Bread of the Month: Chronicling a Kansas flapjack

leadFlapimage_4In the thousands of miles famed roving food writer Clementine Paddleford logged in the 1940s and ‘50s for her How America Eatscolumns and cookbook, she did not skirt her home state of Kansas.

Of Liberal, Kan., “self-styled Pancake Hub of the Universe,” where an annual pancake race of international notoriety is still held every year, she wrote: “the fleetest-footed of the local bakers bake pancakes extra heavy to flip safely in the Kansas breeze while they race an S-shaped course.”

Clementine garnered advice and recipes from the premier pancake mavens in town at the time, including Binnie Dick, who warned against over-beating of batter that results in tough cakes, and heating your griddle until a few dribbles of water “dance on top.” Too hot and “the little drops explode.” The ladies shared topping ideas beyond syrup, like brown sugar creamed with butter and granulated sugar mixed with a sprinkling of lemon rind.

unflipped_image_1From Clementine’s Kansas pancake offerings in How America Eats (1960), I chose Osa Nichols’s Flapjacks, which turned out thick and fluffy to a towering, welcoming stack. The batter incorporates both buttermilk and regular milk; baking powder and soda. I have my favorite buttermilk pancake recipe, but this may have to make it into the regular rotation!

I liked the suggestion of lemon rind atop the pancakes, so when all was ready to go, I zested both lemon and orange rind strewn over fresh blu berries. Sunday night supper! And Kansas, revisited, thanks to a food-writing mentor.

Osa Nichols’s Flapjacks
From How America Eats
by Clementine Paddleford (1960)
Makes 10 to 12 4- to 5-inch flapjacks
1 3/4 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sour milk or buttermilk
1 cup milk
1 small egg, well beaten

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together. Add soda to sour milk; add milk and egg and beat. Combine with dry ingredients. Bake on a hot bacon-greased griddle.

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