A real man knows how to cook pancakes… in fact, a real man knows that the proper name for pancakes is actually MANcakes.
While I could do an entire post on the importance of learning to cook in our journey to manhood, I’ve found that specific is always better and let’s be honest here, “cooking” is kind of a broad topic that could take years to master. But as my father-in-law likes to say, “You can eat an elephant one bite at a time.” so we’ll start with this very important staple of a man’s cooking repertoire.
Pancakes are important because they are fitting for so many different occasions and audiences. Kids love them. Old men love them. Dogs even love them. They’re good for breakfast, they’re good for dinner, and they even make a good late night snack.
So back to the pancakes. The most important factor is the batter. There’s a lot of debate in the world of men’s cooking on the type of batter that you should use when making the flapjacks. Some say the more complex the batter, the better. Those people go for the mixes that require oil, eggs, and various other non-nutritive additives. I wholeheartedly disagree with those in that camp. The truth is, in the world of mancakes, simplicity always wins the day. There is no better batter than a plain Jane just add water mix. Brand does not matter. The only thing that matters is that the shopping list for your pancakes only involves two items: 1) powdered pancake mix and 2) tap water. Anything beyond that is too much.
The second most important factor is the consistency of the batter. Some people will tell you to mix it until there are no lumps. THEY LIE!!! The only thing that matters more than the simplicity of your batter mix is that you make sure it still has plenty of lumps when you start pouring it on the griddle. You want a consistency that is clearly liquid but still has plenty of lumps and air bubbles. The more lumps in your batter, the more fluffy your final product will be.
Also of great importance is your cooking surface. Never underestimate the value of a well-seasoned cast iron griddle. I’ve seen some rookies out there make the mistake of trying to use a coated non-stick griddle and it always ends badly for them. What they quickly discover is that pancakes stick to a non-stick griddle like white on rice and so they start spraying the surface with Pam or they started adding melted butter. This is a mistake that takes away from the true flavor of the mancake. A good cast iron griddle, properly seasoned and pre-heated to the maximum temperature will produce easy to flip, perfect mancakes every time.
Last but not least, a real man knows that a pancake only need be flipped once. Along that same vein, he also avoids the premature flipping mistake that many a young man has been known to make. What I’m about to reveal to you is a great secret that will forever change the quality of your mancakes. When using a well-seasoned cast iron griddle set to the maximum temperature, it is NEARLY impossible to burn a pancake. With that key fact in mind, a real man patiently waits until the edges of his mancake are clearly cooked and the top of the cake has started to lose it’s shininess before making the ever so important single flip. The flip of the pancake is, in many ways, just for looks. If you’ve not prematurely flipped, your mancake will be all but done when you finally flip it. At that point, all you need to do is wait for the side that is now down to get a little golden brown color to it before removing it from your well-seasoned cast-iron griddle.
This post is not a pancake recipe. It’s not a step by step list of directions. However, if you heed these tried and true tips and warnings, you’ll be on your way to making the perfect mancake every time.
UPDATE: One other important thing to remember. I don’t know why they do it, but some men feel an intense urge to use their spatula to apply pressure and press their mancake down after the single flip. Don’t. After you flip that sucker, DO NOT TOUCH IT until you are ready to remove it from your well-season cast iron griddle. People want fluffy pancakes and the quickest way to disappoint those you feed is to press your mancake flat after flipping it. While Eddie Money, Alabama, and The Immortals (in a lesser known sweet reggae version) taught us that you can’t keep a good man down, a real man knows that you don’t press a pancake down.