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These pancakes are generations in the making and reserved for special occasions

ANDREW LIMBONG, HOST:

All this season, NPR has been airing kitchen gems, recipes from our audience in a series we're calling All Things We're Cooking. Today, we hear from Heather Stone, a mental health counselor in Denver, Colo. Her family makes pancakes with a very old, very special ingredient.

HEATHER STONE: My parents were not known for cooking. They were not chefs. So, like, the sourdough pancakes were really good. And it's something - probably one of the only things that we passed down in its true form. It's been in my family for - at least we know of - my mom started making it 60 years ago. And she clipped it out of an old newspaper. It's so funny. I was trying to look at it. And the recipe's really old, but all I can see - it was from Alaska magazine, and then they reprinted it in the newspaper, but I have no idea - like, it's so faded and old and, like, taped up.

You just make it with the sourdough, some water, flour, eggs, sugar, baking soda and salt. But the original starter, she got from a friend who had had it in their family in California for over a hundred years already. So the starter that I have now is probably around 160 or more years old. I can't trace it back exactly, but at least that's what all the family remembers.

My little sister and her kids all use it, and they're super creative. So they do cookies, bread. The chocolate cake is a really popular one for most of us - not all of us, but most of us. And the pancakes, we always agreed on. And, from childhood, just any special occasion - Christmas - you know, they weren't everyday things or every-weekend things but any special occasion. Like, you could request them for your birthday, and my mom would bring them to you in bed on a silver platter. It was very funny.

We've given out starters. Like, I know I did in the pandemic to a few clients that wanted it. You know, we - I've met people that way, you know, traded, like, kefir grains for sourdough, you know, different fermented products. I know that you can buy starters online or directions and kind of make it yourself, but I feel like it takes such a long time for it to become the best of what it can be. So I think my tip would be to try to get it from someone who already has it and uses it and loves it.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LIMBONG: That was Heather Stone talking about her family's sourdough pancake recipe for our ongoing series, All Things We're Cooking. You can see the recipes at npr.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.