Posted by: writingwitch2013 | February 17, 2015

Flipping pancakes and making friends

My favourite Pancake Tuesday, was one from when I was teaching cookery to special need adults so they could go into independent living.
They were a group of 8 adults with severe disability and little confidence. Some hardly spoke or looked up, even if they were with their carer, none could read or write, yet they needed a certificate in cookery before they could be placed in houses with a caretaker. They were nervous about the assessments but mostly eager to please. Before the lesson, along with the flour, milk and eggs, I bought some ice cream and chocolate sauce but kept them hidden.
We made the mixture then I demonstrated flipping the pancake. At first they looked horrified, then I gave the pan to the most confident who had a go, it was almost a success but slipped back out of the pan on to the floor. He looked up expecting me to be cross, but I grinned, scooped it up, put it back in the pan and flipped it. Then handed it over to him again, he had another go, it fell in pieces on the floor. We all laughed, I binned it and made a fresh one. This time he flipped it, punched the air and did a lap of honour to enthusiastic applause!
We handed it to the woman next in line, who had a go to cheers and encouragement.
All eight had a go, even the most shy of them, until they had each caught at least half of the pancake in the pan.
Nobody laughed AT the other, they all laughed because it was FUN.
I did of course explain that if it went on the floor it wasn’t for eating, and obviously if they had a strict budget they couldn’t mess with as many as we did… The bin was almost full…but food suddenly became fun, they all relaxed, we washed the pans and started again. This time we just turned them over, not flipped and when they all had edible pancakes on their plates, I produced the ice cream and chocolate sauce and we had fun all over again, sitting around the table eating our ‘perfect pancakes’ chatting, laughing and most of all, relaxed, I took pictures of them for their files.
It was a turning point in the class, and probably the best pancakes I have eaten. Yes I did mean pancakes in plural… They all wanted me to try one of theirs, and realising if I refused they would think I didn’t like their end results, I obliged.



  1. I’ve never managed to flip them, you’ll have to show me how!

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