pcake2.jpg I’m particular about my pancakes.

First, pancakes have to be made from scratch. Bisquick is unacceptable. I don’t have the most developed taste buds, but even I can taste the aluminum in Bisquick ‘cakes.

Second, pancakes must be served with real maple syrup. Syrup should have a taste — pseudo-syrups like Log Cabin and Aunt Jemima are appropriately sweet but they lack a discernable syrup taste (to my meager taste buds). But at least those poor imitators have the correct amber color: I still have nightmares about being served pancakes with clear Caro syrup at a friend’s house when I was a kid.

My pancake rules lead back to childhood. I grew up on pancakes made from scratch and served with real syrup, so to me, that’s the ideal pancake experience. Like Shuna Fish Lydon wrote on the KQED Food Blog, “What each likes and needs from a pancake is dependent on who made our first pancake taste and texture impression.”

I grew up on my dad’s pancakes. He used my grandmother’s recipe and it was a process: separating the egg yolks from the whites, beating the egg whites until stiff and then folding them into the batter. The result was thick, fluffy buttermilk ‘cakes.

Mr. WholeHog made his own pancakes as a kid from a recipe in the Betty Crocker kid’s cookbook. He has such strong associations with these ‘cakes that he borrowed the old cookbook from his mom and made them a few times. While he was still satisfied with these pancakes, I found them flavorless.

This posed a problem: we both liked pancakes, but we didn’t agree on a recipe…yet. Early in our relationship, we found an old San Francisco Chronicle recipe for pumpkin pancakes that we adapted to our tastes by upping the amount of spices. More recently, the gingerbread pancakes from the Gourmet cookbook have become a Sunday breakfast staple.


These ‘cakes are made with sour cream, molasses, and heaping scoops of ground ginger, cloves and cinnamon. Mr. WholeHog even puts a little sour cream on top of the pancakes while I believe that these ‘cakes pair magnificently with real maple syrup.


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