“The most important thing we can do is inspire young minds and to advance the kind of science, math and technology education that will help youngsters take us to the next phase of space travel.”
— John Glenn
— John Glenn
OK, so I had the kids in the grocery store on Friday evening, getting their favorites for the weekend—you know, typical kid foodstuffs: Brussels sprouts, liverwurst, wheat germ and prunes—when they spotted something they just had to have.
It was shaped like a can of whipped cream, but it was, in all actuality, pancake batter.
“Can we try it? Pleeeease?”
Usually, that doesn’t work with me, but I had to admit, it was a tempting idea.
Most of the time, when something is good, it’s even better when it is mixed with compressed air and shot out of a can. There’s the original: the whipped cream the can was designed for, and then there’s … um … there’s, er … not Cheese Whiz … I’m way past that stage in my life … OK, so there isn’t anything else besides whipped cream. Yet. This pancake-batter-in-a-can-thing could be the second item on this list. We’d obviously have to try it.
“Batter Blaster” came with a $4.99 tag, but that’s the price one must pay for innovation and culinary advancement. And it was organic! (Like that makes any difference to me.) Undeterred by the steep cost, we sallied forth and added one can of the futuristic foodstuff to our basket. I felt a little like John Glenn or Neil Armstrong. I told the kids we should look for Tang. They looked at me like I was nuts. (I am getting that look more and more often from them these days.) ((Do they even make Tang anymore?))
Still, this is an important moment. A successful deployment of pancake-batter-in-a-whipped-cream-can has far-reaching ramifications. We could be witnessing the genesis of ISSOP: the International Space Station of Pancakes.
Saturday morning we pulled out the griddle and turned on the burner. With the cap off, it looked just like a whipped cream can, although it was a lot heavier. I read the directions aloud: “Shake vigorously.” I did. Again, the kids looked at me like I was nuts. I must have the only nearly-9-year-olds in all of Georgia without a sense of humor.
When a drop of water danced on the hot griddle, we were ready to take one giant step for mankind. The batter came out in a rush, with the usual “ssshhhhuuuuggggghhhh” whipped cream-can sound.
The kids made “eeeyyyooouugh” sounds. It didn’t look like whipped cream. I looked like what happens when you abruptly change your puppy’s dog food on him and his digestive system hasn’t adjusted yet.
“Dad, you know what that looks like?” the boy asked. I said yes, and told him he better not say it.
The batter was thick, and didn’t spread out or cook through quickly enough, as the bottom burned before the top was ready to flip, so the first pancake was sacrificed for the greater good. We turned down the heat and tried again.
Pancakes No. 2 and 3 also fought the good fight but ended up in the garbage can, too black to be salvaged.
Eventually, we ended up with three plates of short stacks. Add butter and syrup, and we sit down to breakfast …
It turns out, we decided, we are not so impressed with space-age-pancake-batter-in-a-whipped-cream-can. The concept was way better than the delivery. They started out light and fluffy, but put the side of a fork to it and the air rushes out and they fall like a undercooked soufflé. And they tasted somewhat metallic. Pancake Fail!
So I tried to use it as a teaching moment: See kids, just because it’s new and revolutionary and looks good doesn’t mean it’s better than the good old batter mix, eggs, water and a drop of oil.
But I’m still going to look for Tang. I remember it being good. Tang was good, wasn’t it?