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 V.15 No.43 | October 26 - November 1, 2006 

Hot Knives

Granddad’s Penultimate Cakes

Alex Brown and Evan George

This pancake recipe is a hand-me-down from an old chemist, Alex’s grandfather. If you take the time to hunt down the required wheat germ and some proper flour, you will resolutely swear off pancakes from a box until the day you die. Granddaddy Brown did. Never again will you contemplate a $6 stack of fluff that will languish in your gut for the rest of a lackadaisical Sunday. Not that these thick flapjacks won’t send you flying into a food coma—they will—but it will be a rocking-chair-on-the-stoop coma you can relish with old-time vigor.

Make these treats for your sweetheart in bed, your friends after a night of drinking or for your kids when they get off drugs. The only thing you’ll think about after you eat them will be when you get to convert another in the war against Bisquick Mediocrity®.

Penultimate Pancakes


1 envelope dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons warm water
2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup flour buckwheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
2 eggs
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon molasses


For the Batter:

1. Gently mix the yeast, sugar and warm water in a small bowl. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes at room temperature. The mixture should become foamy.

2. Meanwhile, combine the baking powder, salt, buckwheat flour and wheat germ in a separate bowl. In another, larger bowl whisk together the eggs, veggie oil, buttermilk, honey and molasses.

3. Gently fold the foamy yeast mixture into the batter, then gradually mix in the dry ingredients.

To Prepare and Plate:

Heat a lightly greased nonstick pan over a medium flame. Working in batches, ladle about 2 tablespoons of batter (equivalent to a heaping, large serving spoon) onto the hot pan to form 3- to 3 1/2-inch rounds. Cook until bubbles appear on surface and pop, the edges are set, and undersides are golden, 45 seconds to 1 minute. Flip pancakes with a spatula and cook until the undersides are golden and pancakes are cooked through, 45 seconds to 1 minute more. Transfer pancakes to plates and brush the pan with oil between batches. Serve your pancakes hot with maple syrup and fresh berries.

Beverage: Mimosas

Soundtrack: Palace Music’s Viva Last Blues

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