Rosa Parks' Pancake Recipe Calls For An Offbeat Ingredient & We're Kind Of Into It

Photo: William Philpott/Getty Images
When one pictures the iconic Rosa Parks, front woman of the African-American Civil Rights Movement, we see her the way many of us have come to know her: through black and white photos. We envision Parks as a warrior woman sitting on buses and standing next to Martin Luther King Jr. We remember the fearless expression she wore in her mugshot.
Standing in the kitchen, cracking eggs, and blending pancake batter with a wooden spoon isn’t an image that comes to mind. Because it’s easy to forget Rosa Park was also an actual human. And according to The Sporkful podcast, she was a human who enjoyed a stack of pancakes...with a twist.
Advertisement
In 2015 the Library of Congress released thousands of Parks’ personal documents, which are now known as the Rosa Parks Papers. Among the collection are postcards from MLK, letters from family, and one breakfast recipe titled, "Featherlite Pancakes" written on the back of a used envelope.
"We have all these misconceptions about [Rosa Parks]," says Nicole Taylor, author of The Up South Cookbook. "She's human. And the pancakes are the most human thing."
However there is one very revealing personal tidbit to the Featherlite Pancakes recipe. The batter calls for peanut butter, one of Parks' favorite foods. "Adding peanut butter into a pancake mix, you don't see that a lot," said Taylor.
Eventually she and host Dan Pashman, tasted the goods. “You can taste the peanut butter. The peanut butter really hits the back [of your tongue] quickly," Taylor said. "I've had two bites without syrup. That says a lot.
"It makes me look at [Rosa Parks] as more of a 'normal person.' She had to eat. She wasn't just this person who was all about the civil rights movement. She cared about nurturing and feeding her family. The pancake recipe makes me feel closer to her," Taylor said.
The reason behind the nutty ingredient though, wasn't just a matter of taste. It turns out Parks' love of the creamy spread had could be linked to a much broader, historical context: the slave trade. Check out the full story and recipe here. Spoiler: Even Parks' unconventional pancake ingredient was revolutionary.
Advertisement