As soon as I heard about the fundraiser, I called dibs on the griddle. I debated about what kind of pancakes to make. I’m not a big believer in white flour but I wanted the cakes eaten, so I did add a little white flour to the mix I made. I ground up oatmeal and used cornmeal and rye, too, in addition to whole wheat and white flours. In what proportion, I am not sure. But I put in some brown sugar and that helped sell them to the average eater, too, I think. Not my usual mode of operation, but special occasions demand special treatment.
I also made a cornmeal rye mix to use. I think that was the best, really. I am such a huge fan of this flavor combo, and the texture is pretty great, too. Neither the cornmeal nor rye I use from Farmer Ground Flour are finely ground, so the pancakes bite you back a little bit.
I fell a little in love with the griddle. Big griddles can have really uneven heat, and Deirdre, the cook, warned me about the heat pattern on the 3 square feet I’d be using to make breakfast.
Compared to other big griddles I’ve tried to use, this one works great. Sure, there is a cool patch, but in general the 9 cakes I poured cooked at about the same rate.
Spatula in hand, I was in my element. I didn’t get a look at the room of people eating, but the pancakes kept vanishing. I had good human company in the kitchen but what I loved the most was the pancakes coming to life. What a thrill to watch them bubble up, cake by cake. Kind of like flowers opening on time lapse film. I love the bloom of food.
Jack was chopping potatoes, and Deirdre, who also has a kid in the fourth grade, was herding the potatoes and sausage in and out of the oven. Another parent stood next to me, making scrambled eggs. Even the kind of icky smell of eggs couldn’t beat my trip to Pancake Heaven.
I made about 150 pancakes for the contest. There were 8 competitors, one of whom had an egg allergy, so Jack made her quite a lot of egg free flapjacks. The contest cakes were so white compared to the others I made!
I did get to see a bit of the contest. Reigning champ Freddie came like a star wrestler, with a team of people hailing his prowess. BIG HEAT! A sign declared, and someone made a nice pancake emblem to put on his belt.
Contestants ate for 3 minutes steady, and each had a judge counting their progress. Freddie won again, eating 13 cakes. Afterward he had a plate of eggs and potatoes, too.
The kids made more than $600 in one fast morning. And I made a new friend, the griddle at the Albany Free School. I’m scheming about what I can cook there next.