Some say nothing is as satisfying as the smell of pancakes in the morning.
Americans love the food so much, the U.S. has devoted an entire day to it during which IHOPs around the country prepare for flocks of hungry customers ready and willing to take advantage of their free pancakes.
However, Americans are not the only ones who find delight in this dish; the Japanese have a special recipe of their own. Tuesday, several students gathered at the I-House for the World Showcase to create and eat Okonomiyaki, the Japanese version of pancakes.
"I saw their poster saying that they had an Okonomiyaki event going on today at 6 (p.m.)," Shelby Foltz, senior in French, said. "I thought to myself, 'Oh my gosh, I've heard about this on TV and films and stuff, but I'd never had it, and I'd love to try it.'"
After a short lesson on the correct use of chopsticks, Foltz finally got the chance to make some of her own.
The dish, made from batter similar to pancakes, included several extra ingredients, such as cabbage, diced vegetables and shrimp or pork. After mixing them together in a large bowl, each table transferred their concoction to one of many skillets scattered throughout the room. The result: a greenish brown flapjack ready to be topped with Japanese mayonnaise and ginger sauce.
"They were like pancakes, but they were more omelet-like looking," Foltz said of the dish. "They had cabbage and little bits of shrimp or meat inside, so there was this nice crunch to them but while also having a savory flavor. Very satisfying. I really loved it."
Robert Wolfensberger, a self-proclaimed "senior, senior citizen" who attends classes to keep him occupied, agreed with Foltz.
"These are some of the nicest pancakes, or whatever you want to call them," he said. "They may even taste better because they're eaten with Chinese or Japanese chopsticks."
Leigh Ackerman, a graduate student in College Student Personnel, was one of the organizers for this event. She gave a unique behind-the-scenes look into the planning of the World Showcase.
"We contact groups on campus to see if they would be interested in being a part of the World Showcase," she said. "I was in charge of this one, so I contacted several Japanese staff and Japanese students to help plan the event."
Ackerman said the group met several times to gather ideas for the three-day event, which begins with a Coffeehouse before moving on to the Cooking Demonstration, and then to Culture Night.
However, for all who missed out on the event, the I-House holds the World Showcase a couple of times per semester, with a different culture featured each time.
Foltz, however, encouraged students to come by the I-House for any event, not just the World Showcase.
"The people here are great, as well as the programs that UT sponsors at the I-House," she said. "Especially ones like this where I can learn about other cultures and also pick up great cooking tips for the next time I go to the grocery store."
Wolfensberger also expressed the great cultural benefit the program offers.
"I've been coming, off and on, to the I-House 15 years, approximately, and I have seen some of the best entertainment, and some of the best food," Wolfensberger said. "This is informative; it's part of your greater education.
"If you didn't have this type of culture at your college, you would be missing a lot of things."
Events and programs at the I-House can be found here.