the spot, this would be my recipe for happiness.

Dutch genes and passion for Pancakes

I know I know, it should have been a picture of me eating pancakes! And I am sure that many such pictures exist, considering the amount of pancakes I ate as a child – I just haven´t found them yet.

But the fact is that I am part Dutch – my father is Dutch – and that might explain some of my passion for pancakes.

I grew up I Denmark, but we traveled a lot to the Netherlands when I was a child, and we never visited without eating pancakes (pannenkoeken) at least ones.

It was usually my grandfather baking them, and he would spend hours in the kitchen. All us kids would then consume an unrealistic amount of pancakes in a very short time – it never really seemed fair. But I sensed that he loved it, and it sure did bring a very big smile to all our faces.

Back then we had the hot meal in the middle of the day, and the pancakes where considered the main course. We always had soup first, and that would usually make us eat less of the main course, but never when pancakes where on the menu.

Dutch Pancakes are quite large, they are thicker than Danish pancakes, and you don´t roll them, but just get one pancake that fills the whole plate. They look like this.

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We always had them with powdered sugar and a thick syrup (stroop), but they come in many variations with baked in apples, ham, cheese, banana etc.

I can reveal, that the theme of my next Afternoon Pancake event (April 12 th.) will be Dutch Pancakes – and I will visit Amsterdam this weekend to find inspiration for a good recipe, and to buy some of that special thick syrup that is a must have, when I serve them.

I will make sure to keep you posted on the trip and my findings!

And then the dog said…

…. It is always now!

Well, he didn´t really say that, but close enough.

The story about Katrine is a hard one to follow. So I thought I would mention my daily inspiration to live in the moment, and to remember that; It IS always now!

Victor is my dog. And he is that inspiration. Just look at him.

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Animals are a great reminder of living in the moment and being present. The present moment is where they live their entire lives. They don´t get caught up in thoughts about the past, or thoughts imagining the future – like most of us humans do.

It has been about 12 years since I first realized, that “now” is all there is, all there ever has been, and all there ever will be. It is always now.

I realized this, reading the book “The power of now” written by Eckhart Tolle. A book that I can highly recommend if you need to really understand this very important fact of life.

So what does Eckhart Tolle has to do with my dog?

Nothing really, but he did write the words to this great cartoon about the spiritual teachings from our cats and dogs.

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I have taken the liberty to show you just this one of the cartoons – it is my favorite;

The now

Just remember; it is the NOW now!

Let me tell you about Katrine

Katrine is really the essence of Awareness Compassion Pancakes.

I know a lot of wonderful people, and Katrine stands out as one of the most aware, compassionate and pancake loving of them all.

I met Katrine many years ago, she was a student of mine, and she worked at my company for a couple of years.

Even at a very young age, she amazed me with her level of awareness and always positive attitude. She has her own strong believes – and at the same time she is incredibly unprejudiced. Something that is rarely seen.

With Katrine “what you see is what you get” – and WOW you get a lot.

Katrine is a master of self-compassion and compassion for others, and I think, that her ability for both is what makes her a great therapist. Katrine runs her own business and offers reflexology, massage and acupuncture as some of her services.

No no – I am not forgetting the pancakes!

At my Afternoon Pancakes #1 Katrine was the one who ate the most – and with the biggest smile!

When she came home that night, her boyfriend was a little jealous of all the pancakes she had had, so what did she do? Well, she baked the family pancakes of course!

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Just the other day she posted this picture on my Facebook page. Do you see the heart?

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I am grateful to know Katrine. I don´t see her as much as I would like, but whenever I think of her it brings a smile to my face.

You can learn more about Katrine HERE

A bit of Awareness

With the Pancakes really taking of on this blog, I would like to share a bit of awareness. Well at least some of my thoughts on the subject.

For many years I have read books, studied, taught and been curious on what makes us happy and which factors influence our wellbeing.

I have read books on philosophy, psychology, spirituality, health, business management, self-help etc. I have talked to a lot of people and the knowledge I have gained, combined with my own experience, and the experiences of others, has resulted in 4 “awareness-tags” that I always keep close to mind;

  1. Awareness is the key
  2. It is always now
  3. This to shall pass
  4. All is well

I will make sure to go into depth with all of them in the time to come, and explain why they have become the reminders that keep me sane and being well.

When it comes to Awareness, one author/teacher has really stood out and that is Anthony De Mello. One of his books Awareness is my favorite on the subject, and the book I keep coming back to, when I need to set my head straight – so to speak.

“Wisdom tends to grow in proportion to one’s awareness of one’s ignorance.” – Anthony De Mello

De Mello focus a lot on awareness, but also on love. I will love to share more of that in future posts as well.

For now I will leave you with this:

“If what you seek is Truth, there is one thing you must have above all else.” “I know. An overwhelming passion for it.” “No. An unremitting readiness to admit you may be wrong.”
– Anthony De Mello