Monday, May 9, 2011

All the Same - Pancakes are My Favorite Human Food

For Mother's Day breakfast my parents and I went to the Danish pancake spot in Buellton, Ellen's. Because I have a fondness for really thin pancakes, I couldn't resist getting their Danish pancakes with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. As you might expect, they were delicious.

The thing about pancakes is they aren't really cornered by any particular ethnicity or nationality. Every group seems to have some form of pancakes – Indians, the French, Germans, Hungarians, Mongolians, Moroccans, and the list continues. If there are people, they will make some kind of dough. If they make some kind of dough, they will make some kind of flat bread. At least one of those flat breads will be reserved for breakfast, and often it will be sweet.

This line of thinking led me to say after taking a particularly delicious bite, “Pancakes are my favorite human food!” My statement shocked me. Human food? I instantly thought someone eavesdropping might think I was crazy – scenes from the television series Roswell flashed through my mind. But the reality is, pancakes are human food. Humans all over the world eat them in many different incarnations. They are a well-loved human phenomenon.

Then I wondered, because I was already thinking about Roswell, if aliens came to Earth, they would definitely have some kind of pancakes assuming they were carbon-based. Would that be their favorite human food as well? Would they take back recipes from around the world for different pancakes? Or would they eat our pancakes and think of home because they too had created something so simple and so delicious on their own world?

People don't think about how similar we all are, but on Mother's Day this is more true than on other days. It is a day that reminds us how similar we are. Not only do we pop out the same way (with minimal variation), in the same general shape, in a limited color palette, but we are born with at least one bond that all humans share. Whether you can barely tolerate your mother, or have a best friend in her, no human comes into the world without this relationship. Even if your dad is MIA, or your mother decided to get pregnant without a man altogether (or maybe your mother decided to give you up for adoption to two dads) – you were grown in a womb for nine months, popped out, and will always have a connection to that woman no matter what.

So the next time you are with your mother, or eating pancakes, think about the things we all share around the world. It has so much more weight than our differences.

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