A Brief History
On September 26, 2019, we celebrate yet another National Pancake Day, a major holiday (to us!) that we previously discussed back in 2013. So why readdress National Pancake Day, you may ask? Because pancakes rule!!! Whether you call them pancakes, hotcakes, flapjacks, or for the snobbish elites, “crepes,” (a particular variety of pancake presumably for special occasions, and yes, we enjoy them too…), pancakes are wonderful breakfast or anytime comfort food. Today we discuss where lovers of the fluffy flat flour power treats should go to enjoy their regal repast.
1. At Home.
Pancakes can be made from “scratch,” using common ingredients such as white flour, water, eggs, sugar, baking powder, salt, and milk, and you can add your own fruits or other flavorings to customize your creation to your own satisfaction. Pancake mixes that require only water added to create the batter are available, as are other mixes requiring different ingredients added. You can even pick up pre-made frozen pancakes at your local grocery that can be quickly microwaved into steaming fresh breakfast or snacks. (Note: While we do indeed eat frozen pancakes, the fresh made variety is clearly superior.) Variations include the type of flour used, the thickness of the batter, how thoroughly the flapjack is cooked and at what temperature, the size and/or shape of the cake and of course, special ingredients and toppings. Even the varieties of syrup are almost endless, from the old stand-by genuine Maple syrup (the best!), to no-sugar or reduced sugar types, artificially maple flavored corn based syrups (most of them nowadays), molasses, syrup with fruit flavoring, almond or pecan flavored syrups, and so forth. (Be sure to tell us your favorite type of syrup.) Your home built nannercakes can also be topped with or without butter or margarine, powder sugar, whipped cream, Bavarian cream, sweet cream cheese, fresh or preserved fruits or jellies or whatever your imagination demands. One absolute necessity: Be sure to make enough batter and use a large enough griddle to satisfy all the hungry mouths you intend to feed!
2. International House of Pancakes (IHOP).
Truly an appropriately named restaurant, IHOP has over 1800 locations worldwide, including in South America and the Middle East. Along with their regular menu items, IHOP frequently offers special seasonal versions of their pancakes, as do most breakfast-oriented eateries. Having enjoyed some IHOP pancakes just this week, the author heartily gives his endorsement of their signature product.
Another restaurant largely concentrating on wonderful breakfast foods, Denny’s has always offered excellent pancakes with an intoxicating flavor. Last year the company reformulated their pancake recipe, which we were scared to death might ruin their iconic flapjacks (think “New Coke”). What a relief! The new, fluffier version was delicious and a worthy successor to one of the restaurant chains main items. Oh, and with over 1600 restaurants across the globe, Denny’s is right behind IHOP in providing quality pancake experience. (Note: Denny’s has excellent coffee!)
4. Bob Evans.
Although boasting only about a third as many restaurants as Denny’s, Bob Evans is a Midwestern mainstay, having provided quality meals since 1948 in Southern Ohio. The original diner became famous for its breakfast sausage and rode that success into expanding its restaurant business and creating a foods division that sold its sausage and other products directly to the public via grocery stores. Breakfast at Bob Evan’s is a tradition for many in the Midwest, and for many of those hearty eaters a favorite part of breakfast are the delicious pancakes served up there. As with Denny’s, Bob Evans serves a particularly great variety of coffee, which goes rather well with their pancakes.
5. Perkins Restaurant and Bakery.
Ohio can proudly claim to be the birthplace of 2 of the greatest sources of pancakes, in this case Perkins, originally called Perkins Pancake House, founded in 1958 in Cincinnati, Ohio. With 342 locations, Perkins may not be the giant that IHOP and Denny’s can claim to be, but like Bob Evans, Perkins is still a major player in the slinging of quality pancakes and other breakfast items. While the restaurant chain has sought to expand its clientele beyond those seeking breakfast, the original name is a clue as to how seriously they take pancakes. Yes, their pancakes are great, and we are known to partake in that very same repast on frequent occasions. Oh, and their coffee is also quite good!
6. Fast Food Restaurants.
While not exactly an ideal choice, sometimes our busy schedules do not allow for a leisurely meal of enjoying our pancakes (and of course, coffee), so the convenience of the local drive through of a major fast food chain may provide at least a form of pancakes to hold you over until you can find the time to enjoy a more substantial variety of flapjack. We rate the fast food variety about like the frozen type, not great, but in a pinch they will have to do!
7. Your local diner or breakfast nook.
Many small restaurants of the local diner or breakfast restaurant variety may serve quality pancakes without the fame and price of better known large chains. Of course, their quality may also be less than stellar, so you have to try them to find out if there is a hidden gem in your own backyard. Many of these mom and pop type diners do indeed offer hearty food at a reasonable price, including our favorite, pancakes. Find out which places meet your standards and by all means spread the word!
Question for students (and subscribers): What is your favorite place to enjoy pancakes? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Campbell, Karly. Stack Happy: 70 Flipping Delicious Flapjack Recipes for Breakfast, Dinner, and Dessert. Front Table Books, 2015.
Herd, Tim. Maple Sugar: From Sap to Syrup: The History, Lore, and How-To Behind This Sweet Treat. Storey Publishing, 2011.
Watson, S.L. Ultimate Breakfast Cookbook: Eggs, Pancakes, Coffee Cakes, Casseroles, Cinnamon Rolls & More! Amazon Digital Services, 2018.
The featured image in this article, a U.S. Air Force Photograph by Dan Rohan of pancakes and syrup at a pancake feed event, is a work of a U.S. Air Force Airman or employee, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image or file is in the public domain in the United States.