Pancake night is something we do at Guides pretty much every year. Last year I missed it, but this year I was there to join in the fun.
We asked the girls to bring along a clean empty tin can with one end intact and holes punched into it. I suggested about 10-20 pencil-width holes, but I should have specified they needed to be in the curved side, because one Guide came with lots of neat holes punched into the flat end – not so useful, because that’s where the batter goes. Well, we’ll know for next time.
The leaders brought spare cans, household candles, tea lights, matches, hair ties, oil, batter, and toppings. We set the girls up at tables with big plates or baking trays in front of them, and melted the household candles onto the plates/trays so they stayed upright.
The Guides lit their candles and upended their cans over them so the flame heated up the flat end of the can. They put a spoonful of oil on the flat surface, let it heat up, then put on a couple of spoonfuls of batter to make a little round pancake. When it was cooked, they ate it with toppings and repeated.
For a bit of variety, Unit Leader also brought along some foil jam tart cases which the Guides picked up with clothes pegs to make a mini pan that they could hold over their candle.
NB your average household candle is too tall to fit under an upturned tin can, so the Guides found they had to either break off the bottom of the candle, or let it burn down a few centimetres (meanwhile, they could use the foil tart case and clothes peg), or stand their tin on top of something (e.g. tea lights) so it would fit over the candles.
It was a good evening, not only because it resulted in tasty pancakes all round, but also because it had the Guides thinking about way to overcome the various problems they encountered (flames going out, candles falling over, batter spillages, pancake stuck to the can, etc. etc.), experimenting with fire and cooking (we had some marshmallows as toppings, and it wasn’t long before a couple of Guides tried putting them on top of their pancakes while they were cooking; soon everyone was doing it), and working together (“Could you hold my tin steady while I scrape off the charred remains of this pancake?”). As usual, some of the girls who were most squeamish about lighting a match at the beginning of the meeting were happily playing about (safely!) with their lit candles by the end.