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Buttermilk Pancakes [BVI Food Recipe]

Shortly after my husband Matt and I moved to the British Virgin Islands, we were excited for our first trip to Anegada for a fishing tournament. Though we had made Tortola our home base, we were committed to exploring all the islands. Anegada was at the top of our list of destinations, due to its endless beaches, top-notch fishing and reputation for friendly residents. We were also intrigued by Anegada’s geography. Unlike the other mountainous volcanic islands comprising the BVI, Anegada is the “flat island”, the lone coral atoll in the BVI.

Among the first people we met on Anegada were a couple who own a popular bar and restaurant on Tortola. They had come to Anegada with their children for the October St. Ursula’s holiday weekend to “get away from it all.” As a new resident of Tortola (and most recently a resident of Chicago), I couldn’t help but laugh at the idea of needing to escape the supposed hustle and bustle of Tortola. The mother told me she had given her children a choice between spending the holiday weekend in Florida or Anegada – and she was proud that her youngsters immediately chose Anegada. After my first weekend in Anegada, I completely understood what an easy choice Anegada was, for adults and children alike. Though Anegada was a mere 15 miles from Tortola, my mind was a thousand miles away from the concerns of everyday life.

During my many visits to Anegada, I’ve stayed on power boats, sailboats, at hotels, and even camped on the beach. I’ve visited the island in high season and in the middle of hurricane season.  Each trip to Anegada has one thing in common:  the pace of life in Anegada is delightfully slow. It’s the kind of place where time happily drifts away, and one can spend the day doing nothing but staring out at the ocean – rum drink in hand, of course.

When I provision for a trip to Anegada, my menu reflects the slow pace of life, which begs for leisurely breakfasts with friends or family. I particularly love making pancakes when I have a relaxed morning. Although whipping up homemade pancake batter is quick and easy, cooking pancakes batch-by-batch is not speedy on a boat, so pancakes are a weekend or vacation meal for me… or an ideal breakfast for any day of the week in Anegada. Serve your pancakes with plenty of bacon and a generous fruit salad of whatever is freshest and in season. The downside of the sleepy and sparsely populated island is that provisioning is more challenging, so stock your refrigerator and pantry before traveling to Anegada.

Once you’ve enjoyed a hearty breakfast, grab a mask and snorkel and race into the beautiful water inside the reef at Loblolly beach. It may be the only thing you do quickly all day.

Buttermilk Pancakes

1 c flour


2 Tbl sugar

2 Tbl baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 c buttermilk

2 Tbl vegetable oil, plus additional for cooking

Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk and 2 Tbl vegetable oil. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until smooth. Let stand 5 minutes. Cook pancakes over medium heat in a fry pan lightly coated with oil. (Use about ¼ c of batter per pancake.) Top with tropical jam such as guava or mango. Serves 4.

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