#965 Building a stack of pancakes that looks just like the front of the box

The goal

It’s no joke and it takes teamwork, timing, and trust, but building a stack of pancakes that looks just like the front of the box can be one of the most rewarding breakfast experiences of your life. Here’s how you can make the magic happen:

1. Assemble a team. You will need a Cook, a Condimenter, and a Table-Setter. The Cook should be an early riser and self-starter. They need to have the skill and confidence required to make breakfast for a group as well as a basic understanding of what a circle looks like. Your Condimenter needs to understand the value of real butter and decent maple syrup and know where to find it. A driver’s license is necessary here. And lastly, there’s the Table-Setter. Prior experience is mandatory. Also a plus is the ability to fold napkins into nice triangles.

2. Night-Before Prep Work. Yes, the show begins the night before. The Condimenter needs to make sure all the key ingredients are in the house. Is there enough powder in the pancake box? Is the tap water running okay? How about the syrup and butter? If necessary, make a list and go to the store before it closes. We don’t want to find out in the morning that something’s missing. Nobody will sleep well not knowing.

3. Rest up. It doesn’t matter what time you go to sleep. Just make sure you squeeze enough solid hours of golden slumbers in there to power up the juices and get the engine revving the next morning. Remember: groggy kitchen work is sloppy kitchen work. Nobody likes an oblong pancake.

The spider pancake

4. Wake up and get down to pancakes. Showtime! Now it’s the Cook’s time to shine. This job is not for the weak minded. The Cook must first set the oven to a low temperature, because that’s going to be the holding bay until a full stack of pancakes are ready. This isn’t going to be one of those “Got a fresh one on the frying pan — who wants it!” type of days. This is a slow building crescendo towards a massive stack of pancakes. Let’s not forget that. Once we’ve got the oven set low, the Cook starts doing their thing — tying their hair into a bandana if necessary, getting the frying pan warmed up, mixing the batter. The Cook must be able to sacrifice their own rumbling stomach for the good of the group. There can be no breaks until the full stack of pancakes are cooked, kept warm, and ready to serve. The Table-Setter must be busy here too, pulling out the silverware, laying out the plates, and folding napkins. And rounding out this majestic circus-like performance is the Condimenter, busy pouring juice and jigsawing perfect squares of butter.

Team, remember what we’re playing for here: a towering stack of hot, fluffy pancakes drizzled with sweet, slow-moving syrup, delicately topped with a thick, perfectly melting square of butter.

Yes, it takes a bit of time. Yes, it takes real effort. And yes, you will require a solid lineup of team players who never take their eyes off the end goal. But what could be more fun on a weekend morning than creating your very own stack of pancakes that looks just like the front of the box? (Hint: Nothing.)


What we're playing for