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EDITOR’S NOTE: We originally published this story in February of last year, when the Library of Congress first digitized Rosa Parks’ personal papers. Within those pages was her sterling pancake recipe, which is making the rounds again thanks to this week’s episode of the Sporkful podcast. Give it a listen, and whip up a batch of these.
This morning, the Library of Congress announced that they had digitized Rosa Parks' personal collection of papers, letters, and photographs. The memorabilia, which had been protected for over a decade due to a lengthy legal battle, is now available to the public. We couldn't help but notice that slipped in among her first-hand writings about the Montgomery bus boycott and family photos is a short recipe.
Scribbled in sloping letters onto a deposit slip from Detroit National Bank, the title reads "Featherlite Pancakes." What follows is a list of ingredients—including peanut butter!—and a short description of the method: "Combine with dry ingredients. Cook at 275° F on griddle."
As fans of any and all lofty, airy pancakes, we decided to recreate Rosa's recipe this morning, peanut butter and all. While we can't say we were surprised by the inclusion of peanut butter—Rosa was raised in Alabama, a major peanut-growing state—but where the recipe is surprising in that the peanut butter goes into the batter, rather than on top of the pancakes.
But while you'd expect a peanut butter-laced pancake to be rich and heavy (since the addition of even a third of a cup adds oil and sugar to a recipe that already has other sources of it), these pancakes live up to their name. Rosa Parks' pancakes are surprisingly fluffy—thanks, likely, to 2 tablespoons of baking powder—with a toasty hint of peanut butter.
We have Rosa Parks to thank for much more important things than pancakes, but that doesn't make us any less grateful for the recipe.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk
- 1/3 cup peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon shortening, melted, or any neutral oil, like canola
Photo by Bobbi Lin
Have you ever put peanut butter in your pancakes? Tell us in the comments!