One of my few defined goals in life is to sample all twenty-one Pancake Pantry pancake flavors before graduating Vanderbilt. For the record, I’m a big fan of the venue and highly recommend most menu items! However, I feel obliged to warn readers away from one particular pancake flavor when they next visit this iconic Nashville institution.
Pancake Pantry boasts a variety of colorful characters on its menu. If personified, the options would include the prom queen Sugar and Spice Pancakes, the foreign exchange student Swedish Pancakes, the girl-next-door Old Fashioned Buttermilk Pancakes, the sultry Chocolate Sin (who skips class on Thursdays to smoke behind the gym!), and so on and so on. The diverse cast of characters complement and compliment each other, engaging in cheerful conversation about how to most pleasingly concoct the most important meal of the day. And then there are the Smoky Mountain Buckwheat Cakes, sulking in the corner and casting judgment on the excesses of its brethren.
Buckwheat Cakes believe breakfast serves one and only one purpose: filling the customer up to get him or her back outside to hard farm labor. Although viewing meals as a time-waster, Buckwheat Cakes grudgingly admit the necessity of nutrition consumption, but, goddammit, said nutrition will be consumed efficiently and without undue enjoyment if Buckwheat Cakes have any say in the matter.
These stolid pancakes seem to sneer at me as I heap butter and syrup onto their crumbly hide, desperate to alleviate their grainy and straightforward nature and put a bit of sunshine into my morning. Sweetness is a luxury you haven’t earned yet, they scold me severely. Have you even started on your biology homework? I shamefacedly swallow my pancakes’ pioneer work ethic with each bite, resolving to do better and be better from now on and to shun decadent false idols such as whipped cream and Netflix.
In all seriousness, I accept Buckwheat Cakes as a masterpiece when taken for what they are—breakfast for sad people. Buckwheat Cakes certainly have a valuable lesson for all on the value of self-denial and a big-picture perspective, but from my point of view, they take the virtue of self-control to an extreme. I find life too short for such unforgiving austerity. Moderation in most things, abstinence from some, but indulgence in pancakes!