Most of my favorite foods are absurdly simple (and sometimes slightly odd) combinations of just a few ingredients. Eggs simmered in tomato sauce, spinach mixed with ground beef, a bowl of hot rice topped with plain yogurt, or a perfect grilled cheese. These are the foods that I go to over and over, because they are easy, comforting, plain, but never boring.

The recipes for these meals are easy, so easy that you may have stumbled upon them and thought you invented them. And it’s quite likely that you have – the same way they have been invented over and over for generations.

That’s something I really love about food – the deep, invisible patterns. Throughout the world, the same combinations repeat themselves, stumbled upon over and over in unique, random moments. It’s amazing if you think of it. How is it that every culture has a type of dumpling?

Many years ago, I “invented” the banana pancake.

I spent a lot of time making sweet omelets – tossing fruit and a spoonful of sugar into my eggs. I came across wonderful combinations in my pursuits – peaches in particular – have you ever ripe peach slices in an omelet in the heat of summer? Divine.

And then I stumbled across the banana. The banana, it seemed, was the perfect mate to the egg. I’d slice a banana and caramelize it and fold it into an omelet. Soon, I became lazy, and the omelets became banana scrambled eggs, and mashing ripe bananas into the eggs led to the banana pancake.

Unlike regular pancakes, which can be a heavy breakfast, the banana pancake is light, and airy, but still has the shape and spirit of a pancake. You can top it with syrup and those who don’t know the secret might not have a clue that you are serving them a gluten free, dairy free, paleo-approved protein rich breakfast. It’s quite good for you.

I must admit that I was shocked – shocked! – that my invention started showing up all over the internet this year. Tina at Carrots N’ Cake practically made this a household staple for her thousands of followers. And suddenly… I started craving it again. So here are just a few of the many I’ve eaten this year.

I make these a lot.

(Almost Two Ingredient) Banana Pancakes

makes 1

Take a small-medium very ripe banana, and mash it with a fork in a bowl. (You can also get a headstart by mashing the banana in the peel, just by smooshing it around. Crack in a large egg, and beat together. Usually I’ll add a tiny cap-ful of vanilla extract, and a dash or two of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, but all this is optional. I got it into my head once to use my immersion blender to make a smoother batter, but I find that I don’t mind just a slightly more rustic pancake with larger pieces of banana here or there.

In a non-stick pan, heat up a spoonful of coconut oil over medium heat. Slowly pour your banana batter into the pan, so that it forms a pancake shape. It’ll be a little runnier than pancake batter, so pour slowly so it can set well.

I re-iterate: cook the pancake slowly – you don’t want it to burn, and the slower it goes, the better it retains it’s shape. Wait until you see lots of little bubbles rising to the surface of the pancake (just like a normal pancake!), and when it’s nearly done, flip! Cook for another minute or so until set.

Gild the lily: this tastes delicious with a dollop of almond butter, and a generous drizzle of maple syrup. Or, if you are feeling really snappy, a big spoonful of coconut butter. Or a huge dollop of rum spiked whipped cream.

Be flexible: I typically make one large pancake, but a few silver dollars would also work. Occasionally you’ll end up with a pancake that doesn’t hold it’s shape. Just dump it in a bowl, top it generously and dig in.

Enjoy these!