Your New Favorite Pancakes (Palačinke)


Fluffy pancake recipes are a dime a dozen. But have you ever wondered what would happen if your pancakes were a tiny bit more like crepes? (or if your crepes were ever-so-slightly more like pancakes?)  Would you be even more excited if you could do it with only 5 ingredients that you probably already have?  If so, you’ve been waiting to discover Grandma Pancakes… and the anticipation is officially over!

Growing up, there were huge benefits to sleeping over Grandma’s house.

  • She would let you paint her toenails any color you wanted as long as you kept relatively quiet during General Hospital.
  • There was almost always one of those three-flavor tins of popcorn sitting around  (because this was one of the only items on Grandma’s birthday or Christmas wish list, followed closely by things that played music and things that lit up, the gaudier the better).
  • All the sparkly light-up music-playing things to play with! (like this one below, although I’m pretty sure hers played “You Light Up My Life“)
  • In the morning, you were treated to the World’s Most Delicious Pancakes!

When I began researching these pancakes, I discovered a few interesting things.  First of all, everyone in my family who has a copy of the recipe has the same one — the one that does not tell you how much milk to add, just “as needed.”  That can be perplexing if you are not making these pancakes on a regular basis.  Do you need a teaspoon?  Half a cup?  A pint?

Additionally, the name of what we’ve always just called “Grandma Pancakes”seems to have multiple origins.   My Grandma would always spread her serving of pancakes with jam and cottage cheese and call them what sounded like “polla-chinki”.  I thought this was a name for that specific style of serving them, but it turns out that palacinke, or palatschinke, or palačinke just means “crepes” or “pancakes.”  I’ve seen them listed as Hungarian, Serbian, Croatian, Ukranian, Macedonian, and yes, Slovenian in origin.  And that’s just a partial list.

Nearly every Eastern European cuisine seems to have its own version, and they vary slightly in ingredients and technique: cream vs. milk, one egg vs. two, separated or not, beaten egg whites vs. club soda (for leavening).  Some recommend serving with powdered sugar, some with jam (cottage cheese is a little less common, and maple syrup, the favorite of US and Canadian pancake connoisseurs, is not easily found in Europe).  However, what all these recipes seem to have in common is hitting that sweet spot between fluffy American pancakes and delicate French crepes.  And that’s why you need to try them!

Without further adieu…

These are not officially “Grandma-style” since I substituted ricotta for cottage cheese.      But they were equally delicious.

Grandma Pancakes

makes about 8 6-inch pancakes

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar1
  • 2 eggs, separated (room temperature is best)
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled2
  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups milk (room temperature is best)3

Preheat a skillet or non-stick pan over low heat.

Put flour and sugar in a large bowl.  Make a well in the middle.  In a small bowl, beat together egg yolks, milk, and melted butter.  Pour into well and mix into a smooth batter.  In another small bowl, beat egg whites until stiff, and fold into batter.

Increase temperature to medium-low.  These pancakes are most perfect when cooked in butter, but you can use your oil/fat/spray of choice.

Enjoy with your favorite topping!


  1. The original recipe calls for 1/4 cup sugar.  I think these are sweet enough with half that amount, but I don’t like super sweet breakfasts so feel free to experiment as your taste dictates!
  2. OF COURSE, the original recipe calls for Oleo.  I don’t happen to live in an Oleo household and can assure you that butter is a delicious subtitute.
  3. I tested this since, as mentioned above, the original recipe doesn’t tell anyone how much milk to use. 1-1/2 cups milk gives you a slightly thicker pancake; adding more will get you closer to crepe-like.
  4. You can certainly try other kinds of flour or non-dairy milks, but my experiments have proven that the original ingredients are far and away the best for texture and taste.
  5. I recommend the room temperature eggs and milk so you don’t end up with solid chunks of butter in the batter.  It’s not the worst thing in the world if you forget, but taking the milk and eggs out of the refrigerator early is a big help.


Slovenian Coleslaw

Were you born in a barn?

No, seriously… were you?  If so, I’d love to talk with you and learn more about the lives of people who were born in barns.  In my very suburban upbringing, I did not have much of a frame of reference for barns, and I was raised with a very one-dimensional view of people who were born in them. According to my Grandma, they all adhere to the same three stereotypes.

People who were born in barns:

  1. Don’t pull sliding glass doors closed all the way when entering or exiting the house.
  2. Don’t care about or understand the cost of air conditioning.
  3. Don’t mind insects flying around their homes.

Imagine being an eight year-old girl, struggling to wrangle two Cabbage Patch kids and your sweaty can of off-brand diet cream soda, sliding open the glass door to Grandma’s kitchen on a steamy July day, only to be greeted by a cacophony of adults screaming “were you born in a barn?” My Grandma had several weird catchphrases that she used regularly, but none was as frequently invoked and borrowed by as many family members as this one.  It is a really weird and inefficient way to tell a kid that they forgot to pull the door shut behind them.

But you know what?  Just like kids that are bullied sometimes grow up to bully other kids, and freshman who were hazed by their fraternity brothers age into people who haze underclassmen, I turned into someone that at some point asked my younger siblings and cousins if they were born in a barn.  I’m ashamed to admit this, but these very words were on the tip of my tongue when my five year-old nephew recently left a sliding glass door open.  BUT I TOOK A SECOND TO THINK ABOUT IT AND KNEW THAT A KINDERGARTNER WOULD NOT UNDERSTAND THE POINT OF MY QUESTION.  I am not going to be responsible for subjecting another generation to strange rhetorical questions when I could instead just remind them to please pull the door shut.  Sorry Grandma, but IT STOPS HERE.

All this to say: it is still really, really insufferably muggy outside.  In trying to simply survive the humidity I’ve run out of good summer memories and instead, things like this one are popping into my mind.  Whether you were born in a barn or not, I figured you could use another tasty no-cook, no-mayo summer dish, this one courtesy of The Slovenian-American Table, published in 2015 by the Slovenian Union of America and available for purchase here.

The Slovenian-American Table

I enjoy the organization of this cookbook, because it is structured based on the seasons and holidays throughout the year.  This recipe is from the “Family Picnic” section.  I made a few changes based on what ingredients I had on hand, and have noted those below.  I strongly recommend making this in advance and letting it sit in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours or longer, as the flavor and texture improve with time!

Coleslaw (Zeljeva solata)

*Google tells me that the word for cabbage is “zelje,” so I assume this to mean “cabbage salad”)

I used half a head of cabbage that I sliced very thinly by hand, which yielded about double what this recipe indicates (6 cups vs. 3), so I doubled everything listed below.

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pimento (I omitted this)
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated onion (I love onions so instead used half an onion, sliced thin)
  • 3 tablespoons oil (I used olive oil; the original calls for Mazola Salad Oil)
  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • 3 cups cabbage
  • 1/4 cup green pepper, chopped (I used a banana pepper, sliced thinly, since it’s what I had.  It added a nice kick!)
  • Sliced olives, optional

Place all but the cabbage and pepper in a large bowl and whisk together.  Add cabbage and pepper and mix well.  Chill thoroughly.  Garnish with sliced olives (which I also omitted).

The seasonings in the dressing (and my addition of a banana pepper) give this a slightly spicy kick, which we really enjoyed in my house.  Perfect for an end-of-summer picnic or cookout, or to just enjoy in the air-conditioned comfort of your home this weekend.  Whatever you do, be sure to pull the door closed behind you, okay?

slovenian coleslaw

4-Ingredient Slovenian Potato Salad

My family does not distinguish between “food actually consumed by people who live in Slovenia” and “foods we eat at Slovenian holiday parties in the US.”  Maybe there isn’t a difference between the two, or, more likely, maybe only two members of my family (sadly, not me, at least not yet) have ever actually visited Slovenia so our American-Slovenian culinary experiences far outnumber our authentically Slovenian ones.  Either way, I look forward to someday finding out if the things we call “Slovenian chicken” (which I think is… roasted chicken?) and “Slovenian Salad” (iceberg lettuce in oil-and-vinegar dressing) are actually enjoyed on a regular basis by my distant relatives overseas.

Given this family-wide habit of calling foods “Slovenian” when they may just be, um, “food,” I did not expect Slovenian Potato Salad to be a real thing.  The way I’ve always prepared it is super-simple and for that reason I assumed it was just something my mom made up to appease her mayo-hating kids.

(Because – yuck – if you don’t like mayonnaise, is there anything worse than seeing that bowl of creamy potato salad sitting out in the hot sun at summer parties?)

Since it is going to be three thousand degrees this weekend in many parts of the country, with enough humidity to bend graham crackers and roof shingles into damp submission, resulting in a heat index of eleventy forty-hundred millennia,* and I don’t want you to accidentally poison your loved ones with warm mayonnaise, it seems like a good time to share this recipe.  Below are the two versions I found in my 1999 copy of More Pots & Pans.  It even has a Slovenian name, Krompirjeva solata (literally, “potato salad.”

potato salad

My mom’s version is more along the lines of Mary Marolt’s (No. I) but even easier. I’ve done my best to write it for you below.  FOUR INGREDIENTS (six if you count salt and pepper).  You could have this on the table just after the potatoes are cooked or, for even better flavor, allow it to chill in the refrigerator for a few hours (better yet: overnight).  You can really use any kind of potato for this, though my personal favorite are small redskins.  I used this basket of tiny potatoes the last time I made this, and they were perfect!  Even though some of the smallest ones were truly bite-sized, I sliced them in half so the cut sides could absorb more dressing.


Slovenian Potato Salad No. III


  • approximately 2 pounds of potatoes, washed but unpeeled
  • one bunch of green onions (less if you aren’t crazy about onions), sliced (green and white parts)
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (I prefer white or apple cider)
  • 1/4 cup oil (I usually use olive oil)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Boil potatoes in salted water until tender.  Rinse under cold water and, when cool enough to handle, cut into bite-size pieces.  Whisk together oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in the bottom of a medium-sized bowl.  Add potatoes and green onions, and stir to combine.  Season again to taste.  May be served immediately, or chill in the refrigerator a few hours or overnight.  The longer it sits, the stronger the flavor!

(This recipe is very easy to make smaller or larger, since the dressing is really just a 1:1 oil:vinegar ratio.  Experiment as needed!)

 *Sorry, talking about weather again.