How to Share Stories over Brunch with Loved Ones, Even while Apart

May is Older Americans Month and in light of our popular publication, Seasoned: The Inspired Cooking Magazine for Adults, we’re sharing some ways you can celebrate. We understand that under current circumstances celebrating might look different from past years and that connecting with those we love is different as well. That’s why we’re joining the Administration for Community Living (ACL) in encouraging you, our readers, to use modern technology to, “Make Your Mark” by taking care of your health and by telling your story in virtual capacities. 

Learn how to make a delicious brunch for one or two using our Seasoned recipe below. Then, discover how you can “share” that brunch with loved ones, even if they’re not living with you and how you can tell your story, making your mark on younger generations.

Brunch is a great meal to share with family and friends. But what if you can’t physically be with loved ones? Arrange for you and your loved one to make the same recipe on the same day around the same time. You can do a video call as you both cook in your separate kitchens and/or you can video call them as you each eat your individual meals. Follow this pantry-friendly recipe below, then read ahead to get more ideas for connecting virtually with loved ones.

Ricotta Pancakes

Hands-On Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 4 servings (8 four-inch pancakes)

Ingredients

4 large eggs
1 cup ricotta cheese*
½ cup whole-wheat flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or unsalted butter
Maple syrup or jam, for serving
Plain Greek yogurt, for serving

*No ricotta? That’s okay. Use cottage cheese instead.

Instructions

  1. Crack the eggs into a large bowl and use a fork or whisk to beat them until they are pale yellow. Add the ricotta cheese, flour, salt, and vanilla extract and mix well.
  2. Put a large skillet on the stove and turn the heat to medium. When the skillet is hot, carefully add the oil or butter.
  3. Using a ¼-cup measure for each pancake, drop the batter into the skillet, spacing the pancakes so that they don’t run together. Cook until there are many little bubbles on each pancake’s surface, about 2 minutes.
  4. Using a heatproof spatula, flip the pancakes over and cook until golden, about 2 minutes, then transfer to a serving plate. Repeat until all the batter is used, to make about eight 4-inch pancakes
  5. Serve right away with jam or maple syrup and yogurt.

Try This

You can add a variety of ingredients to this batter. Some of our favorites are:

  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened dried coconut, wheat germ, or flaxseed
  • ¼ cup chopped nuts of any kind
  • ½ cup blueberries, raspberries, or sliced banana or strawberries
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest

If It’s Just You

If you’re not having guests, make and cook the whole recipe anyway. After you’ve eaten, let the remaining pancakes cool to room temperature, then stack them in a zipper-lock freezer bag with wax paper between each one and freeze for up to 2 months. Reheat in a toaster or microwave them for about 1 minute.

After you’ve made your pancakes, give a friend or family member a call if you haven’t already. If you’re able to do a video call, show each other your culinary creations. Then, while you eat, share a story or two! We’re giving you fun food question prompts below. Use any of them or come up with your own. 

(To make a video call, check out any of these platforms: Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and Zoom.)

Just as the ACL says, “stories build community and connect us even when we can’t be physically together.” They help people you love get to know you better and feel closer to you. And, “looking back at how we got through tough times can help us manage this challenging time.”

Story Prompts

  • Who taught you how to cook or how did you learn to cook?
  • What is the first thing you ever cooked?
  • Do you have a favorite thing to cook or a signature dish?
  • What is your secret ingredient?
  • Have you ever messed up a recipe? What was it and what happened?
  • What is an unusual food pairing that you love?
  • What is your favorite food?
  • What is something your mom/dad/grandma/etc. cooked/served when you were growing up that you can still smell or taste?
  • What is something you ate regularly as a family growing up?
  • What is a food smell that sparks a memory?
  • What is a recipe from your childhood that you’ve been trying to recreate?
  • What is your favorite food memory associated with a holiday?
  • What is your first memory of you cooking?
  • What are some of your most memorable cooking moments? (Could be of a special time you cooked with a family member or a celebrity. Maybe it’s a time you cooked for a certain party or occasion.)
  • Is there any food you grew up eating that you now realize was specific to your culture or geographic location?

We hope you try out and enjoy sharing brunch and stories with a loved one this month. And remember, if current circumstances bid you to celebrate virtually, we’re hopeful that it won’t be too long until you’ll be able to come together with loved ones in person. 

Looking for more ideas? 

Read through similar activities and questions the ACL gives on their website. Also be sure to sign up for our free biweekly Seasoned Newsletter that teaches older adults how to make easy, healthful recipes using ingredients already in the pantry. Check out past newsletters here.