Fishsticks and Flapjacks: A Modest Proposal

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To cap off our Independence Day celebrations, a few friends and I stumbled to the breakfast klub the morning after the holiday for fried food that would assuage our varying degrees of hungover-ness. During our half-hour wait in line, there was much discussion about what to order, with the top candidates being catfish and grits, pancakes, and, of course, wings and waffles.

I'm not particularly a fan of wings and waffles. I do like wings and I very much like waffles, but something about the combination of fried poultry and sweet carbohydrates does not appeal to me. Definitely not for breakfast. Maybe, perhaps, at one in the morning after a night out, which is why the breakfast klub really should be open 24 hours. At least, that's my dream.

The one thing I do like about "wings and waffles" is the alliteration, which makes the phrase fun to to say and pleasurable to hear. That being said, I would like to proffer another breakfast/brunch/brinner dish that showcases similar consonance but comprises a protein and a starch that I think should work in conjunction: Fish Sticks and Flapjacks.

Oh, come on, is it any more arbitrary than wings and waffles? Yeah, I thought so.

It's already culturally acceptable to eat kippers or smoked salmon or fried catfish for breakfast, so why not extend the matutinal menu to include fish sticks?

"Ew," you might respond. "That means I could potentially get tartar sauce on my pancakes." Shut your trap. No one freaks out about getting hot sauce on their waffles.

Having squashed all possible objections, I will now offer some thoughts on preparing the best possible platter of Fish Sticks & Flapjacks. If fish sticks make you nostalgic for childhood and/or the elementary school cafeteria, I suggest investing in an old-school brand such as Gorton's. Looking for just a tad more class and fewer calories? Try Trader Joe's Reduced Fat fish sticks.

The sky's the limit in terms of pancakes, though I would be wary of intense flavors such as buckwheat or chocolate chip lest they overwhelm the milder taste of the white fish. Buttermilk and cornmeal are good options, especially when garnished with a few strawberries or raspberries, whose sweet tartness will contrast nicely with the savory crunch of the bread crumbs.

Finally, condiments: Is tartar sauce appropriate? What about syrup? Affirmative, I say, on both counts, and add a side of spicy ketchup while you're at it. Remember, Fish Sticks & Flapjacks is not about what's normal and conventional (that's Wings & Waffles). It's about challenging the status quo and reclaiming breakfast as space for self-expression.

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