"Pancakes A to Z," Marie Simmons

Pros: Inexpensive and delicious
Cons: A bit cutesy
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

First posted 8/4/2000

Usually I wouldn’t mean “cute” as a particularly positive adjective. I mean, it happens sometimes. Kittens are cute, and I think that’s a great thing (mind you, they’re “cute” with all the destructive power of an atom bomb, but I think that’s a pro, not a con). Thus perhaps you can understand why I wouldn’t normally pick up such a tiny little cookbook, with a stylized “A to Z” underneath “Pancakes” on the cover, a pink inner liner, and “XS (extra small) Pancakes” (apparently the author had some trouble finding a recipe for X, not to mention V…). However, we were on a breakfast kick at the time. We’d just been given an old Belgian waffler by my mom, and since we couldn’t find enough waffle cookbooks to sate our hunger, we grabbed this too. What can I say, it was cheap.

Breakfast

I’m sad to say that we haven’t made lots of breakfast food lately. It’s time-consuming at times when we don’t have lots of time (have I confused you yet?), and, well, usually very fattening (sigh). Still, when we have found time to use this cookbook, we’ve been very happy with it. And believe it or not, you won’t just use it for breakfast.

The Food

The beginning of the book offers a few common-sense suggestions to help make your pancake-making easier. Things like heating the pan first. You won’t find any Nobel prize-winning discoveries here, but you might find yourself saying, “oops, I guess I should really try to remember that more often.”

Apple Cottage Cheese Pancakes! These are remarkably light, fluffy, and delicious. I’m not sure why, as somehow I would have expected the cottage cheese to make them heavy rather than light, but it works. The Banana Sour Cream Pancakes with Cinnamon Maple Syrup are yummy.

Some of these would work quite well as dessert: Kaiserschmarren with Plum Compote, for example.

If you aren’t in the mood for breakfast, make the Egg Pancake (not a pancake made with lots of egg in the batter, but a pancake-shaped eggy thing). It comes with an “Asian Egg Pancake” variation involving sesame oil and sesame seeds. The Fresh Corn Cakes with Tomato Salsa are fantastic! You’ll also find Ginger Carrot and Sesame Pancakes, Indian Spiced Red Lentil Cakes with Coconut Raita, John’s Crepes with Mushrooms Spinach and Cheese, New Year’s Eve Popover Pancake with Smoked Salmon and Dill Butter, and Zucchini-Ginger Pancakes with Thai Dipping Sauce.

So whether you eat them for breakfast, dinner, dessert or, heck – why not lunch? – you’ll get more than you bargained for with this cookbook.

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