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Friday, July 1, 2011


My dear husband often encourages me to cook without recipes. Below is the result of me following his advice.
Models of a cell? No, pancakes.
This is a weird-angle view of peanut butter and jelly pancakes. I've always wanted to make them, and our family are huge fans of peanut butter and jelly. I'm the only who's not too partial to grape jelly, but everyone else smacks their lips for it. 

I plopped the pancakes onto the griddle, spooned peanut butter into the batter, and dolloped jelly around the peanut butter. All was going well until I flipped the cakes and the jelly all cooked out. They were still delicious, there was enough jelly left to leave a nice lingering berry flavor and there are only a few things in this world that beat warm peanut butter on a Sunday morning. 

So, after eating the experiment and deciding there was slight room for improvement, my first instinct was to go online and read recipes to get some advice from other cooks on how to trap the jelly into the batter. 

But are you ready for this? I didn't! No research, no reading. I just sat there and thought of a plan all by myself.  Next time, after the jelly snuggles into the batter for a bit, I will apply a top-coat of more batter, in the hopes that it will quickly seal over the good stuff and keep it safe until we tear into it.

For those of you unfamiliar with the scientific method, this is called forming my "hypothesis." A hypothesis is not a theory, although in common conversation the two are often used interchangeably, albeit incorrectly. Theories only come about after many, many hypotheses have been tested. 

In order to conduct this experiment according to the rules of the scientific method, I need to disclose several pieces of information so you can replicate this experiment for yourself and test the results. If my hypothesis is correct, and you use the same materials (ingredients) and tools (skillet and spatula, etc), and follow the same steps (cooking temperature, time on the grill, placement of the jelly) then the results (pancakes, yum) should be the same. 

This explains why cooking is not science, it's art. Because I follow many recipes to the letter, obsessing over granules of seasoning that might not meet the recipes instructions, and my results frequently diverge from the description or photos. And since there's no guarantee your results will be the same as mine, I'm not going to bother typing out all that scientific method stuff right now. Go figure out your own way to make PBJP and keep the jelly inside - I dare you!


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