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Community Cookbook: A nod on Father’s Day

Mom’s Swedish pancakes were always a special treat Father’s Day treat for Dick Sellers’ family. These light pancakes can be treated like crepes by coating the inside with a little filling or dressed with flavorful toppings, such as fruit purées.  (Getty Images)
By Dick Sellers For The Spokesman-Review

Sunday is Father’s Day, that day of the year set aside to remind us that dads are something special.

Father’s Day is an excellent time to reflect on and celebrate all that our fathers contribute to our lives. It’s a good day to say hello to Dad and to say thank you.

Mom’s Swedish pancakes and strawberry shortcake were two of my dad’s favorite dishes. In their 56 years together, Mom had made these special treats for Dad and the family on many Father’s Days. Spamalot was initially included here for the comedic effect. However, a surprising number of people take Spam very seriously and even consider it a delicacy. I think Dad would have liked Spamalot.

Mom’s Swedish Pancakes

Mom’s Swedish pancakes were always a special treat for the family. Her pancakes are excellent, and I don’t make them nearly as often as I should. Though our family never did this, these light pancakes can be treated like crepes by coating the inside with a little filling, such as jelly or peanut butter, before folding them in the pan. They can also be dressed with flavorful toppings, such as fruit purées, rather than syrup.

Ingredients3 large whole eggs

3 cups milk

1½ cups flour

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted and cooled slightly

Vegetable or peanut oil, as needed


Beat the eggs in a medium bowl or measuring cup with a fork. Add the milk. Combine the flour, sugar and salt. Add to the eggs and milk. Add the melted butter or margarine to the batter and mix well.

Pour one-ninth of the batter onto a hot, lightly oiled griddle or into a lightly oiled 8-inch nonstick skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until the bottom side is golden, then carefully turn the pancake over and continue cooking until the other side is golden. Roll the pancake up in thirds with a spatula.

Repeat with the remaining ingredients, adding oil to the skillet as needed.

Yields: Nine (8-inch) pancakes

Mom’s Strawberry Shortcake

Mom’s strawberry shortcake is unique. The cake is covered with a thin blanket of whipped topping, then smothered in mashed strawberries suspended in a thick, sweet strawberry syrup. The cake becomes moist and super flavorful after resting long enough to absorb some of the syrup. It’s the best strawberry shortcake I’ve ever tasted; the proof is in the eating. This updated version enjoys the convenience of a store-bought cake and replaces Mom’s well-worn potato masher with several pulses in a blender.


1 unfrosted loaf cake (approximately 8-by-4-by-3 inches)

1 (16-ounce) package frozen whole or sliced strawberries, thawed

Sweetener, to taste (about 1½ tablespoons granulated sugar or equivalent)

1 (8-ounce) carton frozen whipped topping, thawed


Set aside two or three strawberries or several slices for use as garnish. Place the rest in a blender and pulse until all of the strawberries are finely chopped, about eight times total, stirring several times between pulses, pushing the strawberries down to the blades (there should be a lot of little chunks and plenty of thick juice). Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in sweetener to taste.

Place the cake on a medium serving platter. Level the top with a serrated knife, leaving the cake 2 to 2½ inches high. Slice the cake horizontally to make two even layers (dental floss works great). Carefully remove the top half.

Spread a thin layer of whipped topping over the top and sides of the lower cake layer. Spoon a liberal amount of the strawberry mixture over the layer. Place the remaining cake layer on top. Spread a thin layer of whipped topping over the top and sides of the upper layer. Spoon most or all of the remaining strawberry mixture over the cake.

Garnish with the remaining whole or sliced strawberries.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Serve with the remaining whipped topping, if preferred.

Notes: Homemade cake can be used. White, yellow and angel food cake work well. Pound cake can be used, but absorbs syrup more slowly because of its density, making for a drier cake.

Yields: five or six servings


On the television comedy series “Married… With Children,” the hapless, hopeless dad, Al Bundy, is fond of saying, “I think, therefore I Spam.” I don’t ordinarily eat Spam but a surprising number of people do. In fact, 3.8 cans of Spam are consumed in the U.S. every second. Some fans, like Al Bundy, regard Spam as a separate food group.


1 (12-ounce) can Spam Lite

4 teaspoons cooking oil, divided

2 cups chopped sweet onion

⅛ teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon baking soda

1½ cup frozen bell pepper strips, thawed and drained

1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple

½ cup pineapple or apricot preserves

1-2 teaspoons granulated sugar or to taste

¾ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ plus ⅛ teaspoon ground mustard

Minced fresh flat-leaf or dried parsley


Slice the Spam crosswise into 8 equal slices. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion to the skillet and sprinkle with the salt and baking soda. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally, adding the pepper strips for the last 3 minutes of cooking. Remove from the heat.

Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the Spam slices in a single layer and brown on both sides without moving the slices, flipping halfway through. Remove from the skillet.

Make the sauce by adding the remaining ingredients, except the parsley, to a small saucepan and bring just to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and lightly boil for several minutes until thickened slightly, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.

To serve, place two Spam slices side by side on a dinner plate. Top with a generous portion of the onion/pepper mix, then spoon a generous amount of sauce over the stack. Repeat with the remaining ingredients on additional plates. Garnish with parsley and serve hot.

Notes: The servings can be assembled and reheated in a microwave oven. Ham may be substituted for Spam.

Yields: Four main-dish servings

Dick Sellers is a freelance writer. Contact him at