SNUGGED IN THE BACK of the Faribault Eagles Club kitchen, around the corner from griddles and a serving line, Bob Cross mixed pancake batter Sunday morning.
I expected him to shoo me away, to hesitate at sharing the secret recipe for pancakes prepared at the Faribault Lions Club 49th annual all-you-can-eat Super Bowl Pancake and Sausage Breakfast.
But Bob welcomed my questions, allowed me to take photos. And although I didn’t get the precise recipe, I have a pretty good idea now what goes into these tasty pancakes. Eggs. Oil. Water or milk (sorry, I can’t recall which). And, the secret ingredient—cake donut mix, as in a pre-mixed combination of flour, sugar, salt, whey and more used in making cake donuts. The cake donut mix adds a touch of sweetness to the pancakes, Bob says.
Ten years ago this volunteer took over pancake batter prep duties from his father-in-law, Bill Harkins. Bill’s recipe has been tweaked and perfected, and legend has it that only Bob now knows the exact recipe.
He’s obviously got it right based on number of diners. When I checked with ticket sellers at 12:15 p.m., an hour before closing, 750 people had already gone through the line in 4.75 hours.
That’s a lot of pancakes. And we’re talking near dinner plate-sized pancakes.
But this breakfast is about more than the food. It’s about continuing a 49-year Faribault Lions Club tradition. It’s about seasoned pancake breakfast volunteers frying pancakes alongside newbies. It’s about high school students serving beverages and clearing tables. As cliché as it sounds, the Lions and crew work like a well-oiled machine.
This breakfast is about working together and dining together.
It’s about giving back to the community with proceeds helping those in need.
It’s about service to others, following the Lions Club motto, “We Serve.”
As I wandered about taking photos, I saw a lot of people I knew, but also many I didn’t. I felt a sense of community in my city of some 23,000, a connection that comes from living in the same geographical area and from participating in a time-honored tradition.
Forty-nine years. That’s a long time for one organization to continue with a breakfast.
This is the first year I’ve attended. I don’t especially like pancakes. But I ate three Sunday morning, proof that the Lion’s Club pancakes are deserving of their long-standing praise.
Tradition. Secret recipe. A community coming together. Lions serving.
On Super Bowl Sunday, the Lions Club Pancake and Sausage Breakfast scores as a big win in Faribault. For forty-nine years.
© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling