By Katrina Tulloch
The name Katrina has been overused (and definitely retired) since the 2005 hurricane, but it was always unusual enough that I could never find those personalized keychains as a child. I never knew any other Katrinas, so in first grade, I was overjoyed to discover the beautiful Katrina van Tassel when I rented Disney’s 1949 version of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” from the corner Blockbuster (RIP). She was ALSO from upstate New York and ALSO an only child AND she had a theme song! From then on, I told everyone I was named after the blonde and buxom lass, deliberately rejecting my actual namesake: German ice skater Katarina Witt. (Really, mom? Really?)
So began my lifelong endearment to Washington Irving and Sleepy Hollow in all its literary and cinematic forms (even Tim Burton’s). It was a favorite story of mine at Halloween, especially because my friends’ mothers deemed the Disney version too scary.
Before the headless horseman came along, Ichabod Crane had two things on his mind – Katrina van Tassel and his next meal. He eats an entire pie just five minutes into the Disney movie. During one dance with Katrina, he polishes off a huge slice of cake between a sashay and pirouette. It’s one of his many lovable quirks. In one of Irving’s great descriptions of Ichabod, we’re introduced to the character’s dreamy fondness for pastry, despite being skinny as a stork:
“Farther on he beheld great fields of Indian corn… holding out the promise of cakes and hasty pudding; and the yellow pumpkins lying beneath them, turning up their fair round bellies to the sun, and giving ample prospects of the most luxurious of pies; and anon he passed the fragrant buckwheat fields, breathing the odor of the bee-hive, and as he beheld them, soft anticipations stole over his mind of dainty flapjacks, well buttered, and garnished with honey or treacle, by the delicate little dimpled hand of Katrina Van Tassel.”
Wordiness aside, Iring spells out a simple recipe for Ichabod’s daydream cravings right in the text: “buckwheat fields, soft dainty flapjacks, well buttered, garnished with honey or treacle.” Done and done. Sleepy Hollow was written long before the mass commercialization of Bisquick and Aunt Jemima, so I looked for a buckwheat mix native to upstate New York…which is pretty easy to find when you live here.
Here’s what I used to make Ichabod’s dream flapjacks: New Hope Mills old-fashioned buckwheat pancake mix (made in Auburn, N.Y. Bingo!), pure bee honey (not clover), butter and water. Easiest ingredients ever.
Mix the water and mix together, pop a scoop on a griddle and flip over when bubbles form on the top. Ichabod loves his flapjacks well buttered so don’t skimp on the spread. Drizzle honey (or treacle, I guess, if you have it) on top and and enjoy hot! The New Hope Mills mix makes seriously fluffy pancakes, plus their website says they’ve been around since 1823 (“Sleepy Hollow” was published in 1820). And New Hope Mills serving makes 16 pancakes, so invite some friends over for brunch. Your buckwheat pancakes will be so good that heads will roll.