Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ode to a pancake

I am never one to shy away from food-related holidays, so I am here to gleefully proclaim that somebody has declared today National Pancake Day.

I’m a little confused on this one because Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, is Pancake Day, but at least it’s a Tuesday…I guess.

Thanks to the Google machine, I read today that you can put pancake batter into a clean, empty squeezable ketchup bottle. That’s a pretty handy tip.

If I have club soda in the house and I sometimes do because I’m a trifle odd that way, I put club soda in my pancakes. I like strawberry and blueberry pancakes, but the pancakes you get at restaurants that are regular pancakes with strawberry or blueberry slurry poured over the top are an abomination. And whipped cream: seriously? Pancakes aren’t rich enough for you? And fake maple syrup?

I can hardly type. [shudders]

Once when I was a kid and iHop restaurants were in little fake Swiss chalet-type buildings (do you remember those?) I really mean ONCE when I was a kid because I think I went to one iHop in my entire childhood. That is due to the practicality of my mom and then once I have told you my sad iHop pancake tale, you will understand that I thought iHop was a big disappointment.

Oh I left that first sentence unfinished: Once when I was a kid…I ordered strawberry pancakes at my one and only visit to an iHop in a cramped, wee, phony Swiss chalet-type building and although I think I tried to behave because that’s the sort of kid I was, I was secretly appalled at what I got.

I wonder if that was one of those moments when my parents saw the horrified look on my face and either laughed or felt sorry for me. I have been to iHop only two other times because this experience with the slurry marked me for life.

Stop laughing: I really mean it. It was traumatic!!

Way back when I was a kid, you see, we went camping at Kiser Lake in Ohio many weekends for summers in a row. Somewhere near the campground there was an enormous bush covered in wee strawberries like I have never seen since. They weren’t on the ground and they weren’t big. Actually, they were about the size of a pencil eraser, if memory serves.

I picked those with my brothers and once had the bright idea to carry them in my t-shirt. This left a huge stain on my t-shirt and I was pretty unhappy about that.

Never said I was smart.

Back at the tent, my dad would make pancakes and throw these tiny little berries in the batter before cooking them up and so I was delighted to discover them on the menu at a restaurant I normally had to stare at wistfully from the backseat as we drove home to have a sensible, inexpensive meal.

I suppose I was really fairly spoiled. But in a 1970s way, not in a 2000s way.

Clearly I had never been to an iHop before because I had no idea what was about to happen. I think it was my mom who looked at me and said, “Not what you expected, is it?” I don’t know if anyone tried to convince me ahead of time.

I was a little kid, so if they did try to explain, I didn’t listen. Word.

So today you can go into the larger-than-before iHop restaurants that no longer look like they were imported from a foreign country and have very little to do with anything remotely international if I dare say so and get a short stack of pancakes for free.

Only they aren’t really free. If you don’t make a donation to their charity, you will likely be glared at and someone might accidentally touch your pancakes with their thumb on purpose. It’s Children’s Miracle Network and if you take those pancakes without making a donation, you’ll feel bad.

My Hy-Vee grocery store is having an all-you-can-eat pancake bash today starting at 4:00 for $3.00 a person. I would go there before I went to iHop.

Heaven help them if they offer up *berry slurry.


allthingsjuice said...

Mmmm, pancakes. My problem is that I have a wee maple syrup problem. I actually drank some straight on a dare here at work. It was good.

A piece of news said...

I do, too! I hate fake maple syrup!

I also drink dill pickle brine. I have issues...

Rambling Woods said...

LOL..I love pancakes with a little real butter and a small amount of real maple syrup..but not too much and I hate those whipped cream things.. Yuck.... Geesh..I missed pancake day.. darn... Michelle