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Reheat: In Search Of Rosa Parks’ Pancakes

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Jun 21, 2024
Reheat: In Search Of Rosa Parks’ Pancakes

Every other Friday, we reach into our deep freezer and reheat an episode to serve up to you. We're calling these our Reheats. If you have a show you want reheated, send us an email or voice memo at hello@sporkful.com, and include your name, your location, which episode, and why.

In 2016, the Library of Congress posted Rosa Parks' personal documents online for the first time. Buried under postcards from Martin Luther King and lists of volunteers for the Montgomery Bus Boycott was a pancake recipe, written on the back of an envelope — which included the addition of peanut butter to the batter. On this week's episode, we visit Adrienne Cannon, a specialist in African-American history at the Library of Congress, to see the recipe firsthand. Then we travel to Detroit to share a meal with Mrs. Parks' nieces, who published their aunt's favorite recipes in their book, Our Auntie Rosa. Finally, Dan heads to Nicole Taylor's kitchen to make those peanut butter pancakes.


Featherlite Pancakes

Sift together 1 c. flour, 2 tbsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 2 tbsp. sugar. Mix 1 egg1-1/4 c. milk1/3 c. peanut butter melted, and 1 tbsp. shortening or oil. Combine with dry ingredients. Cook at 275 degrees on griddle.

Dan with Rosa Parks' Nieces, Sheila and Deb

Dan with Rosa Parks' nieces, Sheila McCauley Keys and Deborah Ann Ross

Auntie Rosa's Lemonade
From Our Auntie Rosa, courtesy of Penguin Random House

lemons (any quantity you desire)
sugar to taste

Cut lemons, place in saucepan, cover with water, and set over medium-high heat. Bring to boil, and boil until lemons break down, rind, oil, and all. (This makes the lemon flavor stronger and more concentrated.) Strain out the lemon pieces, add water and sugar, to taste, to the lemon juice, and serve over ice.

This episode originally aired on May 1, 2017, and April 12, 2021, and was produced by Dan Pashman, Anne Saini, Shoshana Gold, with editing by Dan Charles. The Sporkful team now includes Dan Pashman, Emma Morgenstern, Andres O'Hara, Jared O'Connell, and Nora Ritchie.

Interstitial music in this episode from Black Label Music:

  • "Pong" by Kenneth J. Brahmstedt
  • "On The Floor" by Cullen Fitzpatrick
  • "Summertime" by Jack Ventimiglia
  • "Mellophone" by JT Bates
  • "Legend" by Erick Anderson
  • "Soul Good" by Lance Conrad

Photos courtesy of Dan Pashman.

View Transcript

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