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The Diner Pancake Conundrum

September 26, 2018

Apparently today is National Pancake Day. Although a quick peek on the Internet will tell you that IHOP® National Pancake Day® was on February 27 this year.

I’m not sure why the famous pancake chain, turned burger franchise, and back to pancake house, felt the need to create a second National Pancake Day. Presumably the obvious answer is to sell more pancakes. Or maybe they weren’t aware that September 26 already held the distinction?

These “National Days” all feel a little fishy to me. For example, today isn’t just National Pancake Day, it’s also National Dumpling Day. Tomorrow it’s both National Chocolate Milk Day and National Corned Beef Hash Day.

Really? They had to put corned beef hash and pancakes back to back? What is this National Diner Month? No. But it is Better Breakfast Month. However, it’s also National Italian Cheese Month, National Chicken Month, National Blueberry Popsicle Month, National Honey Month, National Papaya Month, National Papaya Month, National Potato Month, and Whole Grains Month. Ugh.

Speaking of diners and pancakes, there is one thing I want to share.

Just this past weekend, I was reminded about a place in Schenectady called Lorenzo’s. The full name is Lorenzo’s Cafe, and it has many of the trappings of a diner. I would be tempted to call it a luncheonette, but it would appear that term is getting mighty precious. Plus, three evening a week it’s open for an early dinner.

None of the spoons were actually greasy, and it wasn’t a coffee shop. So let’s just call it Lorenzo’s.

I was there for the house made corned beef hash. Little did I know at the time that I was celebrating National Corned Beef Hash Day a few days early. The kids didn’t know they were doing the same thing for pancakes either.

Do all kids love pancakes? Mine do. However, as a parent, I feel it’s my responsibility to keep them away from pancake syrup. Not because much of it is simply colored and flavored high fructose corn syrup. But rather, because it is a fake food.

Nobody calls it pancake syrup. Everyone calls it maple syrup. Sometimes it’s labeled on the bottles as maple flavored syrup. However, that’s not even always the case.

Maple syrup is a thing. It comes from trees. And kids need to know this. When kids don’t learn this, they turn into adults who conflate the real with the fake. That’s bad for our food culture. But it’s also bad for America.

In an effort to get the kids away from imitation maple syrup, I do something radical.

Whenever we go into a place where real maple syrup isn’t an option, I green-light chocolate chip pancakes. Which is pretty much like having candy for breakfast. Still, it’s better than the alternative. But the best part about it from a parent’s perspective is that because the pancakes are studded with little bits of overly sweet industrial chocolate, the kids have no interest in drowning their food in high fructose corn syrup flavored with brown goo from some lab in New Jersey.

One chocolate chip pancake at Lorenzo’s was the size of a dinner plate, and more than enough food for almost any human being who isn’t a competitive athlete. The kids loved it. I thoroughly enjoyed the corned beef hash. Even the Italian toast was great.

Just remember that National Toast Day isn’t until February 23. So you still have a few months to plan your festivities.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 26, 2018 10:44 am

    A better solution is to always carry a vial of NY Special Dark (or whatever they call Grade B these days) in your glove compartment.

    When our kids were younger we often had pancakes for dinner served with sausages and applesauce. Syrup was available but needed only in moderation. Worth a try.

  2. Zena, Goddess of Fire permalink
    September 26, 2018 2:41 pm

    Ask your server to dust the pancakes with powdered sugar and to bring you some lemon wedges. Great substitute for syrup anytime of day!

  3. Matthew S Restifo permalink
    September 26, 2018 11:01 pm

    Thank you for this blog. My name is Matt, I am the owner of Lorenzos Italian Cafe. I appreciate the publicity! Please come in again!

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