Sunday, January 02, 2022

Pancake Research

I found reason to recall a long-ago exchange in the "writers' room," when someone mentioned putting syrup on pancakes, whereupon Hanna, calling in from Sweden, said, with a degree of alarm, something like, "What kind of syrup would you put on pancakes?" Adam replied, "Breakfast syrup." Hanna said, and this may be a direct quote, "Breakfast syrup? You guys are crazy." We asked what goes on pancakes in Sweden and Hanna said, "Jam." Now, we all had to admit that sounded great! But it was clear that syrup in Sweden is different than what we call syrup in the USA. All of this came back to me as I contemplated the molasses sandwiches in Ingmar Bergman's film FANNY AND ALEXANDER. After recording my thoughts on the film below, I dispatched an urgent query to Hanna, asking what the translator might have been getting at. Hanna concluded that the children were most likely enjoying some treacle (AKA golden syrup) on bread, a cheaper substitute for honey on bread. Now, the grandmother in FANNY AND ALEXANDER seemed as if she would be able to afford all the honey a child could ever eat, but that is none of my beeswax. Ha ha. Hanna told me there is nothing like molasses in Sweden, although both she and I may have been conflating molasses and syrup, as I know from visiting dozens of websites that are all too eager to explain in excruciating detail the myriad important differences between molasses and syrup, which I perversely refuse to commit to memory, despite all my feigned interest in the subject.