What is it about pancakes? Why can't I ever make them pretty? Sure, they always taste fine, in fact pretty darn good if I use a from-scratch recipe such as my favorite, lemon blueberry cornmeal pancakes with maple-berry topping. But no matter how many times I alter the heat of the pan or the viscosity of the batter, it seems that my pancakes are always ugly. They are always too dark or too light or they have weird ring patterns or blotchy spots or some yucky combination of these things. And no pancake is ever like another, since the pan never seems to stay at the same temperature long enough to even make both sides of the same pancake match!
Earlier this week I watched the movie Matilda for the first time in many years. Remember that scene where she is about four years old and making pancakes for herself for breakfast? When she first turns them over, they are a little burned, and then as she flips them up in the air and onto the plate they are perfectly golden brown on both sides. When I was younger I assumed that the sudden pancake perfection was a purposeful tribute to Matilda's "powers", but as I re-watched the film I thought that perhaps it was simply an inconsistency in filming that nobody worried about in editing because, hey, Matilda has magical powers so any of those little blips could basically be overlooked. Whether the transformation of the pancakes was purposeful or not, I find myself tremendously jealous of Matilda's ability to make a previously ugly pancake perfect and beautiful.
And restaurants. I mean, how do they do it? I have never had an ugly pancake at IHOP or Village Inn. What's the deal? Even at McDonald's the pancakes are pretty. I think that I am capable of preparing pancakes that are better-tasting and better for me than those in the restaurants. But mine are ugly, and it's aggravating. Visual presentation is just such an important factor in preparing a good meal. Everything that is pretty tastes better.
Can anyone teach me how to make pancakes that are beautiful as well as delicious? Because that would seriously improve my quality of life.
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