Black History Month: From the Kitchen of Rosa Parks

Photo Courtesy of Geurnsey's This month marked the 101st birthday of Civil Rights Icon Rosa Parks. While many people know Parks for her role as the catalyst to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Parks led a fairly private life in her later years. After her death, many of Parks' belongings were auctioned off by New York auction House Guernsey's which included tokens received by everyone from school children to presidents. The most fascinating of her belongings were the handwritten documents; letters, notes and lists detailing the life and relationships of the winner of both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor (our nation's two highest awards.)

Among those letters was a handwritten recipe for Featherlite Peanut butter Pancakes.  Like many recipes of her generation, this recipe is written quite simply with the emphasis on ingredients and measurements, not the method; the best logical way a busy woman like parks would copy a recipe. The recipe also lives not in a cookbook, but on the back of a bank deposit envelope. This is a tell-tale sign that cooking may have played a more important role in her  life than one would guess. Much like a poet will scribble verse on any empty space or a musician will keep handwritten bars of music on the back of bar napkins or postcards, a constant cook will often write recipes on whatever piece of paper is handy.

Recipe for Featherlight Peanut Butter Pancakes

Pancakes From Around The World

 

Pancakes have always been a staple in America, from a simple brunch treat to the variety of restaurants dedicated to the dish.  The light, fluffy American pancakes have their foreign equivalents in many countries abroad too!  With sweet and salty options to choose from, it's easy to fall in love with these pancakes from around the world! 

  • Crepes - These French pancakes are thin, cooked on both sides and then folded around a delicious filling, sometimes sweet with berries or chocolate and sometimes savory with veggies and cheese.
  • Blinis - Also known as blintzes, this Eastern European food is similar to its cousin, the crepe.  Blinis are often filled with berries, potatoes or cottage cheese and then fried or baked for a crispy outside and a warm, gooey inside.
  • Dosas - Made from rice batter and black lentil mixture, this South Indian standard is crispy and flaky, often served with a variety of dips and sauces.  Dosas can either be served plain or stuffed with filling.
  • Injera - Similar to the vast pita spreads served throughout the Middle East, Injera, an Ethiopian flatbread made from teff flour, is served with numerous stews, vegetable dips, cheeses and salads on a large platter.  The spongy texture of the bread makes it easy to mop up every last bite!
  • Raggmunk - These Swedish potato pancakes are made with grated potatoes and eggs, fried into a delicious and crispy little pancake.  Served with fried pork and lingonberries, this savory pancake makes for a hearty breakfast.

What's your favorite kind of pancake?

In the mood for chocolate pancakes? Click here.

Photo: Adam Macchia

Further Reading: Our sister site Food Republic has a great article on how to make the perfect pancake.

Maple Syrup Season Is Here

Though you see maple syrup in stores and at farmers' markets all year round, spring is the time that maple syrup is in season. Right now, sap is dripping out of trees in the Northeast. Maple syrup is the product of starch in the trees that becomes converted to sap in the spring. After tapping the trees, the sap is heated to evaporate the water. What you have left is the condiment many know and love as their favorite pancake topping. Maple syrup is great on much more than pancakes, however. A versatile ingredient in smoothies, baked goods, salad dressings and more, maple syrup is a natural sweetener that even works well in cocktails. Mix up a Retox cocktail or use simply as an ice cream topping.

Read more about maple uses here.