Freeze column: Speed pancake eating the next Olympic sport?

  • Posted: Friday, April 26, 2013 12:24 a.m.

After the events of the last couple of weeks, I thought it might be time to share a lighthearted column about a recent practice of mine.

As I’ve said before, I don’t experiment much with new foods. However, just a few weeks ago, I hit on an idea that has a bright future. OK, that might just be my opinion.

Just this week, we have three beginning runners classes completing six weeks of training on the way to eight. Each group meets once a week together and first on the agenda each night is 30 minutes in a classroom setting. We talk about various topics that are important to anyone who wants improved fitness. This week’s topic is nutrition, and I got to talk about my favorite things that help provide energy before exercise and during recovery afterwards. Some of my favorite foods that top the list are bagels, bananas, yogurt and power bars. My daughters and a few ex-girlfriends think that’s all I eat. However, all the girlfriends who hung around for a while, as well as all the ex-wives, know that I have a huge love affair with pancakes.

Nothing is better than a good stack of pancakes after a hard workout. I know all the good places to get pancakes in town. Currently, my favorite is the Farmhouse at Old Concord Road and Jake Alexander Boulevard. They are large, but light and fluffy and very reasonably priced. Those adjectives describe the best pancakes for me.

One of my other goals is to do things fast. My day starts very early with a run, and usually I try to push the pace. Doing things faster, often combining them to do speed multi-tasking is quite a bit of fun. My favorite way to have pancakes at home is to open the freezer, pop out a couple of pre-made ones and microwave them. Then I eat them while doing something else. In the last month or so, the prices of pre-made pancakes and waffles have been rising in the breakfast frozen food section. Just yesterday, I heard that we should get ready for a serious increase in anything that includes flour.

Here is my plan for a good breakfast. Aunt Jemima’s pancake mix is still pretty reasonable. I prefer the buttermilk mix. Aunt Jemima’s Syrup is pretty good too. The whole box is usually less than just one package of 12 pre-made frozen pancakes. The syrup isn’t bad either and lasts a really long time. I am a minimum user of syrup anyway. Recently I discovered that the My Essentials buttermilk pancake mix is even cheaper and is very good.

Combine all this with the need for speed and maybe a little competition. I thought, “Why not speed pancake eating?” Having a good breakfast, making it faster — and having more time to do something else. What could be better?

Here’s what I do. I keep a good size Tupperware bowl for mixing batter, a non-stick frying pan and a non-stick spatula (had some trouble spelling that word) ready to go. In a matter of five minutes, I can mix the batter, spray the pan and have the heat up on the stove. All that sounds pretty normal, doesn’t it? Here is where the speed part kicks in. I make one large pancake, letting it bubble a little bit before flipping. Proper burner temperature is key. Less than a minute per pancake. Once done, I flip it onto a paper plate, quickly dab a small amount of syrup and then let it sit for about 15 seconds.

That short pause is all it takes for me to pour the next pancake and let it start cooking. I have that one minute now to eat the first pancake. Perfect timing is required as I put down the fork and flip the new pancake just before finishing the last bite of the first one. Precision does not allow for multiple flips.

A total of 10 minutes, start through cleanup is pretty good. Next week, I hope to cut it all down to eight minutes and 30 seconds, maybe by becoming a left handed flipper while continuing to eat with my right hand.

There are definite possibilities here. Mixing berries or bananas in the pancake mix, then speeding it up by practicing often, makes for a nutritious and competitive fun plan. Speed pancake eating — you heard it here first. I am thinking of having an early morning class or two. You might want to get a jump on others before the sport really catches on.

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