Tuesday, March 1, 2011

It’s Pancake Day in America and I’m Rollin’ Out my Favorite Short Stack!

No matter what you call ‘em: griddle or johhny cakes, flapjacks or crepes, pancakes are in the hearts and tastebuds of many right now, especially as Lent approaches. The official start date for Lent (this 2011) is March 8th, but the USA—getting a jump on things before the United Kingdom ushers in their fun tradition of pancake races on the eve of Ash Wednesday—is observing International Pancake Day on the first of this month. In fact, IHOP is serving complimentary short stacks all day long and putting diners’ proceeds toward Miracle Children’s Hospitals.

Pancakes Racing Through History…

As a foodie, I have to say I’m on board with the U.K.’s centuries’ old practice of—with hotcakes in mind—clearing out their pantries and cupboards for that one last indulgent feast before Lent; really….pancakes do seem like the best use of those materials on Fat Tuesday. Across the Pond, pancake races are internationally televised—people running with skillets in hand and tossing flapjacks in the air as high as they’ll go. The tradition was born of a the tale of a long ago housewife who was so busy preparing the family’s breakfast on the morning they were all due at church that she ran outside with flapjacks still in her skillet when the church bells started going off.

It seems pancakes were all the rage long before this charming story ever took place, with anthropologists and archaelogists claiming them as one of the first foods primitive man ever enjoyed. Fast forward to know and watch pancakes circle the globe (there’s even a Banana Pancake Trail tourists love to dine on in South East Asia) in popularity—served every which way, under every topping under the sun, sweet or savory, loaded with goodies, thick or thin…okay, most of us are craving syrupy carbs right now, which is why I want to talk relatively guilt-free pancakes.

Whole-Wheat Pancakes on Fat Tuesday!

My Whole Wheat Pancakes with Strawberry Syrup are the purest of the pure when it comes to ingredients—and who doesn’t want to be pure right before Lent? The syrup is achieved simply by bringing water, strawberries and honey to a boil; this is a welcome recipe, especially now that strawberries appear to be back on sale at the supermarket. These whole wheat hotcakes are Particularly wonderful given their three and a half-inch thickness – or 3 ½ -inch thickness, reminding you of how you’ll be fortified all day long because it’s such a yummy challenge to get everything up on your fork!

If you plan to set a nice and festive breakfast table in honor of Mardi Gras, it might be kindof fun to lay out purple, green and gold napkins. Purple for justice, green for faith and gold for power; these are Mardi Gras’ official colors, set in motion in the early 19th Century when Russia's Grand Duke, Alexis Romanoff visited New Orleans during the grand event, decreeing these were the best colors for Fat Tuesday…apparently it was to impress a girl. Color coordinated breakfast or no, German pancakes are magnifique. Laissez les bons temps rouler—Let the good times roll, everybody!

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