Once upon a time my father used to work for a multinational food processing corporation. As he climbed the corporate latter his job eventually entailed a lot of travelling, especially when we were based in Mexico City. One of the projects he was assigned to was a fish canning factory in Peru (circa 1978), and that meant being away from home and family for two-months at a time. Upon his return from the first trip he described his living conditions in Peru. The factory was oceanside, which means all the staff who were not local residents lived in staff quarters and took turns cooking. Spoiled Asian male that my father was, he had never had the need to learn to cook for himself, so it was with the greatest of horrors that he realised there was no way of avoiding his cooking turn. The man could burn water, so it was understandable that he needed a crash course ASAP, much to my mother’s amusement.
Both of them agreed that Daddy should choose the lesser of the three evils (meal times) and volunteer for breakfast duty. There’s not much that you can mess up with breakfast, assuming you know what you’re doing. This was an all-male shared flat and everyone had healthy appetites. Uh oh. Ambitions (and hungry) that Daddy always was in the mornings, he got it into his stubborn Pisces head that he wanted to serve pancakes for breakfast and not just toast and sunny side up eggs. My mother stared at him as though he had grown seven purple heads all of a sudden. Ah, well, the mechanical engineer was not about to back down from the challenge, so he had her demonstrate the process and he made his pristine and impeccable notes alongside. Then he declared that the next step was a return demonstration to show and tell what he had learned. So we had pancakes for lunch…
Mommy gave her constructive criticism and showed him where there was room for improvement. The engineer took the design flaws to heart and revised the plan the same day. We had pancakes for dinner. You see where this is going? Well, to make a round and doughy story short, we had pancakes three times a day for seven days until Daddy declared himself fit and ready to flip solo back in Peru. Or so we thought.
Daddy was fond of experimenting with food ever since he landed his first job with food processing in the early 1960s. When they were newly married he took to fiddling around with the lemonade colour, and it was much to Mommy’s chagrin that they served shocking pink or turquoise blue lemonade to their unsuspecting guests. My uncle who was in town for a visit one day (sent my my grandfather to check up on my mother’s cooking skills) drew the line at neon green lemonade. Well, this penchant for fixing that which is not broken carried over into the pancakes and he began substituting milk with 7UP, then Coca Cola, and finally with orange Fanta. I definitely do not recommend the Coke or the Fanta versions. Mommy was livid and I was so fed up with pancakes by then I didn’t really care anymore, desperately craving for fried rice and fish again.
Fast forward to 2021: for some strange reason I lay in bed awake at 02:00 last night and remembered Daddy’s bizarre pancakes and googled it just for the heck of it. Lo and behold, I discovered that 7UP pancakes were indeed a thing! I have more dignity than the recipe and therefore refuse, absolutely REFUSE to use a pancake mix, so I went with my standard pancake recipe and simply substituted the milk with lemon soda. Ah, the other thing I wanted to integrate in this chemical experiment was the use of the cast iron pan, and have an integrated old world experience. Hmmm… 50 Shades of Engineer’s Daughter?
You either stick to the original recipe and use the standard non-stick pan, and have great results. Or you can walk on the wild side and try this
FrogDiva Lemon Soda Pancakes
1 cup white flour
1 cup spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups lemon soda
4 Tbsp cooking oil
1 Tbsp flax
1 Tbsp Oat Bran
1/2 tsp cinnamon
You probably don’t need further instructions on making the pancakes per se. I used a large cast iron griddle pan. Note, you need to cook the pancakes at a lower temperature than usual when using lemon soda because the pancakes will stick to the pan due to the high sugar content of the soda.
The pancakes were a hit at the staff house. This was a boost to Daddy’s ego so he returned and requested a lesson in fried chicken. Sigh.