Nothing in the world can quite compare to Saturday morning. The little burst of soft joy when I wake up, coddled in my blankets with sunlight streaming through the window, and know that no school lies ahead. The rush downstairs, careful not to wake anyone, to catch the first of the long line of cartoons I'd scheduled out for myself. The blast of color and sound streaming from the glowing TV screen, taking me elsewhere, to fantastic realms of heroes and robots and monsters and detectives. The hearth-thumping excitement lasts until late morning, when my parents come downstairs. Then comes the best part.

You see, Saturday is Pancake Day.

"Come help," Dad says, and cartoons are abandoned in favor of more gustatory pursuits. First the pancake mix, soft and powdery and smelling of flour. I take a fork and crush the clumps with soft poufs, mashing the mix until its smooth. Then comes the careful crack and crinkle of the eggs, sliding wetly into the mix, gleaming. Then milk, puddling eagerly around the eggs. I take the whisk and mix it, adding a drop of precious, darkest brown vanilla. The eggs lose their form and beauty, turning from glistening, perfect rounds to yellow mush. I almost feel bad for breaking them, but duty calls.

When I am done, if I did it right, I get a smooth beige batter, thick as molasses and without lumps. I give it to Dad, who ladles it into the frying pan, hissing and spitting hot oil, where it flattens out and begins to sizzle temptingly.

I open the fridge, hinges groaning, and get out the syrup, real maple and the color of mahogany, and pour it into the little white ceramic pitcher. It's cold, so flows slowly, and I get some on my fingers. I don't complain.

It seems to take forever for the pancakes to be done, but it can't be more than five minutes. I take four on my plate, piping hot and smelling like doughy heaven, and pour syrup on the side. They are soft and moist, with a crispy-fried brown rim, and go down fast. I eat them greedily, desperately, with my hands, syrup everywhere, like I've never had them before.