The pancake labors under the burden of stereotype: flat. Which isn’t nice. Just as the bold sheep may resent “sheepish,” and the strident cow may balk at “cowed,” so the pancake cringes at any sentence that starts “flat as a.” Everyone knows what comes next.
It’s also unfair. Perhaps the crepe and blintz, European imports, cling to the pan paper-thin. But the hometown griddlecake, johnnycake or flapjack takes pride in its light, tender bite.
Such delicate texture can be achieved via whipped eggs, baking powder or baking soda. Plus, on occasion, a lift assist from seltzer. The fizzy water releases an army of tiny bubbles that stride through the batter, creating cakes that are — within the confines of the pancake worldview — towering.