Pancake brunch benefits International Club at NCC
April 6, 2011 5:56PM
If you go
What: Pancakes Around the World
When: Noon to 1:30 p.m. April 17
Where: Community United Methodist Church, 20 N. Center St.
Cost: $5 tickets at door
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
A Japanese pancake with squid, shrimp, cabbage, cheese and onion? You can get it at Pancakes Around the World, hosted by North Central College International Club students April 17 in Naperville.
“Don’t think of it as breakfast. It’s a lunch or dinner dish,” says Naoko Takada, an NCC sophomore from southern Japan.
She’ll be cooking about 100 okonomiyaki (the name means “how you like it”) with classmate Mika Ueda, an NCC exchange student from Tokyo, for the public that day.
Pancakes Around the World was started in 1993 by Jack Schindler, professor of English and director of international programs. The event at Community United Methodist Church in downtown Naperville will feature pancakes, including Cambodian, Russian, Vietnamese, Korean, Indian, European crepes, traditional American buttermilk, and more. Admission of $5 at the door includes all pancakes plus fruit salad.
A Japanese okonomiyaki is the size of small pizza, which is cut in half. With 200 servings, Kelly Pilleux, international student adviser, hopes there’ll be enough to go around.
“Everybody who comes through the line gets one of each pancake that we make,” Kelly says.
“It’s so popular, we run out every year. (Some NCC) professors come every year just for that pancake, and will wait at the door to get the first that come out. They get annoyed if they’re late and it’s gone.”
Fifteen international students will cook their countries’ specialties, with another 15 helping serve and clean up. Mika and Naoko are excited about cooking for the community, but are a little anxious about being able to keep up with demand.
Money raised benefits scholarships that bring international students to NCC. This year, Mika and Naoko’s fellow Japanese Club students also will host a booth, giving out origami for Red Cross donations for their tsunami-stricken homeland.
In Japan, okonomiyaki was Naoko’s favorite dish. It’s often made in a grill-it-yourself restaurant. The server provides ingredients that the customer mixes and grills at tables fitted with teppan, or hotplates. There may be a diner-style counter where the cook prepares the dish in front of customers.
“I make it with seafood, vegetables or pork,” Naoko says. “It’s a common thing for a daily meal.”
The two students prepared it last year for International Club members.
“They loved it!” Mika says.
The pancake includes aonori (dried seaweed), dried bonito (fish), and a Japanese sweet sauce.
“After they eat the pancake,” Mika said, “they want to eat it again. They say, ‘We really like it, it’s delicious and tasty.’ Someone said it was more like a pizza than a pancake.”
The pancakes that are most unusual to American palates disappear the fastest, Kelly says.
“It’s funny because at the end of the event, what we have left over are cold buttermilk pancakes,” Kelly says. “The people who come like to try different foods.
“It’s an international brunch, but it runs on American time. The event is noon to 1:30, but 1:15 is not a good time to show up. Be there at noon for the best selection!”