Suppose I have to teach a little girl who has no knowledge and experience at all. She just saw a food advertisement, then suddenly she started tugging at the hem of my shirt while pointing at the television. I nodded with great confidence, giving my consent. Have forgotten the fact that I cannot even cook myself. Well, let us rely on Google then!
She jumped up and down, "Daddy, Daddy, what's that? It looks so tasty!"
"It's a pancake, my dear. You want one for breakfast today, don't you?"
"Yes!" Suddenly, she began to clench her both hands on chest while looking at me begging, "Can we?"
"Definitely! Let's mess up our kitchenette!"
"Yay! But anyway, what exactly is a pancake, Dad?"
Suddenly I seemed to start thinking hard.
A pancake is a sweet thin flat cake. But sometimes we see it can be very thick and fluffy, like Japanese souffle.
Or very thin, known as crêpe, which is popular in many European countries.
It can be made with either dough or batter based on wheat or rice flour. In advertisements, pancakes are usually round in shape. But in reality, it depends on the shape of our frying pan. Even we can have a special pancake pan. Or we may prefer to get a variety of silicone pancake molds like this one here. Thus, we can make lots of savings.
Besides that, sometimes we find it is just plain, but rolled or enveloped into blintz.
Not necessarily sweet, pancakes can be savoury or even spicy. We decide what kind of topping or garnish we want to put on it, or filling. It can be served as a snack or side dish during breakfast hours with maple syrup, honey, fruit spreads, chocolate sauces, thickened milk, vanilla ice cream, yogurt, grated cheese, cinnamon sugar, et cetera. Or as a main course with vegetables, egg, meat, fish, or whatsoever.
But some people tend to prefer left as is.
After all this, what do I think I should explain about pancakes to her?
Talking about what makes a pancake a pancake was about defining a problem. It was a complex problem to be fair, as we could not solve it in one single step or two. In the process, we deliberately ignored details that are irrelevant to our goals. For instance, the history of pancakes and what kind of pancakes were trending at the moment.
The following references are used in this article: