Let’s Gather Together, It’s Time for Some Pancakes
It doesn’t matter what we call them, pancakes can help build community
With a dozen 16-year-old girls in front of half as many griddles, the typically spacious kitchen was filled to capacity. Echoes of giggles bounced off the walls, drowning out the soft sizzling of the butter and batter. Every so often a newly filled mixing bowl of batter spilling over the rim was passed around. Amid shouts of urgency, bowls of mix-ins were handed from one pairing to the next. “I need the chips. Who has the chocolate chips?” “Does anyone have the spatula?” “No, not that one, the big one. I need the big one.”
As I watched the scene unfold at my sister’s birthday party, I was awakened to the gathering powers of the pancake.
Is it a pancake or a flapjack?
Pancakes have endured throughout time and place. Today, many versions of this carb-loaded dish make appearances at breakfast tables across the globe. They may have different names, but the basic ingredients are the same: a grain, a liquid, and a bit of butter or oil.
In some regions, pancakes sport multiple names. For instance, in the US a pancake is a flapjack is a griddle cake. They are one and the same. However, if you order a flapjack in the UK, don’t expect a pancake. Flapjacks are more like a baked granola bar with rolled oats and dried fruit or nuts.
Acknowledging variations in taste and texture, the “pancakes” being discussed here are the traditional round mostly flat cakes that are fried on both sides and topped with sweet syrups or jams. The level of fluffiness of the pancake can be adjusted by adding a bit of baking powder and/or baking soda to the batter or by substituting buttermilk for regular milk.
In the 1700s before leavening agents such as baking soda were available, chefs used fresh snow. Apparently, the snow contained ammonia which helped the cakes to rise.