Local food enthusiast Donnie Ray shares a simple recipe for great pancakes or waffles.

About every small town cafe you go into in the morning, there will be a large table where the local men will gather for their morning coffee and breakfast and to catch up on the latest local gossip. My whole adult life I have been part of many of these tables. Years ago, when I was working the evening shift at BF Goodrich, I was dabbling in and owned a few race horses. I would get up early in the morning and go feed the horses that were stalled at the Miami Fairgrounds and then head to the coffee table. This was my first taste of going for coffee, and instead of waiting around the Barns for the horses to finish eating, I would head to the old Thunderbird restaurant on Steve Owens Blvd. and have coffee with the other Horsemen and whoever else came in and joined us at the table. It kind of saddens me looking back though, as many of those people are now deceased, but we had a lot of good times and conversations at that table for many years.

In the years since that time, the gathering places and people who come together have changed many times, going to places like the Townsman, as well as other restaurants in town whose names have changed so many times, I can’t even remember of all of them. I would always make it a point to stop somewhere early in the morning on work days over the years as well, places like McDonalds, Braums, and even for a while at Buffalo Ranch when it first re-opened. Starting the day with a good breakfast and conversation, has been a daily highlight to me, for many years.

Anytime I am in another town, I look for a local cafe to go into and have coffee and breakfast, and it’s the same anywhere you go, there will be a table designated to the local gentleman to gather for morning coffee. A friend of mine, now deceased, lived in Buda, Texas, for a while and became a regular at the coffee table at a local place there called Helen’s. When he moved back to Miami, he used to brag about the breakfast tacos and homemade salsa served there. As chance would have it, I went to work for a company whose corporate headquarters was in Kyle, Texas, about 5 miles from Buda. When I would be summoned to have to go to Kyle on business, I would stay in Buda, and make it point to go have my coffee and breakfast at Helen’s. He was right, the breakfast tacos were great! I worked in Delaware County for about 12 years and became familiar with a few of the coffee shops in that area over the years too. Yeah, I have to admit, I know where most good breakfasts are served in this area with Clanton’s cafe in Vinita and Nu-Taste in Grove being a couple of my favorites.

One of my favorite breakfast items away from home is pancakes or waffles. The reason for that is because I never could make what I considered great pancakes. One of my favorites is the blueberry pancakes served at the Pit Stop in Grove, but my favorite pancakes are the ones my girlfriend Shelli makes for me. To me, they are perfect. I think sometimes we get caught up in trying to take a simple recipe to the next level and forget, that sometimes, “keeping it simple” is the solution. Her pancakes are a very simple recipe, but it does require one ingredient that is a MUST, according to her for Great pancakes, and that is W-R Self-Rising flour. In my continued failure to make pancakes as good as she does, I was finally convinced that I had to use the W-R Flour to make good pancakes and also using that same recipe for great waffles.

Pancakes or Waffles

Ingredients

2 cups flour (W-R self-rising flour) 3 Tbsps. sugar 2 eggs 1.5 to 2 cups milk ¼ cup vegetable oil

Directions

Stir together flour and sugar.

Beat eggs slightly, stir in milk, then vegetable oil.

Add liquids to flour and beat until smooth (use more milk for slightly thinner pancakes).

Spray griddle lightly will vegetable spray, pour on batter, and bake on the hot griddle.