I never liked pancakes growing up. They always had a metallic taste that bothered me—bitter, pasty, and lingering, more likely an attribute of my grandpa’s beloved Bisquick mix than of pancakes in general. And maple syrup was never my thing. As much as I like sugar and sweets, maple syrup—well, Mrs. Butterworth’s—held too little mystery. Why, I wondered, would you take a pancake, itself so fragile and sometimes gummy, and drench it with a wet sweetener? Once cut up with a knife and fork, this seeping, mulched up mess looked like the crap we scraped into the disposal when it came time to do dishes, not like a breakfast treat we were supposed to be excited to eat.