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Pancake Recipes: 10 Variations on a Breakfast Favorite

Cook great flapjacks with these recipes for whole-wheat, oatmeal apple, banana nut, bourbon pecan, gingerbread, orange, and buckwheat buttermilk pancakes.

| January/February 1990

  • 121-054-01
    Pancakes are a quick fix, requiring only simple ingredients and little forethought.

  • 121-054-01

What this country needs is a good pancake supper. The kind that’s held in a warm church basement on a raw January night to raise money for the volunteer fire department. The kind everybody in town attends, passing butter, syrup, and gossip up and down the long rows of tables set end to end. Gray-haired, aproned women keep 30 flapjacks on the griddle at once, flipping them in orderly sequence, pausing to hand out paper plates bowed under huge stacks of hotcakes and to slip an extra flapjack onto the plates of small boys who smile just right. Everybody likes the food. Everybody gets along.

What is it about these flat, unassuming cakes that engenders so much good humor around a table of two or 200? Perhaps they’re evocative of easy childhood mornings, of weekend breakfasts when no school meant time taken in the kitchen, effort expended just for the pleasure of it.

Maybe it’s their easygoing, accommodating nature. Substitute one kind of flour for another? Why not. Add more milk to a batter that’s too thick to work with easily? Of course. No brown sugar in the pantry? White is fine.

Perhaps it’s their simplicity, the fact that they’re a quick fix, demanding no forethought, requiring only simple ingredients found in virtually every kitchen.

Then there’s their genial ability to outlast their critics. As recently as 10 years ago, the health elite dismissed them as “empty carbohydrates,” lovable but nutritionally bankrupt indulgences. What we should be eating, we were told, was protein—say, bacon and eggs. Ah, well. We’re now reduce animal fat and protein and to base our diets on complex carbohydrates—for example, whole grains. The kind you find in whole-grain pancakes. (While we’re on the subject, we’ve tested all our recipes with skim milk, and we’ve limited our own batters to one egg yolk. Try not to think about the odd cup of sour cream.)

Pancakes to the people, we say. Highbrow or low-, sophisticated or un-, elegant or in-, Americans love this sweet, rough meal. Which is probably why we never fight over it.

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