A wake up call “Alton Brown Whey Pancakes”

Driving home after picking up my daughter from school. We stop to get a few things and decide to change our usual way back home to avoid traffic. We are making plans for the weekend, we bought supplies to make sushi for the first time and some lamb chops which my daughter loves. She is trying to convince me that we can make the sushi in the 15 minutes we have before her dad gets home. We change topics, she has her second month exams and we were discussing the possibility of squeezing in a picnic if she finishes studying early enough. 

We are almost half way home,I take a right down the last busy street, thinking if I can just get out of this street, out of this traffic, I can get home and my weekend can start.I hear a crash and the car starts shaking. I see huge wheels passing by my car’s window. I press the brakes, the horn and close my eyes for a second “oh God!”. The sound of metal scrapping metal continues along with the sound of the brakes of what I now only realized is a truck that hit my car. It seems that time has slowed down and everything is in slow motion. All I can see is Big wheels almost as tall as my car and the sound of scrapping metal is making my stomach turn.

It finally stops, I take a quick look at the kids in the back seat and check that they are OK, and for second I hesitate to open the door. Scared of how bad the damage will be. People start gathering around. I open the door and step outside to see the entire left side of my car dented and covered with blue and black scratch. The driver of the truck comes towards me asking if we were ok and apologizing for “not seeing my car!”. I am a jumble of emotions. Furious, trembling, worried about the kids, looking at my car makes me wince. My brain is racing, what do I do now, do I call my husband, my dad, do I report the accident, how long will the car need to be fixed, I have appointments on Saturday do I cancel them, who will get Jana from school when the car is in the shop. The driver of the truck interrupts my thoughts buy asking if I want to report the accident and get a police man. He says joking, it is only a few scratches from the wheels, it is not worth it. I am vaguely aware of the crowd around the car, of my kids peering at it all through the car windows, I am looking at the driver with his pale yellow shirt,the pack of cigarettes I can see through his shirt pocket, his tobacco stained teeth half of which I realize are missing slightly insulted by his attempt to get away with it. I reach for my phone, call my husband then my dad then tell the man I want to report the accident and I want a police man to check out the accident scene

For the next hour, we go through the technicalities. Police reports,accident reports, waiting for officers to arrive , to decide who to blame. The kids are restless in the car, they raid the shopping bags and the chocolate and jelly beans go missing. I call my husband who was supposed to be here by now, he’s stuck in traffic.After an hour and a half it is finally over. The report is written, it is the truck driver’s fault and I didn’t do anything wrong to cause the accident. A sigh of relief. I hear the truck driver tell me for the 10th time that he did not see my car, that he was not supposed to be here, that it is his friend’s truck and he was helping him deliver a load. Again all I see is his pale shirt, stained teeth, the gap of the missing ones and his unshaved face.This time around I am not insulted, not even angry, I just want to get out of here, out of the sun that is burning my face, I want it all to end. I walk to my car feeling drained and get in. I put my hands on the steering wheel almost afraid to turn the switch but I have little ones in the back seat who want to get home. I turn the switch and start moving, aware of every car around me, waiting for another  impact and metal scratching noises all the way home. This time they don’t come and I get home safely. I park the car, put my head on the stirring wheel and say a silent prayer to thank God for getting us all home safe.

In the crazy rush that is our life we seem to forget how fragile we are, how one second can change it all, how all we take for granted can vanish in the blink of an eye. I got my wake up call through a huge blue truck, I hope these words are yours. Life is too precious, too fragile to waste, make the best out of it. Celebrate your loved ones, let them feel how special they are and what they mean to you. You don’t need to do big things. Simple things are all it takes, a word, a rose , a hug or maybe a special breakfast to show them you care.

My kids love pancakes and their favorite is the lemony ricotta pancakes which have been their number 1 for sometime. A couple of weeks ago Ani of cooking Spree posted this recipe for buttermilk pancakes by Alton brown. I have yet to try a recipe by Alton Brown that I didn’t like and this one came with the highest recomendation..the Spree seal. I knew I had to try it.

The original recipe calls for buttermilk as a liquid but I didn’t have any on hand. I tried making my own using some store-bought buttermilk but it turns out it didn’t have the cultures needed. What I had on hand was whey from making homemade greek yogurt and I thought why not! I have used whey before in making dough and it gave amazingly fluffy baked good, I hoped for the same effect and I was not disappointed. I think the lemony ricotta pancakes and my favorite carrot cake pancakes are in for very tough competition. Alton brown’s pancake recipe provides you with an instant pancake mix that you can keep on hand. It saves you all the measuring and getting out and putting back all the ingredients (which is perfect to help you make more special breakfasts for the special people in your life or for yourself) 

Whey or buttermilk pancakes

you can find the printable recipe here



  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (check expiration date first)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar


Combine all of the ingredients in a lidded container. Shake to mix.

Use the mix within 3 months.


  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups buttermilk (I used 2 cups whey)
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 cups “Instant” Pancake Mix, recipe above
  • 1 stick butter, for greasing the pan
  • 2 cups fresh fruit such as blueberries, if desired
  • 1-2 tablespoon sugar (that is my addition because my kids like their pancakes with a hint of sweetness)

Heat an electric griddle or frying pan to 350 degrees F. Heat oven to 200 degrees F.

Whisk together the egg whites and the buttermilk (or whey) in a small bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the melted butter.

Combine the buttermilk (whey) mixture with the egg yolk mixture in a large mixing bowl and whisk together until thoroughly combined.

Pour the liquid ingredients on top of the pancake mix. Using a whisk, mix the batter just enough to bring it together. Don’t try to work all the lumps out.

Check to see that the griddle is hot by placing a few drops of water onto to the griddle. The griddle is ready if the water dances across the surface.

Lightly butter the griddle. Wipe off thoroughly with a paper towel. (No butter should be visible.)

Gently ladle the pancake batter onto the griddle and sprinkle on fruit if desired. When bubbles begin to set around the edges of the pancake and the griddle-side of the cake is golden, gently flip the pancakes. Continue to cook 2 to 3 minutes or until the pancake is set.

Serve immediately or remove to a towel-lined baking sheet and cover with a towel. Hold in a warm place for 20 to 30 minutes.

I served the pancakes with homemade strawberry syrup that I will be sharing with you in my next post


Leave a comment


  1. Lovely recipe! I have been in this same exact situation, I think it’s always better to file a report you never know what people will try to get away with! I’m glad you guys are ok!

  2. My friend I am glad you are ok – your description was worrying and I don’t even want to think about if anything had happened
    But such experiences I am sure do make you want to celebrate life and its most beautiful aspects – these pancakes are a perfect way of showing that :)

    Happy Easter
    Choc Chip Uru

  3. you know I absolutely identify with the sentiment when you describe the truck driver and his attitude..in India.. as a woman driver.. i face the same thing all the time!! coming back to the pancakes.. wowiee… and the photographs are gorgeous!!

    • Thank you so much for your comment about the pancakes and the photography
      As for being a female driver, it is irritating how some people treat you or think you’re stupid just because you’re a female

  4. I wish I had these right now!

  5. My heart was just racing as I read through your post today.. I almost cried when the truck hit you. You’ve really described every emotion and thought that races through your mind and heart when in an accident. Thank god you are all ok! Surely these pancakes would add a little comfort to your day… xoxo Smidge

  6. basmandahleh

     /  April 7, 2012

    Thank God you are all ok. After I got past the part when everyone was ok… you made me smile.

  7. Wow, you guys really earned these pancakes. I’m so glad to hear everyone is OK. What an unnerving experience.

  8. I shared all your emotions as you described your accident. So happy that everyone was okay and it does really give you pause to think about how quickly your life can change. Thanks for the reminder. The pancakes look yummy and I’ll try them next time I have kids home for a visit. Hope the car repairs go smoothly.

  9. I felt as if I were yo while reading this, how scary, I’m glad everything was ok after all, The pancakes do look like a great reward

  10. Thank God you all came out of it alright. A car … that can be fixed. Your family is safe but for a long time now you’ll be reliving the fear of those moments. I wish you all the best.

    I’m never organized enough after making paneer cheese to save the whey for something like these pancakes. It all goes down the sink. Lovely pancakes and lovely strawberry sauce/syrup.

    • Thank you, you are right. I am reliving it indeed but I am thankful we were not harmed.
      You should really keep the whey, it makes great pancakes, great in pastry and you can make a wonderfully refreshing drink that I will share soon

  11. How scary! I am sorry to hear about the accident but glad you’re ok! Driving in the UK is just as scary – it’s often never how you drive, it’s the lack of control you have over how others drive.

  12. Glad you are all safe. Agree, life is too short, we should all live life a little less complicated, with a little less anger and show lots more affection! Probably what you all needed after arriving home, your photo’s look fantastic of your pancakes, and the strawberry syrup a nice touch of sweetness. x

  13. I am glad that you and your children are alright. Quite creative to substitute whey for buttermilk.

  14. I’ll echo my fellow commenters by saying I’m very glad to hear the only damage was to your car — and your nerves a bit. More importantly, Sawsan, your children learned a valuable lesson about grace under fire and all of us a reminder of just how delicate Life is.

    These pancakes and the accompanying syrup look like the perfect meal. I’m looking forward to seeing your strawberry syrup recipe.

    • Thank you so much John, I hope the kids learnt that. I am actually glad they were not too frightened or traumatized.
      The strawberry syrup was just as good as the pancakes, the perfect sweet addition to the pancakes

  15. I am so sorry this happened Sawsan, but I am equally grateful that you and your children are not harmed. I know that feeling of everything in ‘slow motion.’ Terrifying.
    ~ Lynda
    PS: I have long had a small green leaf like the ones in your photograph and had no idea what to do with it… It all makes sense now, because of your photo, and the fact that it actually did come with some lovely preserves! Looking forward to pancakes for breakfast tomorrow. ;)

    • Thank you so much Lynda, it was terrifying indeed but I am really grateful because it could’ve been much worse
      I am glad I could help with the little green leaf mini plates and I can’t wait to hear what you think of the pancakes

  16. Anonymous

     /  April 8, 2012

    My earlier comment seems to have disappeared …

    In any event, glad the only damage was to your car and that you & your precious cargo are all safe & sound.

  17. Oh Sawsan, what a horrible experience for you all but so glad you are all safe and sound. I expect now you are reflecting back on it you feel more shocked and angry than when it happened. Not at all pleasant.
    Thank you for taking the time to share such a beautiful recipe despite what you have had going on. A big hug to you.

    • Thank you for the hug Tanya, it means a lot to me. You are right about the fact that reflecting back makes me feel more angry and a little frightened too, driving for the next few days will be stressful but I hope it will all pass soon

  18. Eva Taylor

     /  April 8, 2012

    I am so glad you and the kids are OK! What a horrible incident! The next few rides in the car must have been stressful. I’ve been very fortunate to have never been in a car accident, so I shall heed to advice, thank you!
    I never thought to save the whey from the ricotta I made :(. I do however have buttermilk on hand! Your pancakes are beautiful and fluffy! I love how quirky Alton Brown is; do you watch Iron Chef America? I wonder if he’s had hair plugs put in?

    • Thank you do much Eva. Driving is still stressful but I hope that won’t last.
      I am glad you have never been in an accident and I pray you will never have to go through it.
      I love Alton Brown, he is so smart and quick and I love watching him comment on Iron chef :)
      Not sure about the plugs but he does look different

  19. I’m so sorry to hear about your car accident. Thank goodness you are all okay but I am sure you all received a nasty fright. It just goes to show you how quickly things can happen. Your pancakes look delicious and I’m sure they were just what you needed after the shock of the accident. Happy Easter and I hope your car is quickly repaired xx

  20. So glad to hear you are all fine!!! It must have been so scary!!!!! :-(((((((((((((
    My 4 year old calls herself “the pancake monster”… so these go on my to do list. I am trying to make yogurt (greek style). It is in the fridge to drain! I am keeping my fingers crossed! I will make some more though… I had run out of milk and made only 1/2 lt… not enough! I was just too curious!!! hehehe Hugs!

    • Thank you so much sweet Manu
      I hope the yogurt will work out beautifully for you but I do have to warn you that with 1/2 a lt there will be very little yogurt.
      I can’t wait to hear what you think of it and what your sweet pancake monster thinks of these pancakes

      • Hehehe I know!!! I got like 1 small yogurt glass jar out of it! I knew it would be little, but I had no more milk and still wanted to try! I was also afraid the store bought yogurt I used as a starter might not have live cultures (it said it did, but nowadays you never know), so I had to try it! hehehe It came out FANTASTIC! I will make it again (and more) this coming week! I can’t wait for all those recipes to use up the whey and yogurt (please post ALL of them, I cannot decide which one to try… it will have to be all!!!) hehehe

        A big hug!!!

      • I am so glad it came out fantastic Manu!
        I can’t wait to see all the things you made with our homemade yogurt
        and I will post all the recipes and I hope you’ll like them all

  21. So glad to hear you are all ok! What a terrible and scary experience! :-(((((((((((((

    My 4 year old calls herself “the pancake monster”, so these go straight to my to do list! I am also making the Greek style yogurt! It is draining… I think it worked! YAY! I will make it again… only tried with 1/2 litre of milk as I had run out! THANKS!


  22. I am so glad that you and the kids are safe! Cars are replaceable. I hope you are not too badly shaken up by the event. Mom’s have to keep going no matter. These are very special pancakes as a tribute to having the family together. Take care, BAM

  23. الحمد لله على سلامتك و سلامة اولادك سوسن , بسيطة ان شاء الله , صار معنا مرة نفس الشي شاحنة شطبت البابين الجانبين بجنط العجل , سلامات

  24. Reading your story brought back memories of an accident I was in last summer, where I was fortunate to come out unscathed, and I remember that awful slow motion feeling of seeing the accident and your life flash before your eyes. I’m so glad you and your children are okay…that is a gift, for sure. These pancakes look light and lovely, and I like Alton’s recipes a lot, so am sure they taste as good as they look. Happy Easter to you and yours Sawsan!

    • Thank you so much Betsy and I am sorry you had gone through the same experience. It is one I wouldn’t wish on anyone
      I like Alton’s recipes too, they are sure to please and work out every time

  25. Oh my goodness! I am so glad that you and the girls are safe! How scary and horrifying. And you’re absolutely right, one of those things that reminds you of your priorities in life and how fragile it all is. So glad you’re all unharmed. Hugs to you all! And as for these pancakes, you know we’re going to have to give them a try. The kids would no doubt LOVE them! :)

    • Thank you for the irtual hugs Kristy, I deeply appreciate them. It was a horrifying experience and an eye opener for sure
      Can’t wait to hear the spoon rating of the pancakes :)

  26. Oh! And the lemony ricotta pancakes are still one of our favs too. :)

  27. Thanks God for being safe, and the kids very well. Oh…Sawsan, I’m horrified just from imagining the scene you described, and remembered how was my kids screaming from the accident happened with us a year ago.
    الف الحمد لله على السلامه
    Back to the recipe, I really adore Alton brown’s recipes, and this one is one of my favourites, the buttermilk make a huge differce in taste and texture of the pancake.
    Thanks Sonson.

    • الله يسلمك يا رب سماح
      It was a horrible experience that I pray we never have to go through again.
      As for the pancakes, you are right, the buttermilk makes a huge difference,they are so fluffy and light

  28. What a scary experience, I’m so glad to hear that you and your kids are unhurt! I was in a car accident last year where another driver ran a stop sign and we T-boned him in the intersection and his car flipped over! Same story – the accident was completely his fault and he also said he didn’t see our car. Somehow everyone walked away unharmed though. I was very nervous driving for a good while after that…

    You are right Sawsan, things like that make you want to appreciate what you’ve got (unfortunate that it often takes such an event to recognize it though). Something as simple yet as lovely as pancakes is a good place to start. I’m definitely bookmarking those lemony ricotta ones!

    • Oh my! That sounds worse than our accident. Thank God you all walked away unharmed. I am still very nervous whenever I have to drive anywhere and I am staying as far as possible from trucks, big and small.
      I totally agree, it is unfortunate that we tend to forget what really matters and need a good shake to remind us.
      I hope you’ll enjoy the lemony ricotta pancakes. If you ever get to make them, I would love to hear what you think

  29. Not sure how I missed this post, because one year ago I was already a reader of your blog, I am pretty sure…

    reading this made me cringe… I never had anything like it happen, but can feel the horror reading and hearing the descriptions of those who did go through it.

    I am so glad you were ok!

    (and the pancakes seem awesome… ;-)

    • Hello Sally,
      First off, thank you for the comment.
      I hope you will never have to go through this, it was not an easy experience. A year later I still get uneasy when I drive next to trucks!

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