Recipe Corner: AGMA's President, Master Of Pancakes

Ray Menard has not had a boring professional life. Prior to his work at the Met, he was a Staff Stage Director and Artistic Administrator for the late (and once-beloved) New York City Opera. Now he is our extremely knowledgeable and experienced Production Stage Manager, a title he has held since the late 80s. As if the daunting task of stage-managing the behemoth productions put up at the Met weren’t enough, he recently was elected as the president of the American Guild of Musical Artists (commonly known as AGMA), the union that represents the Met’s soloists, choristers, dancers, staff performers, directors, and stage managers. And, as if THAT weren’t enough, Ray is known for being an excellent chef. The Man of Many Talents will now share with us a delicious comfort food recipe that may become part of your regular brunch rotation.


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Name: Raymond M. Menard

Hometown: Mountain Lakes, NJ

Years at the Met: 32

My favorite opera is:  Hard to choose: Elektra, Fidelio, Lohengrin, Falstaff and Norma. 

Ray has titled this photograph “Explaining the intricacies of chicken pot pie to our dachshund, Daisy.”

Ray has titled this photograph “Explaining the intricacies of chicken pot pie to our dachshund, Daisy.”

One of my most memorable experiences at the Met so far was: sitting in the auditorium for a performance of I Puritani with Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarotti, Sherrill Milnes and James Morris.  I couldn’t believe how they could sing like that and they seemed to just egg each other on to sing better and better.

Other than opera, my favorite type of music is: I love the music of Bach.  If I had to live on just that, I’d be fine.

When I am not at the Met, you can find me: At home in New Jersey.  Really boring, I know, but Dorothy had me in mind when she said there is no place like home.

The most outrageous thing I've ever cooked at home (or eaten) was:  My family marvels at the fact that I turned the entire crop from my plum tree into preserves on my outdoor gas grill during a power failure. 

The three things in my kitchen I can’t live without are:   My gas range and electric double ovens, but what really keeps me going is my coffee grinder.

Currently, my three go-to ingredients are:  It is a good thing that I don’t have blood pressure problems because I love salt. I can’t do without lemons.  I agree with Julia Child that any recipe that starts with one cup of heavy cream can’t be bad.


If I had to choose, my “last meal” would be:  Thanksgiving dinner.  It is by far my favorite holiday, surrounded by family and friends I love, all of whom collaborate to bring something special to the table.  As we are talking about my LAST meal, I would substitute an English Trifle for the pie as I am a sucker for a gooey dessert.


(Editor’s Note: I highly recommend that everyone watch this video. It is delightful.)


OATMEAL PANCAKES WITH WALNUTS

(“Recipe credit: I wish I knew.  I have been making them for a long time and have no recollection of the original source.”) 

1 ¼ cups quick-cooking oatmeal  (the 5-minute kind)

1 cup of plain low-fat yogurt

1 cup of low-fat milk

¼ cup all-purpose white flour

¼ cup whole-wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon honey

¼ cup chopped walnuts


In a large bowl, combine eggs, yogurt, milk and honey.  Stir in flours and oats, baking soda and salt. Mix well.  Add chopped walnuts. Mix again. (Add additional milk if batter becomes too thick.)

Heat a large non-stick griddle over medium heat.  Lightly oil the griddle. Spoon about ¼ cup batter onto hot griddle for each pancake.  Cook until the bottoms are browned and the bubbles on top start to pop, about three minutes. Flip and cook until the pancakes are browned on the other side.  Repeat with remaining batter.

Serving suggestion: top with warm maple syrup and fresh fruit.

Notes:  I make the batter the night before if I have enough foresight, and recommend leaving the baking soda out and adding it in just before cooking.