The Science Fair

This year for the first time I let The Boy participate in the school science fair. I never did it before because science fairs for little kids are a lot of work for their parents, and I wasn’t sure he’d get anything out of it anyway. Now that he’s in second grade I thought we’d give it a whirl.

I wanted to do a cooking experiment, and The Boy was game. He had asked me in the past why I put ingredients like salt and baking powder into my pancake recipe, and I would explain that their respective roles were to enhance flavor and to make the batter rise. He just had to take it on faith that I knew what I was talking about.

I decided that it would be a fun experiment to put the pancake recipe to the test. What would happen if we omitted one ingredient at a time in the batter? We could make one batch without eggs, another without oil, another without flour and so on until we’d exhausted the possibilities (eight, as it turns out, including the control batch). He could compare the experimental pancake to the control (made by the normal recipe) and determine what each ingredient did.

So we did that. It took three days to do all the cooking and tasting and photography and writing up of the report, but it turned out to be a lot of fun. By the end, The Boy could actually cook his own pancakes. I’m talking pour the batter himself, keep an eye on it, flip the pancake at the proper time, and plate it. This is very exciting. I’ll have him cooking for me in no time.

I want to share with you a picture of our favorite batch, the one we saved for the grand finale: the pancakes without flour:

The pancakes on the left are the control, and the ones on the right are the flourless ones. Our conversation about them went something like this:

Me: These look like dog vomit.

The Boy: Yeah. Heh-heh. (Samples flourless pancake).

We determined that the flour is necessary to give the pancakes their right density, their cake-like texture, and the proper taste. And to keep them from looking like dog vomit.

Categories: The Kids

3 replies

  1. You know the Boy has had some prior experience with pouring and flipping pancakes… he and I have made pancakes a couple times when they’ve come up to visit.

  2. Dude, seriously, you didn’t pull out Cookwise? J-Ma has a copy if you need one.

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