According to The Joy of Cooking, the words used most often to describe pancakes are “light” and “fluffy,” although the adjectives “leaden” or “brick-like” are often more accurate.

Like the time I watched my brunch-hosting friend beat a bowl of pancake batter until I was ready to call 9-1-1.

My friend was concentrating on what he needed to say. His face was screwed up in focus on my reaction. He wanted to be sure I understood him. But I was fixated on the whisking. I was watching him ruin the meal that was already too late, especially after the two mimosas I had consumed.

He must have thought my distress meant I didn’t agree with whatever he was saying. So he kept going and going and whisking and whisking until the pancakes were like the siding on a shed – inedible and useless except in a storm.

By contrast, I was then and still am an excellent pancake maker. But that never stopped my dear “wasbund” from no-holds-barred pancake criticism. Like he was a reviewer for the New York Fucking Times. One of our famous fights – analyzed ad nauseum at couples’ therapy – involved his aversion to chocolate chips in pancakes.

You’re welcome to your own opinion about whether chocolate chips belong in the pancake canon or not. But what I’m telling you now is this: Be careful who you make pancakes for.*

You might even assess a potential mate by giving him or her a pancake test (in much the same way as having sex with them before marrying them).

Are they are hung up on “light and fluffy?” Do they have a standard IHOP mentality? Or would they welcome a smidgeon of buckwheat now and again? Or cornmeal or rye? And how about sourdough? Or German? Or Swedish?

Most importantly, will they bring high-quality syrup to the table?

*preposition stranded intentionally

I lead writing workshops in the Bay Area, and spend much of my time writing. To support my family and my avocation I sell residential real estate in San Francisco; for more about that visit or