Tuesday, February 23, 2010

SURVIVAL SKILLS: How to Eat Pancakes

Some of you have doubtless witnessed my pancake eating system firsthand. Still others have seen the movie My Blue Heaven, from which I learned it, many years ago. Regardless, as I spent the first half of the day today at International House of Pancakes on their free short stack of pancakes day, I figured it would make a good blog post. More on the system in a bit, but first, while I'm not usually a sucker for charity type stuff, Lou the owner/operator of my local IHOP stood up and announced on the restaurant PA system, that last year, the people of Brick helped his store become the number two collector nationwide for the Children's Miracle Network charity, and he said that if they pull in $15k today, they would very likely be number one. Like a sucker, I donated twenty bucks. However, since about 95% of the audience for free pancakes were local high school students, I felt like I had to compensate for some of their likely-to-be-awful donations.

Now, on to the system. The basic purpose of the system is to provide an equal amount of syrup to every bite of pancakes through using a moderate amount of prep work up front, instead of whatever mess of a system you currently use. (Dipping, smothering, etc.) At the end of the post, I'll endeavor to post a YouTube video of me actually performing the system on my stack of pancakes, if I can get that to work. Throughout the post, the photos are of my friend Jackie attempting to use the system for the first time.

STEP 1: Apply butter normally, by lifting each pancake, and spreading butter on the one below. This is the only effective way to transmit the butter throughout the stack as it is a solid at room temperature, and when melted it's difficult to control.

STEP 2: Align the stack of pancakes so you have a more or less uniform stack. You don't want to have one of your pancakes too far off center, or step 3 will be far more difficult.

STEP 3: Cut your stack of pancakes as you would a pizza. That is to say, cut it into eighths. Now, your first instinct is going to be to stab your fork tines into the pancakes to stabilize the stack for cutting. This is not recommended. Instead, lay the fork flat (curved side down as shown in the picture) on the pancakes, and cut between the two center tines. This will help mitigate excessive tearing along the edges of your cuts. The goal here is to keep your slices very tight, and keep the stack more or less aligned as described in step 2. A helpful tip for the cutting is to turn your plate and cut the same direction, all the way across the stack every time. Doing this will allow you to make only 4 cuts, and prevent any awkward wrong-handed cutting.

STEP 4: Now you may apply your syrup. Do so at the center of the stack, at the junction of the cuts. The slices you made in step 3 will serve as natural channels, carrying syrup throughout the stack. You may apply as much or as little syrup as you like, and the system should still work.
As you can see from a cross section of my stack above, the system is self-regulating, and does not result in the bottom pancakes being saturated. Through a miracle of science, syrup is transmitted equally through the stack to each piece.

Here is the link for the video: http://youtube.com/nerdsherpa, (Yeah, it goes silent about 30 seconds in. One take, people! Shot on an iPhone! Some day, I'll get editing software.)

@nerdsherpa, philanthropist and carbohydrate engineer.


  1. Haha. Loved the video! Makes me wish I hadn't forgotten about pancake day.

  2. "International House of Pancakes...people of Brick..."

    So this was a Brick! ... House (of Pancakes)?

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.