This weekend I took part in what is apparently one of the most typical of all Dutch traditions: I went to Ikea on a Saturday afternoon. Apparently entire comedy sets have been written about this phenomenon – I’m almost embarrassed that I only just found out about it.
My housemate announced just over a week ago that she’s moving out this Thursday, and she’s taking everything in the kitchen with her. As an avid cook (and eater), this news initially sent me into a bit of a panic, but once that had subsided, there was only one thing for it … I had to book the eternally patient and heroic Pieter for a day of fun (!!!!) at Ikea!
The first stage was a romantic stroll through the showroom … Just us and several hundred strangers, elbowing each other out of the way, trying not to collide with running children, commenting on the tile in the display kitchens and seriously contemplating recreating an entirely pink demo they had for little girls’ rooms. (Maybe that was just me.) When we’d made our way through the entire upper level, it was time for an Ikea tradition: bottomless ‘lingonberry’ soda (or ‘lingon’ as we affectionately call it) and coffee, with a side of pie. Heaven in a crowded cafeteria. We’ve been doing this since I first arrived in Holland and dragged Pieter around the linens section for well over an hour, agonizing over which bedspread to choose and later, whether or not to buy plants.
This trip we tried the Swedish apple pie and the butterscotch tart. It may not be the most photogenic of pies, but the latter was a clear winner in our books! And, as usual, the lingon did not disappoint.
A couple of hours, a bus, a train and a windy walk later, everything was safely home and we were triumphant. We may or may not have baked not one but two celebratory cheeses in said triumph, but that’s a whole other story. This post is called ‘Banana walnut pancakes’, after all, so I’ll skip ahead to Sunday.
I’ll just preface this by saying that I recently found out about a store right in the centre of Leiden that sells … maple syrup! So not only did we have the perfect occasion – successfully making our way out of Ikea on a Saturday not only alive but well – but we also happened to have the key to the whole operation (the maple syrup, obviously). BUT because of her move, my housemate had already cleared out most of the kitchen, and what we didn’t have was a plate big enough to keep our pile of pancakes warm in the oven. (I did in fact forget to get one of those in my excited Ikea frenzy.) Finally, in true Canadian fashion, it was a multicultural effort: we popped them into my housemate’s abandoned tagine.
And they were, in one word, magnificent. Thick, fluffy, and smothered in butter and syrup.
Best enjoyed on a lazy Sunday morning with hot mugs of coffee, basking in the glory of the previous day’s heroic accomplishments.
(To make these bad boys, all you need to do is add 1-2 thinly sliced bananas and a handful or two of chopped walnuts to your standard American/Canadian pancake batter – enough for 2-3 servings, so the equivalent of 1 cup of flour, 1 egg, and you know the rest! Also, make sure someone’s there to share the responsibility of eating them or you will have a happy heart and a decidedly unhappy stomach.)