“Why are these pancakes such an ugly brown color?” my husband asked, after I grandly presented him with (what I had assumed to be) a beautiful stack of homemade whole wheat pancakes.
“Don’t they taste good?!” I bubbled cheerily.
“No, they’re brown,” he said.
I was sitting there thinking they were the best tasting pancakes I had ever eaten. At first I was puzzled by his response, then (discreetly) overjoyed by the idea that the leftovers would be reserved for my personal indulgence Monday morning.
What kind of influence does perception have on a food experience? It seems rather important. For example, plating is a refined art in five-star restaurants. Food photographers will have lengthy photo shoots with certain edible subjects. I in fact take pictures to post on this blog because I almost never try a recipe that doesn’t tell me what the final product is going to look like.
It’s actually a pretty fine survival mechanism if you can trust the instinct that tells you, “If doesn’t look good to eat, don’t eat it.” But can this instinctual machine get broken?
It certainly can be tricked. Desserts almost always look like the best food to eat on the planet, but it’s no good to go around eating only cherry pie, tiramisu, chocolate mousse, and flan.
For some reason, though, the idea of “whole wheat” anything has become appetizing to me. It is a movement you see coursing through the commercial food market. Every pretzel, chip, and cookie is claiming to be made with “all natural, real, whole grain” ingredients. I am attracted to the perceived health benefits these sirens promise. And yet, I still had no problem putting chocolate chips in the last batch of my whole wheat pancakes…
I adapted this recipe from the basic recipe found in my Good Housekeeping Cookbook, which noted that using yogurt achieves the effect of buttermilk, which I never have prepared on hand, and I can report the claim appears to be true!
I made a full whole wheat flour substitution, but maybe next time, for my husband’s sake, I will go half and half. I wonder if he will notice…
What the Heck! Whole Wheat Pancakes
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cups milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
Maple syrup, to taste
Combine flour, sugar, and baking powder, baking soda, and salt i na large bowl. In a seperate bowl, whisk together yogurt and milk.
Add yogurt mixture, butter, and egg to dry ingredients. Stir until completely combined. Sir in any add-ins (Some of my favorites are blueberries, bananas and walnuts, chocolate chips…) , or leave batter plain. The batter will look thick and airy.
Heat skillet over medium heat. Pour batter in 1/4 cup scoops onto hot skillet. Cook until top of pancake begins to bubble and the edges look dry. Turn and cook until golden brown. Transfer to a platter, and keep warm until all batter is used. Makes about 8 large pancakes. Serve with maple syrup.