Monday, September 28, 2009

The Best-Laid Pancakes of Mice and Men...

So, the Serious Eats challenge this weekend was pancakes, and I fully intended to so it because, hey, how hard can that be? I've never made pancakes from scratch, which seems hard to believe, unless you hear my full pancake history. My mother, as I have mentioned, was no cook, but for some reason she felt every now and then, because I asked, that pancakes were my right as a wee tyke. So she would make the entire serving of pancake batter (designed to make oh, 6-12) and pour the entire thing in a pan. Her motto was: "if it is not good, at least it is done!" The result was a large yellow-and-black speckled disc about an inch thick and rather spongy. So if you ever wondered what and ENTIRE serving of Aunt Jemima mix--yep, she used the politically incorrect stuff--looks like when poured in a skillet, now you know. Some parts of it were good--I didn't eat all of it thank heaven, and I remember liking the softness of the center, where the pat of butter rested, and the crunchy outside of the skillet.

Then came the Awakening--I went to McDonald's with my grandmother and beheld three small fluffy disks, pancakes I only thought possible to achieve on TV commercials. The maple-scented sausage and grandma's plying me with toys afterward (plus McDonald's cartoon characters on my high chair) only added to my disillusionment with my mother's pan-cooked cake. "That is what pancakes are!" I cried. My mother, undeterred switched to Aunt Jemima waffles, which required even less preparation and looked in my estimation at least like real waffles.

I had a love affair with Perkins as an older child--silver dollar pancakes, chocolate chip pancakes, real bacon on pancakes, I mean it's dessert for dinner, what's not to like? You could have pancakes followed with dessert from the rotating racks in the Perkins bakery.

But it's been a long time since I have craved pancakes. The one time I had them homemade properly (as in not an entire pan full of batter) it was at a 'college house' from very old pantry staples, and the flavor was what you would expect from Bisquick from the 60s. This Sunday was sultry, and the last thing I felt like after yoga class was a stogy stomach full of an attempt of pancakes.

I have concluded that perhaps I like the idea of pancakes better than pancakes themselves. Platonic pancakes, anyone?

1 comment:

  1. Yep, totally understandable. Pancakes can feel so heavy that you have to be in the right mood to want them. But homemade pancakes, in their defense, do have a much deeper and fresher flavor than diner or mix-based 'cakes. :)