What if I said you could save the world from certain doom just by making breakfast? Is that why they say it’s the most important meal of the day? Probably. I’ve arrived at this hypothesis after years of reading comics, which is obviously the best way to gain accurate information about the world around us. Bonus: you can make it for dinner and it’s just as good.
I first noticed the world-saving breakfast phenomenon when I read Mike Mignola’s two-page Hellboy story, “Pancakes.” Take 90 seconds and read the entire tale:
All it took to keep Hellboy on Team Humanity was the timely introduction of pancakes into his life. Wonderful, hot, fluffy pancakes. It’s hard to stay committed to destroying the world if doing so would mean cutting off your supply of delicious foods.
Maybe your potential world-destroyer is less into carbs, and more into protein. The current incarnation of Loki is absolutely enthralled by Midgard’s many breakfast meats, as established in Kieron Gillen’s recent runs on Journey into Mystery and Young Avengers, and continuing in Al Ewing’s current Loki: Agent of Asgard.
This Tumblr assembled a great gallery cataloguing Loki’s breakfast meat obsession.
See? Get somebody hooked on the salty, greasy goodness of bacon, sausage, and ham, and next thing you know, they’re on a secret mission to keep the world and its excellent diners safe from harm.
Another benefit of feeding your guest a big breakfast is how much it’s likely to slow them down, at least in the short-term. You don’t want to eat a big stack of pancakes and an omelet and a pound of bacon, then go do a bunch of cardio right away. Mostly, you want to lie down and wait for the meat sweats to pass. This gives your target time to consider whether it’s really worth it to wreck everything.
Breakfast is a universal good. It’s welcome any time of day, and heroes love it too. The desire to defend breakfast is probably a big reason many of them became heroes in the first place. Is there a better post-battle meal to eat with the team? (But maybe not right before a battle, for the reasons mentioned above. It’d be awkward if your heroes failed to save the world because they scarfed down too many waffles and got stomach cramps mid-fight.)
Use your best judgment when deciding what to serve your special guest. For instance, if you have a Magneto situation, I’d advise you to skip the pork products and stick to the pancakes.
To save the world, you need a battle plan. The full pancake recipe is below, but if you’re making them as part of a more elaborate meal, you have to plot out all the steps in advance so the necessary multitasking doesn’t go awry.
Let’s say you’re also serving loaded scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, and fruit (you know, to make it healthy):
The Battle Plan
- Get out the eggs and cheese to let them come to room temperature. I used goat cheese because we know they have goats in Asgard—Thor’s chariot is drawn by giant goats!—and they also have them in Hellboy’s native land unless we’ve been totally lied to by our album covers.
- Prepare two foil-lined baking sheets and set aside—one for meats, the other for pancakes.
- Make the pancake dry mix (you can do this up to three months ahead of time and keep it around for breakfast emergencies).
- Turn the oven on to begin warming at 200F.
- Chop ham.
- Cut up the fruit if required. If the fruit is the kind that will turn brown quickly after being cut, like apples, you might wait to do that until right before you serve it.
- Start cooking the bacon. Not too fast so it doesn’t burn!
- While the bacon cooks, make the egg mixture for the pancakes.
- Then whisk up the scrambled eggs in a separate bowl. Don’t mix it up with the pancake egg mixture! Add a splash of milk, the chopped ham, crumbled goat cheese, and maybe a little pepper and hot sauce. It really doesn’t need extra salt with the ham and cheese in there.
- Pat the grease off the bacon and put it on the baking sheet.
- Cook the sausages in the same pan you used to cook the bacon. Leave a touch of bacon grease in the pan if you’re feeling extra decadent. When the sausages are done, add them to the baking sheet with the bacon and place it in the warm oven.
- While the sausages are cooking, mix the wet and dry pancake ingredients together—don’t over-mix them!—and let them rest together in the bowl for a few minutes.
- Wipe out the bacon/sausage pan with a paper towel, so there’s not really any grease left other than a thin sheen, just for flavor. Pour the scrambled egg mixture in there and set the heat to medium-low. Keep a close eye on it, stirring often enough to keep it from burning. I always accidentally overcook my eggs, but piling all the ham and cheese in there helps make up for that. Maybe you’ll do better!
- Start cooking the pancakes. Then start cooking the eggs. Get ready to go back and forth between them, pouring batter and stirring eggs, flipping pancakes and stirring eggs, and so on until it’s all done. If you keep the heat low enough on the eggs, you might finish them all about the same time.
- Plate, serve, and hope for a survivable outcome.
Oh, and do your best to observe the rules of hospitality, as that’s a big deal to your old-world types. Good luck!
I based my pancakes on Alton Brown’s Instant Pancake Mix recipe. My method is a little less fussy, but the pancakes turn out just as fluffy and tasty.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 eggs, separated
2 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons melted butter
4 tablespoons butter, for greasing the pan (you might not actually use that much)
2 cups berries, chocolate chips, etc. (optional)
Heat an electric griddle or skillet to 350F. Heat oven to 200F.
Put parchment paper or foil on a baking sheet and set it aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. (Check the date on your baking powder to make sure it’s fresh. This is what makes your pancakes fluffy, but it won’t work well if it’s out of date.)
Whisk the eggs and buttermilk together in another bowl. Slowly whisk in the melted butter—you want the butter to cool as you’re adding it.
Pour the egg mixture into the dry mixture. Mix the batter gently, just enough to bring it all together. It will be lumpy, but don’t worry: your pancakes will not be lumpy.
When the griddle is hot enough, add a little butter and spread it around on the surface. Use just enough to grease the surface lightly—you shouldn’t be able to see solid butter once it’s spread.
Using a measuring cup, pour 1/4 cup of the pancake batter onto the griddle. If you’re mixing in fruit or chocolate chips or whatever you want, sprinkle that on top right away. As the pancake cooks, you will notice little bubbles forming on the surface. When the bubbles around the edges of the pancake begin to set, it’s time to flip the pancake. Flip it gently and let it cook another 2-3 minutes, until it’s done, but not burned!
Note: In my experience, the first pancake of a batch always looks terrible, but it tastes fine. Hide it at the bottom of the stack when you serve it and nobody will ever know.
Remember the baking sheet we prepared earlier? Put your finished pancakes on it and keep it in your warm oven. It will take some time to use all the batter, which makes about 12 pancakes. Putting them in the oven as you go keeps them all piping hot until you’re done, but don’t leave them in longer than about 30 minutes.
When it’s time, stack your pancakes on a plate. You can top the pancakes with a pat of butter, but it might not be necessary since they already contain a lot of butter. Pour syrup over the stack and serve.
Annie Bulloch is co-owner of 8th Dimension Comics & Games in Houston, Texas. Find her on Twitter: @texasannie