Once a morning has been scented with sizzling bacon, scrambled eggs and hot-off-the-griddle flapjacks, you've got a memory for life that demands repeating.

Once a morning has been scented with sizzling bacon, scrambled eggs and hot-off-the-griddle flapjacks, you've got a memory for life that demands repeating.

Although not a breakfast eater on most days, I grew up with the concept and embrace it heartily. It's how families bond, children feel special and friends connect. Something about the sleepy hour of breakfast time puts people in a mellow mood. Politics and religion are dinner-party fare. Morning conversations are more along the lines of where to find the best apricots for jam or which trails to hike.

I learned that from the master, my uncle Reg. His energetic pancake productions always lured observers into the kitchen on those sleepy, lazy mornings at their country house in Northern California. He made quite a show of it — and my cousin Bonnie and I made the perfect audience. We giggled and gawked at every act he performed, from the operatic tunes he sang off key, to the breaking of the eggs (held high and broken swiftly with a single blow from his left hand).

From his post at the stove, while beating the egg whites to an exact stage of firmness, he would direct the troops to the proper setting of the table, the heating of the syrup and the melting of the butter. During the act of folding those perfect egg whites into the batter, he would lecture us all on the importance of perfectly executed egg whites.

Thanks to such childhood memories, breakfasts take on a special significance for me under three conditions: Summer's in the air, we're gathered at some sort of retreat, be it campground or cabin, and a hoard of likeable people are milling about.

Those conditions merged a few weeks ago for a group of us who gathered to celebrate the summer solstice at our friends' Corvallis-area century farm and winery. The Friday eve of the solstice had its own charm with plenty of the house wine, and an outdoor buffet table groaning with potluck offerings.

The morning of the first day of summer unfolded slowly and lazily for the 12 who survived the night. Under the fresh summer sky, coffee and conversation eventually morphed into breakfast mode as our pal Paul whipped up a batch of buttermilk-laced flapjacks while I quickly cooked up mounds of heavenly scrambled eggs loaded with delights sauteed and staged the previous day. We reached the finish line in perfect harmony, as hungry friends sat down to a hearty-but-simple meal, rounded out and perfected by friend Peg's homegrown and canned peaches and applesauce.

Jan Roberts-Dominguez is a cookbook author and columnist in Corvallis. Reach her at janrd@proaxis.com.