NEW CASTLE —
I’ve never been a pancake eater, but occasionally I enjoy a fresh waffle — like the half of buckwheat waffle I recently ordered, Egg Beaters on the side.
Waffles are crispier, and the waffle windows seem to make eating waffles lighter than eating pancakes. I rarely use sugary syrup — only real maple syrup when it’s available. Otherwise, I’m happy with a plain waffle.
What do you like better? Waffles or pancakes? You can vote by going to www.jamesonhealth.org/ornish and click on the link named “pancakes or waffles.”
I took an informal poll and so far discovered that waffles have a slight popularity edge over pancakes because of their crispiness. Waffle eaters pointed out that besides their crispiness, waffles are portable. The frozen waffles can be taken to work for toasting or microwaving. They also work great in children’s lunch boxes.
A waffle enthusiast pointed out that pancakes soak up too much of the syrup, while waffles hold the syrup in the little wells.
Waffles also can double as both breakfast and dessert, depending on if you eat them with syrup or top them with fat-free ice cream. You can also order your fat-free frozen yogurt or ice cream in a “waffle” cone. Don’t forget the popularity of the pizzelle cookie, which after all, is a fancy, thin, wispy waffle.
So the versatility and variety of the waffle makes it the clear winner.
However, it’s the comfort and predictability of the pancake that helps raise it to equal the status of the waffle. Whether ordering them out or eating in, ordering pancakes for the pancake lover is like calling up the warmth of hearth and home in a short stack. No doubt, pancakes are comfort food. Try to throw some whole grain flour into the recipe, if you can.
The fun part about making pancakes, also called Johnny cakes or flap jacks, is that if you are crafty you can shape them. The round “ladled” pancake is the most popular because of its ease of preparation. It is said that in ancient times, the round pancake symbolized the sun.
However, some people create letters of the alphabet or other shapes with the batter. The joy of the heart-shaped pancake in my household began by accident when my Mickey Mouse pancakes kept losing their shape on the griddle. It was a quick creative gesture to default mouse ears to the shape of a heart. I just added some extra batter to the bottom of the pancake to make a pointed tip and, presto, heart-shaped pancakes became the hit of the morning.
Silver dollar pancakes are also sometimes popular because they are smaller so you get more of them on your stack. A tower of pancakes can be a breakfast or dinner monstrosity. Ten silver dollar pancakes create a tower of yum — so I’ve heard.
The fancy French cousin of the pancake is the crepe. It is thinner and has more egg in the batter than our American pancake. And of course, they are rolled.
Crepes can be made with wheat flour, slightly sweetened, and filled with fruit or with lemon crème. They can also be served as a savory dish, unsweetened, made with buckwheat flour, and filled with cheese, asparagus, ham, spinach, eggs, vegetables, mushrooms, artichoke, and various breakfast meats.
Now if you ask me, the savory crepe sounds a lot like one of our American omelets. Wait, isn’t an omelet French, too?
No matter how you like your pancakes, rolled or stacked, fancy or plain, remember that March 4 is National Pancake Day, which is fast approaching. National Pancake Day always coincides with Shrove Tuesday — also known as Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras — an observance of Lenten season that signifies the last day before Ash Wednesday, which launches a fasting period in many Christian cultures.
Apple Pancakes with Cider Syrup
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2/3 cup finely chopped peeled apple
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 2/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
- Egg substitute for 1 egg
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2/3 cup apple cider or juice
- 1 cinnamon stick (1-1/2 inches)
Dash ground nutmeg
In a small bowl, combine the first six ingredients; stir in apple and raisins.
Combine the low-fat buttermilk, egg substitute, and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients.
Pour batter by heaping 1/4 cupfuls onto a hot griddle lightly sprayed with cooking spray; turn when bubbles form on top. Cook until the second side is lightly browned.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and cider until smooth; add cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Discard cinnamon stick. Stir nutmeg into syrup. Serve pancakes with warm syrup.
Yield: 6 pancakes (2/3 cup syrup).