There’s a reason IHOP and Denny’s are open all day and all night. There’s no bad time for pancakes, and it’s possible they taste even better when the moon’s out. But you know what’s even better than night pancakes?
Surprise night pancakes!
When you catch someone off guard with pancakes they weren’t expecting, how can they not be pleased as punch? (And this is coming from someone who does not deal well with surprises, in general. So.)
Oh, and this week’s date night notes not only call for surprise night pancakes, they call for colorful surprise night pancakes!
Basically, this is like getting a Groupon for painting canvases while drinking wine, except you don’t have to buy a Groupon and instead can drink whatever wine you want and create pancake masterpieces. And then eat them.
Ready for this?
• Whip up a batch of your favorite pancake batter. Or try one of these:
• Divide batter into several bowls (for as many colors as you’d like for your pancake artistry).
• Add desired food coloring to each bowl (usually 4-5 drops will do for the primary colors, adjust ratios for secondary colors), or use an all-natural coloring option.
• Fill a few squeeze bottles with the colored batter or use a plastic baggie, as you would when piping frosting.
• GO GET YOUR DATE and kindly pull them into the kitchen. It’s time to make some colorful surprise night pancakes!
(Note: At this point, your date might be confused. While pancakes are always exciting, the artistry component will probably be a new twist. So don’t be alarmed if they’re not immediately throwing on an apron and pretending they’re Picasso with a frying pan.)
• Do some vision casting. Below are some pancake art masters whose talents are something to aspire to, even though their pancakes are some of the flattest I’ve ever seen in my life.
(WARNING: Once you start searching for pancake art, you may find yourself down a YouTube blackhole of food art).
Homer Simpson Pancake Art by Tiger Tomato
Betty White by Dancakes
Just like a writer staring at a blank page, you might find yourself staring at a blank skillet with a kind of creative block you never knew existed. How does one express their artistry through pancakes?
While I can’t answer that for you, here are a few ideas to get you rolling.
• favorite cartoon character or video game character
• Team logo
• Portrait of your pet
• a turtle, a peacock, or some jellyfish
• A stained glass window
And here’s a few tips.
• Pick a design with 2-3 colors to start
• Outline first, let it set in the pan for a few seconds, then fill in.
• Advanced pancake artists will time up their design to let portions of their pancake cook longer, which serves to shade in their illustration.
This takes some practice, but hey, if colorful surprise night pancakes become a tradition for you all, maybe you’ll be giving the tutorials next time.
Rosa Parks’ Featherlite Pancakes
One last thing, while we’re on the subject of pancakes. A few months ago, the Library of Congress announced it had digitized their collection of Rosa Parks’ personal papers, letters, and photos. Tucked in alongside written reflections of the bus boycott, transcripts from other civil rights era actions, and a photo of her receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, you’ll also find her recipe for pancakes.
Her instructions for Featherlite Pancakes are scribbled on the back of an old bank envelope. (A bank that used to be right around the corner from the Lafayette Coney Island in Detroit if you know where that is).
The recipe calls for peanut butter. I haven’t made them yet, but I hear they’re pretty good.
I love that it this little scrap of paper is included in her corner of the archives, along with all the other important stuff. Because the little stuff is important stuff too.
I hope you enjoy some of the little stuff in your own life this week. Pancakes and otherwise.
Illustration (Top): Annie Liao
Rosa Parks Pancake Recipe Photo: Library of Congress
Parks, Rosa. Rosa Parks Papers: Miscellany, 1934 to 2005; Recipe for featherlite pancakes, undated. – 2005, 1934. Manuscript/Mixed Material.
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