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Egg bake, pancakes: Time for Easter breakfast

When this column finally gets published and is in your hands, it will be Easter Sunday. Children will be frantically searching for elusive eggs, parents will be cheerily cooking all manner of Easter fare, and I will be in my church flipping pancakes.

Allow me to explain. It's been a long-standing tradition of my church to have the men of the church host an Easter breakfast every year. The women of the church are in charge of everything else: the lutefisk dinner (this is a Lutheran Church), the quilts for the confirmations, and the occasional spaghetti dinner fund-raiser benefiting a worthy cause.

So, it only seems right that the men of the church should be given the chance to prove themselves, to show that they too are making a contribution.

Last year was my first year of helping with this operation, and I have to say it was quite an educational experience. I arrived at the church early -- very early -- for there was much work to be done, and was almost immediately put to work. Contrary to what I expected, I was not to flip pancakes immediately (as the breakfast would not start for over 2 hours) but rather, was given the relatively mundane task of mixing orange juice.

After I had completed that job, I was promoted to helping with the egg bake, or, as my dad like to call the dish, "eggs for the masses." This did not take long either, as the egg bake had been prepared the night before ("it needed time to culture" they told me), and simply had to be placed in the oven, and removed when it "starts to get crispy."

The juice was mixed, the egg bake was baked, and there was still over an hour before church would start, and over an hour and a half before I would actually get to start flipping pancakes, so I found myself with very little to do. Thankfully, there were some interesting conversations happening among the other people involved in this pancake operation, so I passed the time by silently eavesdropping, which I must confess can be very intriguing at times.

Finally, church began. I was to check out of the service early to help flip pancakes so that people would be able to eat immediately upon exiting the sanctuary. I watched earnestly for my cue. It came, and I surreptitiously but speedily left the sanctuary through the back door, walked into the kitchen, and stared in surprise at the scene before me.

One of the men of the church had the ingenuity to expedite the process of stirring pancake batter by using his industrial grade electric drill, with a special attachment, to mix the mix. This was rather shocking at first, but I soon became accustomed, perhaps indifferent, to the prospect of my food coming in contact with a drill that had probably been sitting in the owner's garage, and had most likely been used for other applications besides mixing pancakes.

He stood over a five-gallon bucket and began to furiously beat the pancake batter, until he felt that it was satisfactorily combined.

Then we started the griddles, filled our pitchers with pancake batter and began flipping pancakes. I was initially very clumsy with this, making every pancake too large or too small, and burnt my first few attempts, but I soon became quite adept at this art.

Church ended and the masses flocked in. People seemed to be quite hungry, and even I was surprised by the appetites of some of the folks at this function. But all good things must end, and we finally ran out of food. Those who were ambulatory, after a time, left the building and proceeded home.

Other people, mostly men, who had overindulged and were too full to move, leaned back in their chairs with a triumphant grin on their faces. They bragged to others of the sheer volume of food they had consumed, and lovingly stroked their hugely expanded bellies, which served as evidence of their accomplishment.

Yes, Easter is a joyous time for all, and I am sure you are looking forward to spending time with your family and friends, searching for elusive eggs, and yes, eating virtually all day long. I know I am.

However you choose to celebrate, I hope your celebration of this important, yet joyous holiday is wonderful. Happy Easter!

Nathan Kitzmann is a freshman and is homeschooled.