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A Cold War Over Pancakes?

Spirit of Springfield

   A hallmark event for more than 30 years in western Massachusetts will take place tomorrow, as Springfield hosts its annual pancake breakfast.  But the boast that it is the “world’s largest” is in dispute.

   The “World’s Largest Pancake Breakfast” has been held annually in Springfield since 1986, but whether organizers can continue to accurately lay claim to being the largest flapjack feast is facing a challenge from of all places – Russia.

  Earlier this year, a Russian flour exporter hired professional chefs who cooked up 12,716 crepes in a Moscow kitchen. Never mind that crepes are not the same as pancakes, the Guinness World Records certified it as the world’s “largest serving of pancakes.”

Credit Noel Leary
A promotion in Moscow for the "largest serving of pancakes"

Judy Matt, president of Spirit of Springfield, which organizes the local pancake breakfast, said this aggression will not stand.

" So now we are really going to look into that because they did 12,716 pancakes by chefs, we do that and that again," Matt said.

She said it is too late to get anybody from Guinness to this year’s breakfast, but she’s going to work on it for 2018.

Rather than report a count of the number of pancakes produced, Matt prefers to highlight other “facts” to back up Springfield’s claim to serve the “largest” breakfast.

"On an annual basis we serve 500 gallons of pancake batter, we have  450 pounds of Cabot Creamery butter,  450 gallons of maple syrup," said Matt. "Its to highlight the overwhelming amount of free product that is donated to this event."

The pancake breakfast in Springfield began as a friendly competition with Battle Creek, Michigan -- home to a couple of big breakfast cereal makers – to see which city could seat the most people for breakfast.  

"When we were doing it with Battle Creek it was good fun," said Matt.  " We sent someone there, they sent someone here."

The competition with Battle Creek ended years ago, but Springfield’s pancake breakfast continued.

  " The purpose is to just  bring people together in celebration," said Matt. " In 30 years we've never had one  incident, never had  a problem. People renew acquaintances, meet new friends and have great pancakes."

  Matt estimates that 10,000 people come to the breakfast annually. Thousands of free tickets are distributed in schools throughout greater Springfield.

   400 people volunteer to help to put on the breakfast.  The new Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi is this year’s Honorary Chairman.

  " It is a wonderful, beautiful city and we need to continue to promote the positive," said Cocchi.

   The breakfast is served from 8 a.m.-11a.m. rain or shine.

The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.
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