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Sohla And Ham El-Waylly Settle A Pancake Dispute «

Dan Pashman: Do you guys ever get tired of cooking?

Sohla El-Waylly: Yeah.

Ham El-Waylly: Yeah, of course. There are times where it’s not fun because, you know, it’s a job.

Dan Pashman: That’s right. 

Sohla El-Waylly: What gets exhausting is having to cook and take notes.

Dan Pashman: So like when you’re developing a recipe. 

Sohla El-Waylly: Mm-hmm. 

Dan Pashman: Right. Right.

Ham El-Waylly: Being able to cook and not have to worry about getting the lighting right, so you can take a photo is a completely different type of cooking and it feels freeing when you can just cook for the sake of cooking.

Dan Pashman: Like, I mean, the two of you are a veritable internet food power couple, so I think that’s the life you signed up for.


Ham El-Waylly: Loosely, loosely using, using terms like power couple over here. We’ve got a Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds and then Ham and Sohla. 

Dan Pashman: That’s right. 

Ham El-Waylly: Right below.

Sohla El-Waylly: Right next to each other.

Dan Pashman: [LAUGHING]


Dan Pashman: This is the Spork — [RECORD SCRATCH] That sounded like —

Sohla El-Waylly: Aggressive. 

Dan Pashman: That was a little aggressive. 


Dan Pashman: and I get a little amped —



Dan Pashman: Yeah, yeah. Also, I was like one octave too high. I feel like I gotta bring it down just a little. All right. Ready? 


Dan Pashman: This is The Sporkful, it’s not for foodies, it’s for eaters. I’m Dan Pashman. Each week on our show we obsess about food to learn more about people. Joining me now are two very special guests. They are chefs. They’re YouTube personalities, Sohla and Ham El Waylly! Hey, Sohla and Ham.

Sohla El-Waylly: Hello.

Ham El-Waylly: Hey, Dan

Dan Pashman: [LAUGHS]

Ham El-Waylly: Is that the appropriate response?

Dan Pashman: You didn’t sound quite as fired up as I did, that’s all.

Ham El-Waylly: Well, it was — I don’t want to upstage you on your own show. You just came up with so much fire. I think it’ll — it’ll take me a while to get up to your level. I need to ramp up a bit

Dan Pashman: Fair enough. Fair enough. So Sohla, you’ve been on the show a couple of times via Zoom. We’ve become texting buddies. You were one of my first pasta taste testers, but this is our first time meeting in person! 

Sohla El-Waylly: Yeah.

Dan Pashman: And Ham, you and Sohla are married and you’ve started hosting videos together. So first, let’s just hang out. Let’s chat a bit about the two of you, your work together. And then later on, we’re going to take a call from a married couple having some food-related relationship issues, we’ll see if we can help them. But first, so the two of you met in culinary school. Tell me about like those early days in culinary school. Like when you two like locked eyes over a carcass that you were learning to butcher or something like that? What happened?

Sohla El-Waylly: We met in the smoking gazebo.

Dan Pashman: Smoking gazebo?

Sohla El-Waylly: Yeah. We both used to smoke and they wanted to contain the smokers by giving …

Dan Pashman: Oh, you weren’t smoking meats. You were smoking cigarettes. 

Sohla El-Waylly: Cigarettes.

Ham El-Waylly: Yes. Yes. Yes.

Dan Pashman: I just pictured a beautiful gazebo with trellises and flowers and like hunks of meat hanging. 

Ham El-Waylly: The smoking gazebo is not elegant. It is disgusting. Yet we found romance.

Dan Pashman: Okay. So what happened?

Sohla El-Waylly: We both connected over the same cookbook. We were both really into the Alinea cookbook. Ham was reading it in the smoking gazebo and I was like, “Hey, I just got that too.” And then we talked about the hydrocolloids and foams.

Dan Pashman: Hydro-what?

Sohla El-Waylly: Hydrocolloids, xanthan gum, iota …

Ham El-Waylly: Gellin. Gellin is the most romantic of all the hydrocolloids.


Dan Pashman: This is like molecular gastronomy stuff. 

Sohla El-Waylly: Uh-huh. 

Dan Pashman: Like you’re talking about making foams and using science to turn basic foods into complicated foods. What appealed to you about this approach to food?

Ham El-Waylly: It was different. So much about food before that was just these French rules that you had to follow. It was just, this is how you do it. If you don’t make it like this, you are wrong. So like Alinea and WD50, and like these restaurants started popping up where the question of why became more important. Why do you do things this way? Is there a way to get a similar or better result by just cooking it a different way? That’s still — that’s how we think about food to this day.

Sohla El-Waylly: And then I think we further bonded. Well, we all had to pair up to write a report about a chef. And we were the only ones who wanted to write about Heston Blumenthal.

Dan Pashman: He’s like a British chef. Was he one of the original molecular gastronomy guys. Is that why?

Ham El-Waylly: He was really on the forefront of the modernist movement. 

Dan Pashman: Right. 

Ham El-Waylly: Alongside Ferran and Grant, cause we’re all on first name basis. 


Ham El-Waylly: I’m just going to call them Ferran, Grant, and Heston.

Dan Pashman: Right. 

Sohla El-Waylly: Heston!

Ham El-Waylly: And like, Heston Blumenthal had this series on BBC called In Search of Perfection

Sohla El-Waylly: Oh, we loved that!

Ham El-Waylly: We love that show. We would just like — we would just cuddle up in the dorms on a small laptop and then just watch these episodes over and over and over again. And he would just take like a classic dish, like spaghetti bolognese and make his like ideal version of it. And he’d go to Italy, do a bunch of research. So really getting into that why.

Dan Pashman: So you’re nerds.

Sohla El-Waylly: Yup.

Ham El-Waylly: We’re basically nerds. We’re — we bonded over being nerds.

Dan Pashman: Now you two host Mystery Menu, a YouTube series with New York Times Cooking where in each episode you get a mystery ingredient and you have one hour to turn it into a meal. So I want to play a clip of the two of you trying to figure out what to make when the mystery ingredient turned out to be coffee beans.

CLIP (SOHLA EL-WAYLLY): We only have an hour. 

CLIP (HAM EL-WAYLLY): That leaves like freezing out of the question. Well, I just got a second thought. Mole.

CLIP (SOHLA EL-WAYLLY): Oh yeah. That’s better. 

CLIP (HAM EL-WAYLLY) Do a coffee mole. 

CLIP (SOHLA EL-WAYLLY): Coffee mole. Yeah, that sounds good. 

CLIP (SOHLA EL-WAYLLY): Pressure cooking the coffee. Do you think we could pressure cook it in milk? Or do you think it’ll burn?

CLIP (HAM EL-WAYLLY) I think the milk burn. 

CLIP (SOHLA EL-WAYLLY): Okay. Just pressure cook it in water and do like a rice pudding thing?


CLIP (SOHLA EL-WAYLLY): So I’ll cook down the milk separately. 


CLIP (SOHLA EL-WAYLLY): And then add the beans to that so it has like a, 

[CLIP (HAM EL-WAYLLY) That’s cool.] rice pudding vibe and we have it wit the pineapple. 

CLIP (HAM EL-WAYLLY) That’s a cool idea. We did it. 


CLIP (HAM EL-WAYLLY) Okay. There’s a plan. There’s a plan. 

CLIP (HAM EL-WAYLLY) We can do that in an hour. For sure.

Dan Pashman: How realistic is this to like your home life when you’re deciding what to make for dinner?

Sohla El-Waylly: This is what we do all the time.

Ham El-Waylly: Yeah, it’s actually pretty, pretty realistic. It’s a good snapshot of what it’s like when we try and figure out what to cook at home. Sometimes they’re as elaborate. Right?

Sohla El-Waylly: [LAUGHS]

Dan Pashman: But are there ever things you disagree about?

Sohla El-Waylly: Yes, but we never like fight. The disagreements turn into conversations. And then if it’s really — if we’re like both really on two sides, we’ll just make two things.

Dan Pashman: And then do you eat in separate rooms?

Sohla El-Waylly: No.


Dan Pashman: Sohla, you also host the History Channel YouTube show, Ancient Recipes

Sohla El-Waylly: Mm-hmm. 

Dan Pashman: Where you cook dishes from antiquity using only the techniques that would have been available at the time. 

Sohla El-Waylly: Mm-hmm. 

Dan Pashman: Are there any techniques that you’ve used in that show that you were like, I’m gonna start doing it this way at home, even when I have full access to technology?

Sohla El-Waylly: There’s this ancient — not ancient. I don’t know. Maybe it’s like 400 years ago — a pie crust recipe. And instead of water it’s with egg whites, which was actually really cool because the pie crust baked up super crispy. You don’t need to egg wash it. You don’t need to parbake it. It naturally has this anti-sog barrier because of the egg white. So that’s kind of become a go-to way that I make pie crust now.

Dan Pashman: All right.

Sohla El-Waylly: I forgot. I wanted to bring cookies. I’m trying to do this thing where every time I go see people in person, I take cookies. It’s just like a lot to keep up with.

Dan Pashman: Yeah. [LAUGHS] 

Ham El-Waylly: The goal is to like have cookie dough, frozen, and portioned in the freezer. So if something comes up, you just need to preheat the oven, throw them on a tray, and then you’ve got cookies, but we haven’t gotten to that stage of organization in our lives.

Dan Pashman: I mean, that’s a very admirable goal. What kind of cookies would you have made me if you had made cookies?

Sohla El-Waylly: Um, I really like making trash candy cookies.

Dan Pashman: Okay.

Sohla El-Waylly: So like all of the fun candies from CVS. 

Dan Pashman: Got it. 

Sohla El-Waylly: Inside of a cookie.

Dan Pashman: Love it. 

Sohla El-Waylly: Like mini M&Ms, which you can buy in bulk at CVS. Old Easter candy, you know, like all the Halloween candy that’s on sale?

Dan Pashman: Right.

Sohla El-Waylly: Just shove it in there. It’s a great way to have fun on a budget. Get all of the sale candy. I save the Valrhona chips for myself.

Dan and Sohla El-Waylly: [LAUGHING] 

Dan Pashman: Which do you like better: regular size M&Ms or Mini M&Ms?

Sohla El-Waylly: Mini, because I prefer the higher ratio …

Dan Pashman: Candy shell.

Sohla El-Waylly: But I know you don’t like many M&Ms cause you don’t like that, right?

Dan Pashman: I, I — yes, that ratio displeases me. You know what I think it is? I think if, if Mini M&Ms were called something else, I would like them.

Ham El-Waylly: Really? 

Dan Pashman: If I judge them as their own candy, I would like them. Cause I do, I love crunch. 

Sohla El-Waylly: Mm-hmm. 

Dan Pashman: And so a big mouthful of those with a lot of candy shell and a lot of crunch and a hint of chocolate?

Sohla El-Waylly: Uh-huh?

Dan Pashman: I’d probably be totally on board. 

Sohla El-Waylly: Mm-hmm. 

Dan Pashman: But most of my M&M consumption comes mixed into ice cream.

Sohla El-Waylly: No, I hate chocolate in ice cream.

Dan Pashman: What?!

Sohla El-Waylly: Because cold chocolate is so — you don’t get the flavor of the cocoa.

Dan Pashman: It’s true, but — well, because you’re eating Mini M&Ms.

Ham El-Waylly: Also, it turns waxy. 

Sohla El-Waylly: It gets waxy. 

Ham El-Waylly: I feel like it gets waxy and gross. Like you don’t get any of those nice aromatics. The best thing about eating a really nice piece of chocolate is that slow melt, and then it coats your palate and you’re like, “Ooh, baby, I got some chocolate in my mouth.” 

Dan Pashman: [LAUGHING] 

Ham El-Waylly: But uh …

Dan Pashman: I mean, I think you two have more developed palates than I have. I’m mostly in it for the crunch. I’m a texture eater. 

Sohla El-Waylly: Mm-hmm. 

Dan Pashman: Probably more than flavor. 

Sohla El-Waylly: So the cookie that right now, I’m obsessed with, I’m currently calling them Lisa Frank cookies. Mini M&Ms, so many rainbow sprinkles. And then you roll it in rainbow sprinkles. And so when you bite into it, it’s like, you’re just eating a mouthful of sugar.

Dan Pashman: That sounds fantastic.

Sohla El-Waylly: But it’s painful. Like you have to immediately brush your teeth.

Dan Pashman: [LAUGHS] I sometimes … summertime, you know, ice cream truck season. And the thing that I crave from it is just like a vanilla or a swirl cone with sprinkles. 

Sohla El-Waylly: Mm-hmm. 

Dan Pashman: And frankly once it’s out of sprinkles, the soft serve isn’t that great. Sometimes I’ll just eat the top off and throw the rest out.

Sohla El-Waylly: That is so … [LAUGHING] wow. 

Dan Pashman: [LAUGHING] 

Sohla El-Waylly: Wait, do you get it in a cone?

Dan Pashman: Yeah.

Sohla El-Waylly: Do you eat the cone?

Dan Pashman: No, sometimes, not usually. It’s so bland. It’s not crunchy enough. It’s soggy.

Sohla El-Waylly: No, my favorite thing is, you know, the flat bottom cone?

Dan Pashman: Yes. 

Sohla El-Waylly: How the bottom of it has like a grid.

Dan Pashman: Yes, like the high beams for structural support.

Sohla El-Waylly: Exactly, and when you get to the end, [Dan Pashman: Mm-hmm.] you get this little — it’s like a tiny waffle. 

Dan Pashman: Mm-hmm. 

Sohla El-Waylly: And the holes are filled with ice cream. Pop that in your mouth. If we still had a restaurant, I would want that to be a petit fours.

Dan Pashman: [LAUGHS] That’s genius. But do you worry, Sohla, with that dish that the vertical walls of interior cone support would cut the roof of your mouth?

Sohla El-Waylly: I think that’s part of the joy, you know? Like that’s why the sprinkle cookies are fun. They completely destroy your mouth.

Dan Pashman: I love this dessert, Sohla. I feel like if we opened a restaurant together, we would be on the same page because I want to have a dessert at my fictional restaurant that is, um, tableside Rice Krispies treats.

Sohla El-Waylly: Ohhh. 

Ham El-Waylly: That is a good idea. 

Sohla El-Waylly: That is a good idea.

Ham El-Waylly: That is a great, great, great idea. 

Sohla El-Waylly: Instead of guacamole.

Dan Pashman: Yes. Yes. 

Ham El-Waylly: That is such a good idea.

Sohla El-Waylly: Someone rolls out a cart with an induction burner.

Dan Pashman: Yes. Yes. And it should be mixed in a little pot and then served in that pot so that you can scrape the bottom of the pot. 

Ham El-Waylly: Ohh. 

Sohla El-Waylly: Uh-huh. 

Dan Pashman: So you get the really crispy, gooey, still warm bits of Rice Krispies treat.

Sohla El-Waylly: That’s the best part.

Ham El-Waylly: That is such a good idea. You should open a restaurant just to make this happen.

Dan Pashman: Let’s go in … Listen, if the three of us joined forces, we could probably get someone else to front the money. 

Sohla El-Waylly: Yeah. We have no money.

Ham El-Waylly: Yeah. We can’t … we can’t help you with that. If that’s why we’re here — if this is a pitch for a restaurant, we have very bad news for you.

Dan Pashman: Yeah. [LAUGHING]


Dan Pashman: All right. So you’re both chefs. You both have opinions about food and you’re married. How long have you been married?

Ham El-Waylly: It’s going to be 12 years.

Dan Pashman: 12 years. And so you’ve been in the kitchen together. You know food. You know a thing or two about being in a relationship. Coming up, we’re going to take a call from a couple who’s having a relationship crisis … about pancakes. We’ll see if we can help them. Stick around.




Dan Pashman: Welcome back to The Sporkful, I’m Dan Pashman. Hey, before we get to our callers and their relationship question, I want to know, do you have a food dispute with a friend or loved one? Something that really causes tension in the relationship, that has to do with food? If so, I want to hear from you. I might be able to help. Send me an email with your name, location, and they nature of your dispute to [email protected] and we may have you on as a caller in a future episode. Again, that’s [email protected]. Thanks. 

Dan Pashman: All right. Now, let’s get to this week’s caller. I’m with Sohla and Ham El-Waylly, chefs and YouTube food stars. You two are also married to each other. Sohla and Ham, you ready to take a call?

Ham El-Waylly: Let’s do it.

Sohla El-Waylly: Mm-hmm.

Dan Pashman: All right. Let’s go to the phones. Hi, who’s this?

Tam: Hi, Dan, this is Tam calling from Maynard, Massachusetts. And I’m here with my husband, Robbie.

Dan Pashman: Hey, Tam and Robbie. Say hi to my friends, Sohla and Ham.

Sohla El-Waylly: Hey. 

Robbie: Hey, Sohla and Ham. 

Sohla El-Waylly: Hello. 

Ham El-Waylly: Hey, how’s it going?

Tam: Hey, Sohla and Ham.

Dan Pashman: So Tam, what’s going on? What can we help you with?

Tam: Well, since Robbie and I have gotten married about five years ago. Uh, we’ve had two kids and it’s been sort of traditional to have pancakes on weekends, just like I had growing up. And over the years, I’ve noticed that the comments toward my pancakes have escalated. What I thought was a normal pancake, a.k.a. one big giant pancake for each, my husband thinks they are too large and too thick. And he prefers pancakes that are small, thin, stupid pancakes. 


Sohla El-Waylly: Wait, so how thick?

Tam: Oh, how thick? Um …

Robbie: Three-quarters of an inch.

Tam: Half an inch, but the right amount of size, the right surface area to really enjoy a full-on pancake on a weekend breakfast event. [LAUGHS] 

Ham El-Waylly: How wide are your pancakes?

Tam: I would say they’re sort of the size of my face.

Sohla El-Waylly: Whoa, that’s a big pancake.

Ham El-Waylly: That’s a big — that is a big pancake.

Robbie: They fill a large dinner plate.

Ham El-Waylly: Okay. Okay

Dan Pashman: Okay. Okay.

Sohla El-Waylly: So do you flip these?

Tam: Yes, and you all are making it seem like they’re obnoxiously big, but really they’re the same size … 


Tam: Size that you would get at an IHOP. Nobody goes to a restaurant and gets silver dollar pancakes unless they ask for them. And I don’t know who those people are because those pancakes are dumb.

Ham El-Waylly: [LAUGHS]

Sohla El-Waylly: No, I’m just impressed. Flipping a large pancake is difficult.

Ham El-Waylly: Yeah. It’s difficult.

Robbie: It takes two hands and she tells everyone to stand back.

Tam: No, I do not.

Dan Pashman: That, I mean, I love a little theatrical touch in the kitchen. 

Sohla El-Waylly: Mm-hmm.

Ham El-Waylly: Exactly. 

Dan Pashman: And I have no problem with telling everyone to stand back and using two hands to flip a pancake. I think that’s a feature, not a bug.

Ham El-Waylly: It gives you a little hint of danger. 

Dan Pashman: Right. 

Ham El-Waylly: You always like that.

Dan Pashman: Yeah. Robbie, let’s hear your take. What’s wrong with Tam’s pancakes?

Robbie: So I definitely want to start off with Tam is a great cook and I’m very appreciative of any pancakes she makes, even if they are massive, could soak up an entire bottle of syrup. But that being said, um, you know, I grew up with smaller, thinner pancakes with a stack of them. And the first time she dropped this enormous cake of a pancake, I was a little surprised.

Sohla El-Waylly: So, what are the dimensions of your ideal pancake?

Robbie: Probably about six inches in diameter and thin. I’d rather have more than one giant one.

Sohla El-Waylly: How many are in a stack?

Robbie: I mean, if I had to picture the perfect commercial quality, maybe a stack of six. 

Sohla El-Waylly: Whoa!

Ham El-Waylly: Whoa!

Robbie: But maybe realistically eat two or three.

Sohla El-Waylly: Okay. 

Ham El-Waylly: Okay.

Sohla El-Waylly: Mm-hmm. 

Dan Pashman: And Robbie, why do you think those pancakes are better?

Robbie: You can add syrup as you go, so that they don’t soak up too much. By the end of one of Tam’s pancakes, they’re pretty, pretty syrup-logged.

Tam: Oh, okay. No. I have an accusation. 


Dan Pashman: Okay. 

Tam: First off, he talks about how much syrup like he douses it on, but that’s not what actually happens. He does what now my daughter also does in which they put it on the side and they tear pieces off the pancake and dip it into the syrup. So as much as he says that this giant pancake is soaking up the syrup, in reality there is no syrup even touching the pancake until when he literally dips it in. 

Ham El-Waylly: Woah. The plot thickens. 

Tam: Yeah.

Ham El-Waylly: We’re getting details.

Sohla El-Waylly: Is it the same pancake batter for both styles of pancake?

Tam: Yes. For Christmas this year, I actually got as a gag gift a Swedish pancake pan, which you can make 9 little pancakes at once. And I used the same batter and I tried to make smaller pancakes and found that they still ended up thick.

Dan Pashman: This is like a pan that has little wells in it [Tam: Yes.] that are sort of custom sized to hope to make pancakes of a certain size.

Tam: Yes, and it didn’t work and I couldn’t flip them because flipping smaller pancakes, I think, is harder than flipping one giant one. And I think that’s a lot of the reason why I only make one giant pancake is because I have things to do. I’m a mom and I’m the one who generally cooks in the house. So I just want it over and done with. I don’t want to mess around. It’s hot when you get it. It’s done. Clean the pan once. That’s it. 

Dan Pashman: Robbie that sounds like a pretty good point. I mean, if you’re still upset about the pancakes, why don’t you just cook them?

Robbie: Oh, that’s a really good point. That’s why I said at first, I’m very appreciative. They still taste good. We just have a strong difference of opinion on the size. 

Dan Pashman: So Robbie, is it the diameter of the pancakes that bother you or the thickness?

Robbie: The thickness. To me, it’s just — it’s more like it’s more of a cake than a pancake.

Dan Pashman: So Sohla and Ham, isn’t that more a function of the batter than of the size that that’s being poured out into? I mean, it’s a little bit of both, but like, you can — I’ve seen pancakes that are a foot in diameter and still very thin.

Sohla El-Waylly: Mm-hmm.

Ham El-Waylly: Depends on how thick — how the viscosity of the batter.

Sohla El-Waylly: The viscosity and I guess the leavening, right?

Ham El-Waylly: Mm-hmm. 

Sohla El-Waylly: If there’s a lot of leavening, it’ll poof. What I’m surprised by is that you can get a pancake that wide that thick, because I would imagine when you’re flipping a bigger pancake on the flip, you lose a lot of height.

Ham El-Waylly: Mm-hmm. 

Dan Pashman: You’re saying, when you flip — the weight of the pancake itself, when it’s flipped, it sort of smushes itself down when you flip it and that you lose height.

Ham El-Waylly: Mm-hmm. 

Sohla El-Waylly: Yeah! Like, I think that it sounds like Tam is accomplishing something like … 

Ham El-Waylly: Magical.

Sohla El-Waylly: Magical.

Ham El-Waylly: Or — yeah. Something — could we — would you mind sending us your pancake recipe? We need to try it out ourselves

Dan Pashman: Yeah. I think more testing is required. Interesting.

Tam: I use the pancake batter where you literally just add water. Am I not adding enough water that it ends up like this? Because I swear when I flip them, they just — it just like poofs up even more.

Sohla El-Waylly: Oh, perhaps.

Ham El-Waylly: Yeah. Yeah. That, that might [Dan Pashman: Right.] that might solve some problems.

Sohla El-Waylly: Well, the answer to most like cooking problems is usually add water.

Dan Pashman: Hmm. 

Sohla El-Waylly: You know? 

Ham El-Waylly: Or take out water. 

Dan Pashman: Right. 


Ham El-Waylly: Water’s involved somehow.

Dan Pashman: Well, thank God you guys went to culinary school.

Ham El-Waylly: Yeah. That’s basically what we learned. Like sometimes you add water. 

Dan Pashman: Right. 

Ham El-Waylly: Sometimes you take it out. 

Dan Pashman: Right. 

Ham El-Waylly: Cooking done. Here’s your diploma.

Dan Pashman: [LAUGHS] I’m curious, Robbie, tell me about your memories of pancakes growing up.

Robbie: For me normally, also on the weekends, and I remember my mom, she would just make a big bowl of pancake batter and she’d just kind of go probably, I don’t know what, 10, 15 minutes straight just making more smaller pancakes. And I — like I said, Tam’s are delicious. I have no reason to dislike them. Just that’s what set my perspective of what a normal pancake is.

Sohla El-Waylly: I mean, I really appreciate the iconic pancake stack. I totally get that, Robbie. And I think whichever one is more beneficial kind of depends on the setup in your kitchen. We have a big griddle pan, which makes it a lot easier to do multiple small pancakes. But if we didn’t have that, then I think I would totally be on team giant pancake. Like if you’re just using like a skillet, I think little pancakes are tough because you can’t really fit more than three, maybe even two. 

Robbie: Mm-hmm. 

Sohla El-Waylly: But if you have a griddle, you can do like eight.

Tam: We have a griddle. And that’s what I make the big pancakes on.

Sohla El-Waylly: Whoa.


Ham El-Waylly: Wow.

Tam: With the stack of little small pancakes by the time you actually eat them, the bottom one is cold. The top one’s cold. When you get one giant pancake, it’s still hot. You could still melt stuff all over it. With those little ones, you’re just like — you have to pick the right one or you’re going to end up with this cold crappy one.

Robbie: Because they have so much thermal mass.

Dan Pashman: Tam, tell me about your memories of pancakes growing up.

Tam: Well, my mom was a single mom and she was not a very good cook even to this day. So one of the few things, one of the few meals I remember are her pancake Sundays or whatever, and she would do the same exact thing as me, where she’d just have this very easy add water pancake mix. We’d get one or two giant pancakes each and that was the meal. There was nothing else that went with it because that was your meal.

Sohla El-Waylly: It seems like you’re both really attached to these pancake sizes because of nostalgia.

Ham El-Waylly: I think we got a classic case of a mom-off here, Dan. That’s what I think we got. I think we got a mom-off.

Dan Pashman: Right, whose mom did it better? And …

Ham El-Waylly: Whose mom is better?

Dan Pashman: Right. They each want it. So whose mom is better, you guys? 


Tam: Ohh. [LAUGHS]

Dan Pashman: Robbie, is it fair to say that, you know, Tam said her mom was a single mom, she was working and all that. Would it be accurate to say that your mom had more time to devote to cooking when you were growing up than maybe Tam’s mom did? Is that fair or unfair?

Robbie: That would be a fair assessment.

Dan Pashman: Because you had this difference in the way that you grew up, with your moms being in different positions, is that ever a source of tension for you? Tam, is that ever for you something that you struggle with, that you feel like … 


Dan Pashman: I’m not pointing any fingers.

Sohla El-Waylly: I think you hit a nerve. That laugh …

Dan Pashman: That’s what we’re doing. We’re hitting nerves here.

Tam: If you’re asking me if I have thoughts about how my mother differs than Robbie’s mother and mother-in-law issues then 100 percent we could talk about that for days. But yes, it is very evident that she had and continues to have more time for motherly duties than my mother ever had, and it sort of also points to, hmm, how I mother myself. And time-wise, even though I have more time than my mother ever did I still feel like some of those things have been passed on in terms of efficiency and the whole over and done with kind of concept that I have with cooking.

Sohla El-Waylly: I think that the solution to this is: Tam, you should continue making your pancakes and Robbie, when you want little pancakes, you just got to go home. 


Sohla El-Waylly: Or make them. Just make them yourself.

Dan Pashman: Right. 

Ham El-Waylly: Yeah, especially since you said it’s the same batter, you can just have one batter. You got a griddle, you tag in and out. It’s my turn to make my big pancake.

Dan Pashman: There you go. 

Ham El-Waylly: You make your tiny pancakes.

Sohla El-Waylly: We do a lot of tag team cooking.

Ham El-Waylly: Yeah.

Dan Pashman: Oh, interesting. 

Sohla El-Waylly: When we can’t agree, we’ll just switch off.

Ham El-Waylly: Like we have our own preferences, mostly gravy related.

Sohla El-Waylly: Oh, yeah. 

Ham El-Waylly: And when that’s the case, we make two different gravies. Because I will not … I will not eat a gravy thickened with roux, Tam. I will not do it. 


Ham El-Waylly: And no one will make me do it.

Sohla El-Waylly: And it’s the only gravy I love. So we just make our own gravy.

Dan Pashman: I think that’s great advice. I would probably pick the bigger pancakes in this choice. I think the heat, the warmth of the pancakes is a very persuasive argument to me. You want it out of the griddle. You want it warm. You want me to melt the butter on it? That being said like, I don’t think one is objective right or wrong. Have whatever pancakes you want. I think that it’s more just about when families come together. You know, get grinding edges and sometimes those are pancake shaped grinding edges. 

Ham El-Waylly: Sometimes those are pancakes.

Dan Pashman: Right. Some of those edges are pancakes. 

Sohla El-Waylly: Dan, you’re really like going to the heart of the problem.

Ham El-Waylly: Yeah, this is like we’re getting into couples therapy.

Dan Pashman: Yeah. 

Ham El-Waylly: I didn’t know we’re getting, getting this deep.

Tam: I was about to bring up like procrastination …

Sohla El-Waylly: You have notes.

Dan Pashman: Tam has notes? Wow.

Ham El-Waylly: Wow. 

Dan Pashman: She’s ready. Robbie, do you have notes?

Robbie: Oh, I have an entire page up on my computer screen right now. 

Sohla El-Waylly: Wow. 


Robbie: Another item on my notes was that in 1994 in the United Kingdom was the largest pancake ever flipped at 49 feet in diameter. And I was going to say, Tam’s just a few hands away from being able to beat that record.


Ham El-Waylly: You better get in there now though, Tam, before the kids get old enough to be brainwashed and then you’re — it’s three on one. 

Dan Pashman: That’s right. 

Ham El-Waylly: You’ve got to start winning them over now.

Tam: If it’s any consolation, when my mother Robbie’s mother makes the girls pancakes, they do not eat them.

Ham El-Waylly: Whoa. There you go. There you go. 

Sohla El-Waylly: Woah. 

Ham El-Waylly: You did it, Tam. You did it.

Robbie: Shots fired.

Tam: I’m just saying … 

Dan Pashman: No, look, I mean, that’s — I mean, why else have kids … 

Ham El-Waylly: Exactly. 

Dan Pashman: If not to brainwash them to make them just like you.

Ham El-Waylly: Classic children fodder.


Dan Pashman: All right. Well, Tam and Robbie, thanks so much for calling in and we hope you enjoy your next pancakes, whatever diameter they may be.

Tam: Thank you very much.

Robbie: Thanks, Dan. We appreciate it.

Sohla El-Waylly: I really want to pancake a pancake now. 


Dan Pashman: Sohla and Ham El-Waylly, chefs and host of the YouTube series, Mystery Menu is Sohla and Ham from New York Times Cooking. Sohla also does Ancient Recipes with History Channel YouTube. They’ve created their own blend with Burlap and Barrel, a spice blend called Pizza Party

Ham El-Waylly: Yeah. 

Dan Pashman: Tell me something surprising you put it on, Sohla, that you enjoyed.

Sohla El-Waylly: Anything with cheese. Mac and cheese, grilled cheese, quesadilla …

Ham El-Waylly: It also makes an amazing Italian dressing. 

Sohla El-Waylly: Ohh. 

Ham El-Waylly: Just make like a little vinegarette, some olive oil, some lemon, hit of Italian seasoning. You don’t need that jar anymore, baby. You don’t need that jar at all. You got pizza party.

Sohla El-Waylly: Uh-huh. 

Dan Pashman: [LAUGHS] So burlapandbarrel.com, get the pizza party. Well, Sohla and Ham, it’s been a blast. Let’s do this again sometime soon.

Sohla El-Waylly: Yeah.

Ham El-Waylly: Yeah. Time flies when you’re having a meaningful, yet fun conversation.

Dan Pashman: Thank you. [LAUGHS] 


Dan Pashman: Speaking of Sohla and Ham’s pizza party seasoning, how would you like to win a jar of it? Well the folks at Burlap and Barrel have been nice enough to offer to give away jars to three lucky listeners! To enter, subscribe to The Sporkful’s newsletter at sporkful.com/newsletter by September 4th. If you’re already on our mailing list, you’re already entered into this and all our giveaways. So you want to be on that list, okay? Again, that’s sporkful.com/newsletter.

Dan Pashman: Next week on the show: In France, it’s actually against the law for workers to stay at their desks during lunch hour. So how did this become the law and what happens when an expat in Paris finds herself having to adapt to this new routine? You’ll find out. That’s next week.

Dan Pashman: Meanwhile, don’t forget to check out my conversation with Alexander Smalls. Did I mention that he made me grits? They were so good, almost as good as the conversation itself. See what I did there? Anyway, it’s a great episode. Check it out

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