The worst things to eat are pancakes that have baking soda substituted for baking powder. Some of my most vivid memories of food include pancakes that my brother Joseph and my sister Anna made with baking soda, and pancakes that I have made with baking soda.
The first happened when we lived in Colorado several years ago. My older brother and my younger sister decided to get up early and make pancakes for the family. It was all a big secret and the rest of the family was not allowed to set food in the kitchen until they had finished. When they were finished, the family was ushered into the dinning room, where we were presented with a plate of steaming pancakes. They looked delicious and everyone quickly piled their plate full.
As we bit into our first bite of hot pancake dripping with melted butter and syrup, we caught Joseph and Anna exchanging worried looks as they chewed their first bites. I pushed the fork into my mouth, anticipating something that was not there. I choked a little bit, then swallowed the bite. I looked at my mom and asked "What's the matter with these pancakes? They don't taste like they do when you make them."
Mom ate her first bite, then asked Joseph and Anna what they put in the pancakes. They said that they had followed the recipe except for the baking powder. They told her that we were out of baking powder so they used baking soda instead.
"Isn't it the same thing?" Joseph asked.
"No!" Mom exclaimed. "Are you sure that we don't have any baking powder? I thought I just bought some. Why don't you check the shelves and make sure we're out."
Joseph went into the kitchen, and returned with two unopened cans.
We threw the pancakes out.
I made my pancakes last summer when all of my relatives were visiting us. We had sixteen people staying in our house, and breakfast was a big event. One morning I decided to make pancakes. I mixed up the batter fast, and then started to cook them. I set the first plate full on the table as people started filtering into the dining room. I tasted a little bit of the cooked batter that had fallen off the ladle. Baking soda.
We had cereal for breakfast that day.