Setting the Table
The dish that I will be making for class is a well-known item known as pancakes. Pancakes, also referred to as hotcakes, can be cooked on a frying pan with oil. Pancakes are made up of flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar for the dry ingredients. After the dry ingredients, you mix it with butter and eggs. There are a variety of ways to make pancakes, but this is the traditional way and there are many components you can add such as blueberries or chocolate chips to add a little flavor. Normally today, you see people mainly eating pancakes for an early morning meal called breakfast. A lot of people also like to eat pancakes at any time of the day because of the simple process of making them. The main focus on who makes pancakes traditionally or for a religious purpose is people with Christianity beliefs. Romans ate pancakes typically with honey to sweeten them up. They would eat them on a holiday known as Shrove Tuesday. This holiday meant a day of feasting or eating large amounts at the beginning of Lent. Lent lasts about six weeks up until Easter. Christians celebrate Lent in a way where some people give up an item that is important to them, like sweets, for that six-week period. Also, during this time some may celebrate this traditionally where when Ash Wednesday starts, they cannot eat meat, fish, eggs, and fats until that Easter Sunday. They do this because of the resurrection of Jesus at Easter. Going into Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day, this specific holiday that involves the consumption of Pancakes and it is the last day before Lent begins. You could look at this like people who participate, ate all of the things you cannot eat during lent right before it began because the items that are restricted at this time would expire. I would argue that this dish is in fact considered religious because of why and when they do this. Christians in particular because it starts the season of Ash Wednesday and Lent. The foods or ingredients that are condemned of lent are mainly the ingredients to make pancakes! When attempting to make this dish, I do not think I will run into any complications because I am familiar with making it with my family on some mornings. I might run into a problem where maybe I might put too much of an ingredient like butter or flour which could mess up the outcome. I was attracted to making pancakes because I looked up a religious dish on google, it was one of the first things that popped up, and I did not know Shrove Tuesday was a thing, so it seemed like an interesting topic to research. Overall, I think that pancakes were a good choice for a food to make just because of the originality and most people can learn where they came from. I also think that most people do not know why people celebrate Shrove Tuesday and its’ importance to the Christians before their famous “holiday,” Lent.
The history of Pancakes goes back quite some time to nearly 30,000 years ago. The original Pancakes were made from wheat flour, olive oil, honey, and curled milk from ancient Greece and Rome. In the early American days, you could find them being called johnny cakes or flapjacks. Normally, a traditional way of making Pancakes would be to mix the dry ingredients which contain flour, baking powder, salt and sugar and then mix your wet ingredients after that is all mixed. The wet ingredients include milk, eggs, and melted butter. Once it is all smooth with no clumps, you can scoop approximately 1 fourth cup on to a heated griddle. The exact amount for each item varies on how you want it made, but the typical Pancake takes 1 cup flour, 2 tablespoons of white sugar, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 egg, 1 cup milk, and 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Now, it depends on how much you want to make and the proportions of each Pancake, but everyone has a different opinion on how they want theirs to be made. The Pancake mix that is put on the heated griddle can be referred to as batter and it takes about 10 minutes in total when the batter is on the griddle. It is a process when learning how to make Pancakes, for example, it is typical to make them in a circular shape and flip it once the top side is bubbly and the other side facing down is a brownish color. There are a variety of ways to make Pancakes and many different flavors to spice them up. They can be served in any shape or size that you prefer because pancakes are such a diverse type of food that can be designed as you would like. I think that the popular shape of pancakes are round just because of the way you pour the mix and how it comes out on the griddle or pan. They are known for a breakfast meal, but are enjoyed at time of the day. To relate each ingredient to what we have learned in class, honey can be related to individual well-being because of the many purposes it has including self-care and many different uses throughout society. Baking powder is considered environmental justice for its’ uses outside of the kitchen. For example, people can use baking powder for a cleaning purposes and it is related to baking soda, which is a compound also used for cooking and cleaning purposes. Salt and sugar go together in a way where they can be related to individual well-being and religious freedom. Using or eating too much salt has many side effects that harm you, but if you use for the right reasons, such as to spice up your food a bit it only helps the taste in the end. The wet ingredients also all go together because of their relationship. Milk, eggs, and melted butter are commonly used together often when baking or cooking in general. Without these specific ingredients, the baking world wouldn’t be so diverse as it is now and I think that correlates to religious freedom. As we talked about in class, some religions and religious beliefs condone some people to not be able to eat eggs. Other than that, these components are the backbone of why we have so many delicious items we can choose from to eat and make. Pancakes are not a difficult task to make because of their religious meaning in Christianity where Shrove Tuesday is ‘Pancake Day’ and it is a day of feasting before Lent. They use the left-over items in making Pancakes because they would need to get rid of them to reduce waste. This religious practice all started in Europe in the Middle Ages. Ever since then, Pancakes have gotten popular and common over time. Knowing that this simple flat cake has been around for over 30,000 years ago, scientist have found pancake mixings inside stomachs even before that time. It is said that Otzi the Iceman is the man to have discovered this amazing dish because of siting’s of him eating an early form of a flatbread made from wheat. Considering that, most historians believe that Pancakes were made by Romans in the 1st century from mostly the same ingredients we use today. Ancient Romans believed that the first ever three Pancakes that were made were sacred. They are related to early Neolithic flatbread when they were cooked on hot stones. To spice up the taste of the dish, most people mainly use a topping of butter and syrup. As mentioned above, there are a variety of different types of Pancakes, in France, they have their own take on this dish called crepes. Most people do not think of Pancakes and relate it to a religion or think that it has any religious meaning, but they were created because of the Christianity belief knowing that could make mass quantities with these ingredients and eat as much as they wanted before they had to fast.
It all started on a Monday night when I decided to try out a simple recipe for making of a stack of pancakes. I first had to take a quick trip to our local Walmart here in Sioux City. There are not very many ingredients to make Pancakes so it was very inexpensive. When I gathered the ingredients, I went to the Dimmitt kitchen located in the lower level of the building. I first had to turn the stove top on and mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, eggs, milk, butter and some blueberries to mix it up. A few of my volleyball friends had accompanied me and helped refresh my mind on where to start. At this point, when I start to whisk the batter up, I was told by my friends that it needed to be to the point where the liquidity of the batter should be running off of the whisk. At first, I didn’t think it was runny enough, so I added a half cup of water. This was kind of tricky considering if I added too much water, I could have ruined the batter. Eventually, I got the batter to where it was ready to be put on the pan on the stove. The stove was finally warmed up. I had to spread some butter on the pan so the Pancake itself did not end up sticking to the pan. To start the process of the batter in the pan, I had to take a small cup and slowly and carefully pour it into the pan. It slowly spread into a circle shape. I did not time each side, but from experience I knew that once the top layer started to bubble it was ready to be flipped. Once that started to happen, I carefully took a spatula and loosened the edges to prepare to flip the Pancake. I finally got the spatula under the whole cake and then flipped it in a way where I didn’t break it. The other side had to cook almost the same amount as the other. After about 2 minutes I took my spatula and checked to see if it was ready. One way to tell if it is ready is if it a golden-brown color and the same color as the other side. My first few Pancakes were a failure since I haven’t made them in so long and it is such an easy task to mess up. The first ones I made were too thick because of how much batter I put into the pan and I had cooked them too long on each side as shown below. After those failures, I learned from my mistakes and finally got the hang of it. I made about roughly 30 Pancakes. The perfect ones consisted of a small lighter color ring on the outside when I flipped them to the other side. I made two types, blueberry Pancakes and just regular Pancakes. I observed that not a lot of people like blueberries in their Pancakes. In this process, I put about 5 to 6 blueberries on the top side while the bottom was cooking so the blueberries could be imbedded into the Pancake. After about 10 Pancakes made, the room smelled of freshness and a sweet/buttery scent filling it up. As I got the end of my batter in my bowl, I started to prepare to share them with my friends in the room and in Dimmitt. In this process, I found out that there are many ways to accessorize your pancakes to what you like personally. For example, you can choose basically any fruit to put in it while it is cooking and when it is done most people like to add a hint of butter on the top and drown it in maple syrup. The texture seemed as if I was biting in to a cloud it was so fluffy and light. I thought this was a success even though I had a few mess-ups at the very beginning. The hardest part was getting the batter to the right consistency and then knowing how much to put into the pan. Cooking all of my Pancakes took about an hour, but I took my time and if I had just made a few for breakfast I think it would take about 10 to 15 minutes. Overall, I love Pancakes and I have learned so much on how to make them from mixing the batter together to know how and when to flip them in the pan. Some of my friends had to help me out with the process of actually flipping it and when I finally got my first perfect, golden pancake, it was a moment of joy and my eyes were so wide!
While doing a lot of research and discussion about our dishes in class, I do not see anything morally wrong about the making of pancakes or the religious beliefs about them. Some people might think differently and digging deeper into the background, there are some things that go into effect where there are some negatives about pancakes. To start off, the topic on social justice explains how my dish might affect some things. People might not have the right ingredients or equipment to even make it. A couple of aspects I would like to focus on is that people who do not have a lot of money to be spending on things they don’t need might not have a heated stove top or utensils. For example, a measuring cup would be ideal to get the right measurements to get the perfect pancake, but these can be sometimes high price wherever you go. As pancakes started to evolve, people noticed that you can put add-ins as they cook and they can design them however they prefer. The most common add-in would be blueberries and apart of the social justice aspect can be that they are not always in season and are also pretty expensive. People also have the choice to either make them from scratch, many ingredients needed, or buy pre-mixed box pancakes which are not as high-quality if you made them from scratch. Some may argue that pancakes do not agree with religious freedom and how some of the ingredients might interfere with some religions. For example, some Hindus are vegan for religious reasons, so they would not eat eggs. So, even if they did like pancakes, they are not allowed to eat them because eggs are a necessity. To go off of that, people of the Jainism beliefs also could not eat pancakes because of the use of milk in the dish. Environmental justice on the other hand, deals with the what could potentially harm the environment regarding my dish. If you decide to add blueberries in the dish, it is common that pesticides are used and they are very harmful. People might disagree with my dish because of the plastic or other containers that are originally bought that the ingredients are used in. For example, plastic containers that are not recycled can end up somewhere in the world and harm other living creatures. Pancakes can be made at any time of the day, but they are known for a breakfast food and you have to typically get up early to make them. In other words, they are very time consuming if you are making a mass quantity. We all know that the use of cars and their pollution can be very dangerous to the air that we breathe. In order to gather ingredients, unfortunately, we most of the time have to get into our car and go to the store to get them. Even though pancakes are a great snack or meal, there are some people who might think they are bad for your health and body. These types of people include people who are gluten-free, vegans, and they do not contain any protein unless you use add-ins or add-ons. Vegans do not eat eggs and eggs are an essential to the making of this dish. The hot stove top is a factor that could put your body at risk. For example, when making my first few pancakes, I burnt about the first 5 and they could not be eaten. I also burnt my hand on the stove top attempting the flip the Pancake itself. Overall, there are a lot of positives and negatives to this dish and I was focusing on more of the negatives and why certain people may either choose not to eat them or simply cannot. In class, we discussed the concepts of religious freedom, social justice, well-being, and environmental justice. It goes to the extremes, like certain religions that are not allowed to have some ingredients to the harmful aspects that affect the environment.
I picked the dish of pancakes because it is a common food that people do not normally look into the history or background of it. After doing research and physically making the dish outside of class, it made me think of all the food I eat on a daily basis and how it has a relationship to religion in some way whether it disagrees with a certain religion or if a certain religion eats a dish to connect and be closer with a higher power they believe in. This dish was not new to me, in fact, it is the type of dish mostly everyone is familiar with and some might eat it every day. Even though it was not new to me, I learned that the history of it goes way back and it has more religious meaning than I actually thought. It is related to the religion of Christianity and has its’ own special day called Shrove Tuesday, which I have never heard before. Pancakes do not require a lot of prep and hard ingredients to find. Shrove Tuesday is a day before Lent where people take the leftover food like, eggs and milk, and create a ton of pancakes before they go bad because they cannot eat those ingredients during Lent. In general, with all food, it opened my eyes to the talks that we have had in class about different religions not being able to eat foods because of the harm it might do to living creature or the earth itself. I think that as time goes on, we forget the importance of food and may take it for granted. As we get farther into to time and step away from the religious meaning of food, we need to think back on who gave us the opportunity to grow from food and think about the good that it does to our bodies.
Herdotie. “A Short History of The Much-Loved Pancake.” Her.ie, Her.ie, 8 Feb. 2016, www.her.ie/life/food-for-thought-a-short-history-of-pancakes-110460.
Rupp, Rebecca. “Hot off the Griddle, Here's the History of Pancakes.” National Geographic, National Geographic, 1 Mar. 2018, www.nationalgeographic.com/people-and-culture/food/the-plate/2014/05/21/hot-off-the-griddle-heres-the-history-of-pancakes/.
“The History of Pancakes | Kate's Kitchen | Kansas City.” Kates Kitchen KC, 21 Sept. 2016, www.kateskitchenkc.com/blog/the-history-of-pancakes/.
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