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entry 19 Jan 2012, 20:37
Pancake Race at Walter’s, 28 December 2011
Walter Plinge, as ever, presents the alternative view.

Walter Plinge brings you his own ‘Christmas Carol’ with very loose association to the Charles Dickens novella of the same name.

There’s only so much turkey, hot or cold, that you can endure over the Christmas indulgence fest. Everything is super inflated be it festive presents, meal sizes or people. It reminds me that we’ve all sat down at some time and watched ‘Saturday Kitchen’ with a hangover, untouched plate of dry toast and a Resolve shandy wondering where it all went wrong; for instance was it the nine bottles of Magners clashing with that particular brand of sausage roll? The programme features a race to produce a basic omelette in the least possible time, although none of them look particularly edible, certainly not while your current drink of choice is Resolve. In fact the result looks rather like what you are trying to keep down…

Every year me and my slot racing mate, I’ll call him ScaleyJames to protect his identity in case someone knows him, decide to do something with a different flavour between Christmas and New Year that avoids this sort of risk. He doesn’t really do HO, preferring scaley stuff to keep the kids amused and out of trouble and I’m not a great scaley fan.
This year we looked for a slot racing theme with a twist and to cut it short we decided to have our own take on vintage pancake meetings, involving actual pancakes. Wacky or wot?

We kept it hush hush locally to avoid an unmanageable number of entrants (our events are well known) and I mentioned it in that context in the MBR blog.

Unfortunately someone mistakenly thought I was referring to another nationally advertised meeting. One of the usual SF protagonists, inthebluecorner, came out fighting as soon as the bell of posting had rung to be quickly followed by one of his usual sparring partners, intheredcorner1…… I’m flattered that they both took time out of the busy Christmas period to read the blog right to the end. I felt quite accoladed (my ™ this time).
Good to see the backpedalling scrap over whether to use the term ‘Essex’ or a pseudonym during their, uhm, debate. To me ‘The Only Way is East of the Home Counties’ (TOWIEOTHC) just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

For our event to be really authentic and genuinely vintage we spent some time researching and settled on the recipe from Mrs Wilson’s 1920 book entitled ‘Mrs Wilson’s Cook Book’. Nothing like blowing your own trumpet Mrs W.

ScaleyJames and I were a bit concerned that one of our intended participants ran an upmarket deli and that if one of required ingredients was obscure he could benefit from being the sole supplier and use the economic law of ‘supply and demand’ to his advantage and to not put too fine a point on it, rip us off in what we desperately wanted to be a low cost bit of fun. Tight rules were going to be required, and this simple but effective batter mix ticked all the boxes!

The basic premise for the competition was to produce the greatest number of edible pancakes in a three minute period. In addition, in the case of the Chef and Pro-Chef classes an organoleptic score would be added, or in serious cases deducted.

The rules for the competition were agreed as follows:

General Rules

The competition area will consist of a four burner gas hob. Each burner will be operated at full power. Competitors should be aware that burners differ in heat output and cook accordingly.
Any equipment can be used to prepare the ingredients, including the Parma Ham Controller. (it’s all gone a little panto now!)
This is a supplied frying pan and spatula event and competitors may not bring or use their own. No other equipment is permitted during the cooking process.
The competition will comprise of four three minute heats in pairs, rotating around the hob burners clockwise, followed by a final. The best three heat scores will be used to give burner choice for the finals.

Scoring will be by the number of finished edible rule complying pancakes. Part finished pancakes will not count towards the total.

Competitors can prepare the batter mix and any other permitted ingredients either before or during the race, but may not leave the hob area during heats, or between pairs of heats.

Sugar and fresh lemon juice may be applied to finished pancakes as required by the competitor.

All ingredients must be made by a commercial manufacturer and freely available at a reasonable price. No additional ingredients are permitted and permitted ingredients may not be modified in any way, except that eggs must be removed from their shells.

Only a batter mix that had been used in the heats can be used in the final. Additional oil may be added to the pan at any time but must not be added to the batter mix. Any make of oil (including shortening) is permitted but must not be used excessively so as to leave a residue or create smoke that could impede other competitors.

All finished pancakes should have a prototypical black and batter coloured finish and be of one piece construction, excluding any permitted filling or ingredient beyond the batter mix.
In order to count towards the total finished pancakes shall be visually round and symmetrical, not more than 34cm in diameter and not more than 11.506mm thick folded when measured hot. Trimming and reshaping of pancakes is only permitted while a heat or final is in progress.
Any pancake that on examination is declared ‘inedible’ shall not be counted. Any appeal against inedibility shall be decided on the outcome of the competitor eating the whole of the offending pancake.

If during a race there is a power loss to one or more burners or a pancake falls fully or partially out of a pan and impedes another competitor a ‘hob call’ may be called. At this time competitors shall, where possible, remove their pans from the heat until the matter has been resolved. Pancakes must not be worked on during hob calls, nor batter stirred. If a pancake falls onto the floor and cannot be found then a replacement pancake must be cooked.

Standard Pancake rules

The batter mix shall comprise of:
2 eggs in their shells
½ cupful of milk (¼ pint)
1 cupful of plain flour (½ pint)
1 teaspoonful salt
2 teaspoonful baking powder

Competitors may use any style of cooking but the following may be of help during practice:
“Beat egg and milk to mix and then add flour, salt and baking powder. Beat well to thoroughly mix and then pour part of the mix into a hot pan containing three tablespoons of oil or shortening. Toss or turn part way through cooking. The mix will make four large pancakes.”

Chef Pancake rules

As Standard Pancake rules but ground, dried cinnamon must be added to one side of the pancake before folding. In addition a single variety of fruit must be added in a similar way. The choice of fruit species is free but must not be soaked or otherwise worked up except with water. The quantity of fruit and cinnamon is at the discretion of the competitor, but must pass the edibility test.
In addition the judge will taste each pancake that is deemed to be ‘finished’ and award a multiplier score from zero to ten based on ‘niceness’ which will be then be applied to that pancake.

Pro Chef Pancake rules

As Chef Pancake rules but up to five different individual spices, fruits or other basic ingredients are permitted. The use of pre-combined ingredients such as ‘five spice’ are not allowed and sour grapes cannot be introduced at any time. Pancakes may be sweet or savoury.

With the day rapidly approaching entries were rolling in. WalterPlinge, MrsWalterPlinge and the Plingelets were going to take part and girlnextdoor had agreed to be race controller, taster and scrutineer. ScaleyJames together with his children mikeskid1of3 and mikeskid3of3 were keen as mustard to get involved together with postiepete and delidave together with delidaveswife. Mikeskid2of3 didn’t want to play citing a pre-existing X-Box commitment. Everyone had elected to cook in the Chef Pancake class so that made loads of heats but only three move-up finals: the extractor fan would still be on danger money.

There was talk about having ‘spoof’ teams such as WHO (Worthing Healthy Option), HONK (I’ve drunk too much in North Kent) while not forgetting Four Hob Black Top, but that would be taking silliness to the next level™.

The actual day went well with doors open at 1100, just in time for something to eat!
Waltersdog was rather too keen to help using his cat-like reactions to catch any stray pancake, cooked or not, generally before it hit the floor. Walterscat was in ‘dog’ mode and slept through most of the proceedings.

Girlnextdoor was a dedicated judge and now has a few pounds to shed while delidaves wife was deservedly declared the worthy winner.
A great way to pass the time and graze the day away.

Since then we haven’t seen any bickering between those who took part or sideswipey comments from, close or distant neighbours and relatives who didn’t. Ebenezerscrooge has kept his mouth firmly shut. In fact the only comments received have been ‘can we join in next year…’ to which we have all said yes. Aaah.

Thanks for listening

Until the next time

Walter Plinge

For those on Facebook and Twitter I am on Slotforum

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post 19 Jan 2012, 20:45
Comment #1

Slot God

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I think some Owsley's acid got into the first batch of mix smile.gif
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post 20 Jan 2012, 17:47
Comment #2


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Seems like the pancake didn't go down too well in some parts of the country ohmy.gif

Went down pleasantly in this corner of Brighton biggrin.gif

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post 22 Feb 2012, 23:53
Comment #3


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From: Lancre
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Using a metaphor in front of a man as unimaginative as Ridcully was like a red flag to a bu-- was like putting something very annoying in front of someone who was annoyed by it

More Pancake anyone? ohmy.gif

..my father is the Emperor of Klatch and my mother is a small tray of raspberry puddings
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post 25 Feb 2012, 15:53
Comment #4


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Ah, Pratchett is not my thing, but I am devastated my glorious open-wheel win didn't get Plinged. It takes the shine off that shiny trophy a little...

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post 27 Feb 2012, 13:34
Comment #5

Slot God

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Big time Pratchett fan here, but some more Plinge blogs would be nice.
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