The Dying Art of PaNcAkEs…and Food in General

     If my theory is correct, then fewer and fewer people are making pancakes from scratch. This theory is based on observations made over the past half of my life. These days, people are straight surprised to discover that anyone makes their own pancakes anymore. Forget that they taste better than Aunt Jemima’s (which were really Chris Rutt and Charles Underwood’s). When Iris made apple cinnamon compote to go with my apple cinnamon pancakes, her dad was thinking the pancakes were made from their Bob’s Red Mill pancake mix, and was more impressed with the compote. Rightly so, until I explained that the pancakes were also apple cinnamon, and no pancake mix was harmed in the making of my pancakes. He took it all back. But I could have eaten all that compote with a spoon.
     It is a real fact that fewer people cook in general than in the good old days. Dare I expand that to know how to cook in the first place? Somewhere between Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon and the manipulative advertising of the Food Network, author Michael Pollan explains the evolution of cooking and the phenomenon of the ever-sprouting laziness of Americans in his New York Times article “Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch” (mentioned by TreeHugger here). Can you imagine being responsible for feeding a family, yet spending less than 30 minutes a day preparing all food? That’s how long it takes the average American today, though one must wonder what demographic(s) of Americans were surveyed for this statistic. So basically, people use their supposed allotted food prepping time to instead (of course) watch TV with Rachael and Bobby throwing food in the air, or Anthony Bourdain throwing food into his mouth–because how many food shows actually show how to make a meal anymore?
     The series of events for producing a meal has dwindled over time. Painfully sardonic food researcher Harry Balzer notes, “A hundred years ago, chicken for dinner meant going out and catching, killing, plucking and gutting a chicken. Do you know anybody who still does that? It would be considered crazy!” I mean, that definitely depends on the country you’re in, but we can see his point. You can’t even call it cutting corners; people are simply giving their cooking responsibilities to fast food restaurants, frozen pizza and Lean Cuisine.
     Balzer argues there is nothing to be done about the cooking situation in America, but I’d like to think there are enough people out there who do in fact care about what they’re putting in their bodies and how it gets there. Because if you eat carelessly without paying mind to the nutrients you’re not getting or the toxins you are, then sooner or later if you don’t already have a health condition that leaves you with no choice but to carefully inspect all your chow, you’ll likely get one eventually.
     Moral of this story obviously is: make your own damn pancakes.
Breakfast of champions
New York Times’ Everyday Pancakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar, optional
2 eggs
1½ to 2 cups milk
2 tablespoons melted and cooled butter (optional), plus unmelted butter for cooking, or use neutral oil.
1. Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium-low heat. In a bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Beat eggs into 1½ cups milk, then stir in 2 tablespoons melted cooled butter, if using it. Gently stir this mixture into dry ingredients, mixing only enough to moisten flour; don’t worry about a few lumps. If batter seems thick, add a little more milk.
2. Place a teaspoon or 2 of butter or oil on griddle or skillet. When butter foam subsides or oil shimmers, ladle batter onto griddle or skillet, making pancakes of any size you like. Adjust heat as necessary; usually, first batch will require higher heat than subsequent batches. Flip pancakes after bubbles rise to surface and bottoms brown, after 2 to 4 minutes.
3. Cook until second side is lightly browned. Serve, or hold on an ovenproof plate in a 200-degree oven for up to 15 minutes.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings (begs the question: how much is a serving?).
Blueberry or Banana Pancakes: Use fresh or frozen (not defrosted) blueberries; overripe bananas are great. Just before cooking, stir blueberries into batter. For bananas, slice them and press into surface of cooking pancakes. Cook pancakes a little more slowly than you would other pancakes as they burn more easily.
Whole-Grain Pancakes: Substitute whole wheat flour, cornmeal, rolled oats or a combination for up to 1 cup of flour and proceed with recipe.
Found here

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