Ask any typical father the kind of breakfast he enjoys cooking for his kids and pancakes will come up in the conversation. Let’s be honest – pancakes are awesome. First of all, they’re cake that you eat for breakfast. And actually, there’s no second point – they’re cake you eat for breakfast!
But most people make the same old blah pancakes for their kids – big circles, smaller circles. And if you really want to look like a hero in front of your kids, you make the old Mickey Mouse pancake – one big circle, two smaller circle ears. WTG, bro. Well, Jim Belosic’s got you beat. I mean, unless you’ve made The Golden Gate Bridge out of pancake, then maybe you’re on his level. Oh, you haven’t? Then shut your hole and read the review of his new book, “OMG Pancakes!”
Jim’s a father (and coincidentally a marketing specialist) that just wanted to make cool pancakes for his daughter. Turns out, his pancakes are so cool that pictures of them got sent around the internet and Belosic decided to share his expertise with the rest of us dads.
So what is “OMG Pancakes!”? Well, if I told you the subtitle, you’d know already – “75 Cool Creations Your Kids Will Love to Eat.” Got it now? Belosic starts off his book with a standard pancake recipe that’ll make much better pancakes than that crap you shovel out of a bag and add water to. He also offers some options on the recipe – so if you’d like pancakes that taste like apple, orange, whole wheat or bacon (srsly), he’s got you covered.
Belosic then explains how to achieve colors with natural food coloring – no dyes and chemicals needed! He does, however, mention that if you’ve got to use food dye, there’s natural alternatives available. After you’ve got your quick lesson on the batter – it’s time you learned how to make pancake art – and Belosic walks you through the tools you’ll need – things like squeeze bottles and plastic bags. And once you’re all set with your supplies, Belosic walks you through making shapes.
One of the best things about “OMG Pancakes!” is that its laid-out so that even impatient readers (like me) that tend to skip around with their eyes will still understand what they’re reading. Every recipe includes (at least) three sections: Preparation, Create, Plate. In the prep stage, Belosic tells you exactly how to set your stage and what colors you’ll need in that recipe. In the create stage, obviously, he tells you how to build the pieces of your creation. And of course, in the plate stage, you’ll learn exactly which pieces to layer and interlock to make your pancake come alive. One of the cool things about how Belosic’s got it laid-out is that the plate step has little pictures of the step-by-step building process, positioned over the larger picture of the final product. This way you can see where you are and where you’re going, so to speak.
Some creations have extra steps “For the 3-D Version.” Your create-and-plate steps are a little different since you need to make notches and different shapes in order for your pancakes to stand up.
Belosic’s even sectioned his creations into chapters – animals, food, holiday, activities and “just for fun.” And yes – in the food section, Belosic does in fact show you how to make pancakes look like other food items, including a slice of watermelon, a plate of spaghetti and meatballs, a banana, tacos, burgers, even other breakfast foods like eggs and bacon. Imagine how much fun your kid will have eating pancakes that look like these other foods! Kids love that kind of spy stuff.
This book is so cool that I actually wish I had more to say about it. The only thing I can offer is to plan ahead bigtime with this stuff, especially if you’re still a greenhorn at making food into shapes. You don’t want to start these projects after your kids are already whining for food. You’re going to want to get out ahead of that, because the last thing you want is to be piping out giraffe legs while your kid is shaking the baby gate at the kitchen door screaming for food.
Also – these recipes are great for sleepovers when someone else’s ankle-biter is over. Nothing makes another parent feel dumb like their kid coming home and saying “Johnny’s dad made us pancakes that looked like The Golden Gate Bridge!” So obviously, you’re going to want to use this book as a weapon to make yourself look like an effing pancake-flipping super-jedi. I know there weren’t super-jedis, but there are now.
Think the recipes look like too much work? Try just doing them without worrying about food coloring first. Part of the “stress” associated with these is worrying about splitting up the batter and having separately-colored batches. Try just making something in one color, then that’ll give you the confidence to start working colors into the dishes.
Also – if you like Belosic’s work, check out the site that got him attention in the first place – www.jimspancakes.com – as he puts new pancake-shapes up all the time. Here’s a couple that we liked:
This book gets a solid 4.5 on both parent and kid scores. The book’s easy to read, and though a little daunting, the projects are easy enough to do with practice. Plus, Belosic tells you exactly what tools you’ll need. This one’s a total winner that foodie-type parents will love.
Also, here’s another page out of “OMG Pancakes!” just because we’re coming up on Halloween:
So, if you’re the artistic type and want to give your kids a real work of art for breakfast – or even if you just want to impress your kid’s friends during sleepovers, check out Jim Belosic’s “OMG Pancakes!” You won’t be disappointed – unless of course you’re the easily-frustrated type, in which case, stick to scrambled eggs.