Portered on Pancake Day

Panic as peevish pupil porters passionate pancake pack

Anna Feest

Some people are afraid of fun...or complex carbohydrates

Ah, Pancake Day. That annual Tuesday when pancakes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner are not only accepted, they're expected. It sparks national debates about toppings: lemon or sugar first? Grated or sliced cheese? OK, maybe not quite national debate, but my family always got quite involved in arguing the merits of golden over maple syrup.

Pancake making is difficult, but doing it in Cambridge presents its own challenge. Eduroam failed, so it took a while for us to find a recipe. Some optimistic soul had brought scales with them. They clearly overestimated the cooking we'd be doing. Nonetheless, we used the scale to weigh  out the right quantities of air, sadness, and tastelessness for vegan pancakes. Surprised? This is Cambridge, after all. 

In all fairness, these were probably better than those that followed, which at first resembled Van of Life chips in the cold light of day. Nevertheless, Pancake Day must continue, and so we did, with now about 15 people gathered on the stairs. They weren’t in the gyp, where there’s room for 2 people if neither want to open the fridge, or in anyone’s room, because more than 10 people is a party and requires written permission from the Dean.

The pancakes improved with the demotion of the head chef to the stairs. This was a reasonable action, since he converted chocolate into a sticky, yet simultaneously crunchy and lumpy, mess in the microwave. Production was slow, because we were limited to two barely functioning hobs that switch off every 10 minutes. Cambridge really is a wonderful place!

Despite everything, it worked. Pancake Day has the power to bring together several stressed, worn out students together for a relaxed, wholesome event. Rumour has it the event was better attended than free bubble tea at CUSU.

Then, suddenly, it wasn’t so fantastic.

Sirens screamed in the distance, pancakes crumbled in our mouths, and the gloriously sticky golden syrup hardened and soured as impending doom came towards us. Oh yes, something was happening, because someone had portered our Pancake Day.

I’m sure this Porter felt horrible when he realised that he wasn’t breaking up a rowdy, alcohol infused pres, but a wholesome, batter induced gathering. Even as he took our names —yes, really — to pass onto the Dean for ‘further action,’ we could only mourn the waste of waiting batter. The reason for this terrible turn of events? Noise complaint.

Whoever you are, you should know that I don’t despise you. I pity you, and can only hope that whatever happened in your past to turn you into a bitter, anti-pancake demon can be healed.

Next year, we will of course go out of our way to ensure that there is absolutely. No. Noise. It will give us time to perfect the technique of eating with our fingers, because cutlery makes too much noise. Cracking eggs and flipping pancakes will also have to go, so we’ll be eating tasteless messes with one burnt side and one raw side. Take all of this with a pinch of salt (about the same size pinch as would go in the batter) because really, Pancake Day is more powerful than any of us. Pancake Day answers to no Porter.

I could say that Cambridge has sucked the soul out of something as harmless as Pancake Day, but to do so would be to admit defeat. Pancake Day cannot and will not be allowed to succumb to minor complications such as these. And if it does? Well, there’s always Van of Life.