It’s all a matter of the batter

Kiwanis Club member Kevin Mitchell flips pancakes during the 54th annual pancake day held by the Noon-day Kiwanis Club on Saturday at Clovis High School. (CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth)

By David Irvin: CNJ staff writer

In a break between pouring and flipping pancakes, Kiwanis Club of Clovis member Gary Hoadley took a little time to admire his work.

Before him lay eight to nine unusually uniform pancakes.
“If you did a Google search for a perfect griddle of pancakes, this is the picture that would come up,” Hoadley joked.

Hoadley’s been cooking for the annual Kiwanis pancake day since 1985. In those days, new pancake flippers had to undergo a grueling 10-year apprenticeship before they could cook on the front lines, he said.

That was one of the jokes being told on the flapjack line Saturday morning at the 54th annual pancake day held by the noon-day Kiwanis Club of Clovis.

But the event is no laughing matter.

Members said plenty of prep work goes into getting ready before they let the public in at 6 a.m. and eight hours of manic pancake-making begins.

“We had a crew here at 4 a.m. to start mixing the batter and slicing the sausage,” said Kevin Mitchell, president of Clovis’ noon-day Kiwanis club.

Support crews in the back kitchen continued to churn the mixture throughout the day until it was smooth enough to be poured onto the griddles.

In all they probably made about 3,000 pancakes before the day was over, Mitchell said. Some are plain old flapjacks. Others look like Mickey Mouse. There is even pancake lettering placed along the counter predicting the winner of today’s Super Bowl.

The winner and loser would change as those lined up for the pancakes rearranged the little pancakes according to their allegiances.

In past years, the event would sometimes stretch 12 hours. Members said that made for a dead-time stretch in the mid-afternoon between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., and sometimes a little hijinks would ensue.

Like the time Mitchell got a bit feisty and turned on a griddle that one of the other members was sitting on.

“After 10 seconds, he got up,” Mitchell said.

Or when the motor of the mixer sprung a leak, and oil started dripping straight into the pancake mix.

Members stood around considering the options. Someone suggested, “We could just tell them it’s blueberry pancakes.”

That option wasn’t considered long, and the tainted vat was properly disposed of, Mitchell said.

Mitchell has been cooking pancakes at the annual event since 1988, just three fewer years than Hoadley. He had lots of good memories of past year’s events, which is the major annual fundraiser for the service organization.

With funds raised they will support Little League teams, fund scholarships and help out with boy and girl scouts, said Elaine Williford, a member of the Clovis Kiwanis board of directors and pancake fund-raiser co-chair.

“We’ve had a lot of community support,” Williford said. “Community support for service club fund-raising is essential.”

What is the Kiwanis club?

• Community service organization that raises money in support of little league teams, scholarships for college students and a Christmas party for under-privileged children.
• Kiwanis International contributes funds around the world to help eliminate iodine deficiency disorders, a leading cause of mental retardation.

Contributors to the 54th annual pancake day:
• Albertson’s
• Lowe’s Supermarket
• Dairy Farmers of America
• Twin Cronnie’s Drive In
• K-Bob’s
• Long John Silver’s
• UNI-First
• Stansell’s
• S&S Supermarket
• Der Wienerschnitzel
• Foxy Drive In
• Taco Box
• Juanito’s
• ZIP Printing

Source: Kiwanis Club of Clovis members and Kiwanis International literature.