In the delicious spirit of How to Make Toast and Where Frosting Belongs and The Great American Brownies Debate, I bring you:  The Pancake Rules — where we will properly crowdsource the rules of how to properly create, serve, cut and eat the ordinary pancake.

I love a good pancake.  I now prefer them as plain — and healthy! — as possible, but as a young chum, I frequented iHOP, The International House of Pancakes, and spent a lot of eating time filling up on double-chocolate chocolate chip pancakes with triple chocolate whipped cream and a doppio hot fudge drizzle:  Was I eating a stack of pancakes or a really dry malted milkshake?

The perfect pancake should be golden and light and fluffy.  Embedding fruit or other sweets into the cake itself is not recommended because the whole experience then becomes about the addition and not the substance.

I can’t imagine eating more than a stack of three pancakes at a time.  I’ve seen people stack the cakes six tall and cut the cakes and mash a forked mouthful of six chunks of pancakes into an open mouth as a first bite, and I don’t think that sort of over-indulgence does a stomach any good.

Cutting the pancake is an Art. I’ve witnessed amateurs who pre-cut their stack in geometric pie shapes using just their fork. I find that wasteful and indulgent. Knives cut. Forks stab. Yes, knives stab, too, but not in the pancake crowdsourcing world.

Why not just cut slivers of cake as you methodically move through the stack from the edges? This isn’t a donut that deserves proper pre-planning to finish with the hole intact to preserve the perfect last bite; nay, this is a massive blanket of golden goodness that should be allowed to retain its heat while being bitten and swallowed.

I am also astonished by those who pre-butter and then soak their pancakes in syrup before a single slice is made.  That makes for an immediately mushy experience.  It is much better to season as you go — to guarantee both freshness of the mouth and surprises for the eye.

What are your rules for eating pancakes?

Have you witnessed any sort of pancake eating abominations in others that you’d like to share with us today?

29 Comments

  1. I agree season as you go is the best. I like little silver dollar sized pancakes – and this next part might be a little gross – I eat them with my hand, roll them up and dip them in syrup – kind of Indian style.
    But never in a restaurant – then it is just slice, season and eat. Like a proper lady.

    1. Love the folding! Smart to make them finger food. I grew up with people who would make a bunch of silver dollar sized pancakes and then refrigerate them so they could snack on them cold for the next day or so. I tried that a time or two, but the chilling somehow changed the taste in a bad way.

  2. David,

    The most unpleasant way I’ve ever seen pancakes eaten is with slabs of bacon in between it like a pancake bacon monster. Stinky and unhealthy!

    I also stick with three when it comes to pancakes — good number. However, i generally top pancakes with a bit of extra virgin olive oil — makes it more of a hearty meal than a sweet one but delicious nevertheless!

  3. oh what big pancakes you have …………………………. ours are very much thinner, and not fluffly at all – much as french crepes are. Ours come in thin slivers stacked and you help yourself to one add your flavour/condiment of choice – lemon and sugar in my case .

        1. yumm, that is about how I eat them too, so guess it isn’t so strange after all. I think crepes might be catching on here. I see the crepe stands popping up all over – Japanese style, with different fruit and fruit sauces on them as well as whipped cream. Do they eat them like this in your neck of the woods too?

  4. @twistnpout they do derve them with fresh fruits here and a horrible array of sauces – the special ones are served with the whipped egg yolks and sugar mix that looks like a yellow birds nest!

  5. I use this stuff and it isn’t too bad – the key is to shake real hard and add more water as you go so it stays liquid y and loses that lumpiness. It makes for thinner, smaller pancakes, a little more crepe like.

    It sure beats my homemade pancakes – talk about awful!

      1. Yeah – I know they can be not so great, but i usually have to start with them as a base and doctor them up a bit. Sadly I am not a great cook and it is one thing I never really had any desire to improve upon, I make a few things from scratch, but most the time I make do with the instant.

  6. I agree that three is about the limit! I never bother ordering big stacks anymore– I ordered only two during a late night run to a diner two nights ago and still couldn’t finish them!

    A friend who was at the diner with me actually started eating his pancakes from the middle and worked his way to the edges, which I thought was weird. How do you even start a habit like that?

    1. Pancakes are definitely made to fill you up — and make you carb sleepy, too! SMILE!

      Now that’s a fancy pancakes eating trick! I wonder if all the warm and gooey goodness is at the enter — because the edges are already cooling too much? You should ask your friend about his method!

      1. David– I have a followup! I interrogated my friend about his method and you were right. He insists that you have to eat the center first because it’s never as good as it is in those first five minutes.