The greatest outdoor show on earth
Friday, July 4, 2008 | 12:19 AM ET
by Andree Lau, CBCnews.ca
I can't cook pancakes. Made from scratch or out of the box, it doesn't matter. I will either burn or undercook them without fail. That's why I look forward to the week and a half in July when I can enjoy all the perfectly cooked pancakes I can eat — and free, to boot.
The phenomenon known as the Calgary Stampede breakfast began during the 1923 event. According to one account, a young chuckwagon driver who camped at the train station would have friends visit him during breakfast, and they would eventually invite visitors to join them.
Miss Alberta Petite helps flip pancakes at the CBC Calgary Stampede breakfast. (Andree Lau/CBC)
Today, the breakfasts are a much-anticipated tradition hosted by corporations and community groups at the same time as the Stampede, which bills itself as the greatest outdoor show on earth.
This year, there are no less than 49 pancake breakfasts between now and July 13.
The majority are handled by the Stampede Caravan Committee, a group of volunteers, who ensure the pancakes are fluffy, the sausages hot, and the coffee plentiful. All this under the sun in front of scorching griddles — and with big smiles.
The breakfasts bring all sorts of people together in the pursuit of free flapjacks and you don't even have to step foot on the Stampede grounds to get a taste of that famous western hospitality.
Cowboy hats are optional.
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From trends and culture to politics and nutrition, Food Bytes serves up tasty tidbits about food and the issues surrounding it that flavour our everyday lives.
About the writers
Amber Hildebrandt writes for CBCNews.ca in Toronto. Growing up on a farm in Manitoba, she acquired an insatiable appetite, but it was during a stint in Japan that she developed her discerning tastebuds and "foodie" ways.
Andrea Chiu is an associate producer at CBC Radio Digital. Though she loves to eat, cook and discuss food, don't ask her to bake. It never turns out well. She tweets as @TOfoodie on Twitter and organizes food and wine events in Toronto called FoodieMeet.
Tara Kimura is the consumer life reporter for CBCNews.ca, covering a wide range of issues that range from rising food costs and the growing organic movement, to new trends in the marketplace.
Andree Lau is a CBC web reporter in Calgary. Her journalism career includes seven years as a CBC-TV reporter. Her own blog called "are you gonna eat that?" chronicles her eating adventures (including sampling snake and camel hoof tendon).
Jessica Wong is a CBCNews.ca writer who loves to eat and cook, as well as discuss, read and watch programming about food, sometimes all at once.
Kevin Yarr, CBCNews.ca's writer in Prince Edward Island, wrote about food and beer for national and regional magazines before joining the CBC. He acquired a desire for new tastes on his first trip to Europe, and an appreciation of eating locally and in season when he finally settled down on P.E.I.
Elizabeth Bridge is a writer with the CBC Digital Archives in Toronto. She first ventured into the kitchen as a child to indulge a sweet tooth by baking cookies and making fudge. A student budget compelled her to be a vegetarian (for a while) and instilled in her an ongoing curiosity about food and cooking.
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