Saturday, September 23, 2006

Not all ingredients are the same

A month ago there was a back and forth on The Granola Rules on belief in the divine. One commenter made this analogy:

Let me finish by bringing up the pancakes I was making again....I make these incredible pancakes from scratch using a recipe given to me by my mother-in-law when I was first married. I love to cook...from scratch, following a recipe. Now as I am making these pancakes if I were to look at a recipe that had all but one of the ingredients, would they turn out right? No...without the flour they would be a milky mixture of eggs, salt, sugar and such that wouldn't resemble a pancake at all. Now if I just left out the salt, they would look exactly like the pancakes I make that are divine. But would they taste the same? No.

[ ] believes that they have all of the ingredients together in one recipe. Are other[s] wrong? No. But some are missing the salt and others are missing the flour. What is wrong with sharing the whole recipe so that the pancakes may be enjoyed to the fullest? And if that is what you believe, then it is sharing to bless others, not to justify one's own beliefs. It is not a selfish thing...nor a pushy thing...sharing the recipe gives everyone the choice to partake, not just a few.

At the time I wanted to post why this analogy is incorrect, but I didn't because I didn't want to go too far off topic. Plus, at the time the debate was a bit contentious: two believers vs an agnostic and an atheist. I didn't want to allow my emotions, which were quite high at the time, to get in the way of my analysis.

This commenter's pancake analogy is wrong because there are different ways to make pancakes. She is correct in that if you leave out the key ingredients, the pancakes just aren't pancakes. However, there can be so much variation in the key ingredients.

One cup flour. At first this appears to be straightforward, but it is not. The cook has a choice of all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, buckwheat flour, rice flour, or a mixture of oats and any of the above flours. Who is to say which flour is better?

One tablespoon sugar. Make your choice from cane sugar, raw sugar, brown sugar, or one of the many sugar substitutes.

Two teaspoons baking powder. Are you out of baking powder? Use a mixture of baking soda and cream of tartar as a replacement. At a high altitude? Don't use the leavening agent at all. The fluffiest pancakes I have ever made were at a campsite on the slopes of Mount Baker in NW Washington state.

One quater teaspoon salt. Iodized, kosher, sea salt. Leave it out. Use a substitute.

One cup milk. Here the options are amazing in their variety. Choose whole milk, 2%, 1%, skim. Try goat's milk. What about buttermilk? I've made pancakes with soy milk and coconut milk. No one has even known the difference.

One egg. Here, the cook can use egg substitute or just the egg white.

Two tablespoons cooking oil. This is a step that isn't even necessary with non-stick pans.

Now, get creative and add blueberries or bananas. Have you ever tried chunks of pineapple in a pancake? That's really refreshing and an eye opener in the morning.

Who is to say that your recipe for belief is correct? Who is to say it is the best one? Certainly not me. I will only point out that there are different ways to believe, alterations in a key ingredient may not change the end result much. Some substitutions make a large difference in appearance and taste. Maybe you will counter that we should stick to the original recipe. I would counter with “Whose original recipe?” We could then debate for hours.

Believe what you want to believe, but don't think that yours is the only way to believe. Some people don't even like pancakes.


Trax said...

I like pancakes, some memorable ones are the ones you made when we were on that camping trip, we went hiking and picked those wild blueberries and brought them back to the campsite and you made blueberry pancakes the next morn...mmmmm...they were good! Make them how you want to make them, but don't tell me I should like them if I don't...I'm with you Sarabeth....why can't we all be a little more flexible and tolerate others beliefs...I will tolerate yours even though I really don't believe what you do. I am happy that you are happy with your beliefs, if they make you feel good, that is GREAT...just don't BUG me about how right you are and everybody else is wrong...that will PISS me off!

Trax said...

Hey Sarabeth,

Reading thru this again, I think it would be construed that I am speaking directly to you, when I'm not...I'm speaking generally but it sounded as if I didn't agree w/you when I did...oh well....clearly I am not a professional blogger! :-)