Time for blueberry pancakes

Posted

By GARY HENRY

ghenry@prairiepress.net

Here is something everyone can support.

Monday is National Blueberry Pancake Day. It is unknown who was originally behind this idea or how Jan. 28 came to be the official day, but it is clearly the work of a genius. Maybe somebody should invite Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell to share a blueberry pancake breakfast.

The confounding issues of should the syrup be warm or room temperature, should syrup be omitted in favor of a blueberry compote and is whipped cream an acceptable topping can easily be resolved as the two Senate leaders are overcome by the temptation of a stack of pancakes just off the griddle. What they will quickly realize is there is no reason for division over the toppings, only personal preference, so nobody is right and nobody is wrong, and they can quickly get on to finding common ground and compromises that move the country forward on other matters.

Perhaps that’s a lot to expect from a simple blueberry pancake, buts it’s an American food doing its patriotic best.

Having National Blueberry Pancake Day in January seems a bit odd since July 8 is National Blueberry Day, July 11 is National Blueberry Muffin Day and April 28 is National Blueberry Pie Day. If there are any lingering issues between Schumer and McConnell after National Blueberry Pancake Day, let’s invite them over on April 28 for National Blueberry Pie Day to finish restoring harmony to the Union.

Heck, with the right blueberry pie, Fox News and MSNBC could get together in a kumbaya moment.

History of pancakes

Pancakes have a long and varied background. Analysis of Paleolithic grinding tools reveals evidence of flour made from cattails and ferns. People who study such things believe it is possible a flour/water batter was cooked on a hot rock much like a pancake.

The first real evidence of pancakes dates to 5,300 years ago. The frozen remains of a bronze-age individual, still clothed and equipped, were found high in the Alps in 1991 and the discovery gave an unprecedented first hand look at prehistory.

Dubbed Otzi the Iceman, every aspect of the unfortunate individual was examined, including a review of his stomach contents. Among the substances identified was ground einkorn wheat. The presence of charcoal in the stomach suggests Otzi consumed the flour as a pancake-like food cooked over an open fire.

Pancake cuisine was advanced by the time the Classical Greeks and Romans were cooking the dish. These cultures consumed pancakes with honey.

Elizabethan England expanded the flavoring options to include different spices, rosewater, sherry and apples.

American colonists tinkered with the English recipes to make use of the most common grains in the New World – corn, or maize, flour and buckwheat flour. Despite the name, buckwheat is not in the grass family like the other types of wheat.

A big contribution from America to the pancake was the introduction of maple syrup – a technology the European settlers learned from the native people.

What’s in a name?

A lot of names are applied to what is known as a pancake, but the question is are the various names accurate or do they apply to different foods? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

Pancake is a flat cake made of a thin batter and cooked on a griddle on both sides. Acceptable synonyms are flapjacks and griddlecakes.

Johnnycake is a bread made with cornmeal.

Hoecake is a small cake made of cornmeal.

Crepes are technically a pancake since they are made from a batter and cooked in a pan. Crepes, though, are quite thin and lack the puffy texture and hearty bulk of a pancake.

Blueberries

Like real maple syrup, blueberries are the other great American contribution to pancakes. Blueberries are a native fruit and were an important food source for indigenous people living in what is now the Northeastern United States. The fruits were eaten fresh, dried for use during the winter and frequently included as part of the mixture when making pemmican.

Blueberries are probably the healthiest part of a pancake breakfast, but they are too few in number to make the claim this is a healthy meal. They rank the highest of any fruit for antioxidants and a cup provides 14 percent of the daily fiber requirement and nearly one-fourth of the recommended daily dose of vitamin C. That same cup of blueberries also provides 36 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin K and is a source of manganese, vitamin B6, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin E and copper.

Other benefits attributed to consuming blueberries are protection against some cancers, help with weight loss, boosting brain health, alleviating inflammation, supporting digestion and promoting heart health.

Come Monday, why not cook up a stack of this comfort food for breakfast or supper. By the way, true maple syrup, not the artificial stuff, has to be served warm. source for indigenous people living in what is now the Northeastern United States. The fruits were eaten fresh, dried for use during the winter and frequently included as part of the mixture when making pemmican.

Blueberries are probably the healthiest part of a pancake breakfast, but they are too few in number to make the claim this is a healthy meal. They rank the highest of any fruit for antioxidants and a cup provides 14 percent of the daily fiber requirement and nearly one-fourth of the recommended daily dose of vitamin C. That same cup of blueberries also provides 36 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin K and is a source of manganese, vitamin B6, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin E and copper.

Other benefits attributed to consuming blueberries are protection against some cancers, help with weight loss, boosting brain health, alleviating inflammation, supporting digestion and promoting heart health.

Come Monday, why not cook up a stack of this comfort food for breakfast or supper. By the way, true maple syrup, not the artificial stuff, is best served warm.