Saturday, October 27, 2007

Your standard pan, you know, cake

Saturday morning. Nice day. Good night of sleep. I decided I would make the lovely Violet a pancake breakfast, which was to consist of pancakes. (I realize using the term "breakfast" may be misleading - it sounds like there were side dishes, OJ, etc. Nope, just the cakes.)

So I pulled out the pancake mix and began the preparation. It wasn't long before I realized it wasn't your standard pancake mix, it was something quite alien. By alien, I mean it was the manual mix.

Damn. I hate the manual mix. If a recipe requires more than adding water, I'm lost.

No worries, I thought. I can do this.

So I pulled out the other ingredients - oil, eggs, milk. I stood gazing at the recipe for about ten minutes, trying to reduce the "8 to 11 cakes" down to four. Finally, I decided, screw it! I didn't need this Jemima bitch telling me what to do. I tossed in a couple of eggs, a drip of oil, then mixed in milk until it was the consistency of... something that would be, you know, a similar consistency to pancake batter.

Apparently it wasn't thick enough, because when I put it on the griddle, the cakes immediately ran together. I tried using the spatula as a batter-dam for a while, but gave up when it oozed around the edges and made contact anyway. "Just let the bastards cook," I said to myself, "and see how they come out."

Then I began to experience cake-flip anxiety. Will they flip cleanly? Will there be side-slippage? Overlap? Will the color be consistent? I broke a sweat.

By that time, not only had they run together, but also in the other direction, all the way to the lip of the griddle. So I would have to flip them with a sort of diagonal gesture, a fluid motion. This would require a level of grace I'm simply not known for.

Upon flipping the first one, all of my fears were realized. Slippage, overlap, burn. Half of the first cake flipped off the edge of the griddle, the other half went on top of the second cake. Long story short, I had to abort the entire first batch of cakes.

Luckily, the kitchen sink was directly behind me so at least THAT motion was graceful. I cursed the stove manufacturer, the rough edge of the spatula and whoever invented the dish. Sir Richard "Flap" Jackson, if I'm not mistaken.

Upon beginning anew with a fresh, clean griddle, I applied the batter, only less this time. Suddenly, I realized I had started without allowing proper warming time.

The new, smaller pancakes ran like a mother.

This time I was able to salvage them by turning the burner to the "spot weld" setting for about two minutes. It froze the cakes in their tracks and restored my smile. Which, at this point, had become more of a smirk. I was ten seconds from hitting the McDonalds drive-thru.

Anyway, the second batch worked. They weren't great, but at least edible. Em dutifully consumed the cakes with a smile. Maybe more of a smirk.

I snapped this picture of the aftermath. Some of the mess is visible, but it's not a perfect representation of "pancake ground-zero." Note that the cake is quite well done. That's from the "spot weld" maneuver. Also note the clear signs of side-slippage.


Annie Jones said...

That's not a bad looking flapjack, but I doubt you'll ever work the line at IHOP.

Violet said...

Dave - The pancakes were awesome. I actually prefer the manual mix, because I think the cakes are more fluffy and light. You did an excellent job...

I'm sorry the whole ordeal caused you so much inner turmoil. I would've been fine with frozen waffles.

Ari said...

Pancakes are indeed one of the more deceptively difficult things to make, thus explaining the popularity of IHOP. The thought counts most, of course! Juan R. at your local hashslingery doesn't put in near the love that you did. His expertise, while expert, is cold and unfeeling.

Now I've gone on far too long.

Weary Hag said...

What a darling you are! Ed makes me Buckwheat pancakes every single Sunday morning. He's done them from scratch but also prefers the automatic style. Next time you make pancakes, try buckwheat (I dare you to try them without thinking of the Little Rascals) and see what a marvelous poop they induce in about three hours time. No cramping, no rushing, all you do is sit on the throne and enjoy moment.

Am I the only person you know who can take a nice topic like pancakes for the wife and turn it into terlit-talk? Sorry.

Crystal said...

1. nice countertops

2. nice way to score points with your lady! my ex-boyfriend used to fry up an egg overhard and lay it on my forehead. it's the thought that counts, right?

3. next time you cook pancakes, you should try this. it's like ez-cheese, only better.

Erin O'Brien said...

Hey man, I feel your pain. I bought the wrong mix once man and it was one bad mother of a scene: torn pancakes, shitty burnt pancakes, undercooked pancakes.

Not pretty. Good luck next time.

Lee Ann said...

Wow, I am impressed. They look good!
Plus, she got the sweet topping that came along with them (you).

You get extra credit for trying so hard.
Have a good week!
Lee Ann

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Maybe you should let Violet change the kids diapers for a while.