Dear Tucker Carlson: arepas are not pancakes


The headline in the conservative blog The Daily Caller? “We could eat socialist arepas together…”

In case you’re wondering about this, on his trip back from a NATO summit in Portugal, Barack Obama joked around with reporters in the Press Corps – at least we hope he was joking – saying he could ask Air Force One to veer toward Caracas for a meeting with Chávez. Reporters dutifully tweeted about it.

Instead of calling him “a great disappointment” once again, Chávez responded in kind by wetting his panties as he typically does any time Obama winks his way, asking … no, begging the head of the Evil Empire to come down to Caracas and share some arepas. He also suggested he could drop by the White House, saying he could probably land in the White House’s “secret landing strip,” adding: “I could do it. My plane is really small.”

I’ve lost track of all the ways this whole thing is offensive, unimportant, and borderline ridiculous. In other words, a perfect story for America’s shallow media. Other conservative outlets are going to town with it.

But the most offensive part? The Daily Caller saying that arepas are “a corn-based pancake…”

Pass the maple syrup.

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  1. What about the story of the workers at the socialist arepa joint in Caracas caught stealing from the till by CIPIC?
    And no, cachapas are cachapas, pancakes are pancakes. They’re remotely similar, but cachapa con syrup or pancake with queso’e mano and cochino frito would both be retched.

    • Ok, cachapa con miel de maple no, pero panqueca con cochino frito… Puede ser. Bueno, yo en mis días de escasez universitaria comía arepa con mermelada…

  2. Hugo would not miss the chance to cite Obama’s utterance of his name as this implies he must be an important guy after all. I don’t like Obama making light of the Chavez problem in this way but there is a humorous side to the Chavez reaction.

    OT but what’s this thing about the new law where Chavez likeness can only be used with his permission? Is this about reducing his likeness on buildings to satisfy oppo complaints or is it more sinister?

  3. Actually, even if insulting as you say, arepas are easy to describe as griddle cakes or even pancakes, a budare is a griddle of sorts, and arepas are too flat to be tortillas (gorditas perhaps, but that is even more esoteric if that’s possible).

    • Miguel, I actually ate so many store bought english muffins -many decades ago- in place of arepas!. Back in the day, when harina pan was not sold in the north east.

      The similitude in flavor is that muffins are cooked over the stove in a very hot griddle (like a budare). Instead of grease, oil or butter the muffins are placed over corn meal. I make them now in Venezuela, I used to miss them a lot!

      Nada es completo en este mundo…

    • Miguel,

      English Muffins are leavened and Arepas are not. The only way the comparison really holds up is both are cooked on a griddle and are about the same size and shape.

  4. Tucker Carlson is out to lunch. Memo to the Brit: arepas, made of cornmeal, most commonly approximate the size and thickness of a hockey puck. (Do you know what a hockey puck looks like?)

    As for liz’s contribution, the chips look gooood! I will try that sometime. But I’d serve it with a Colonia Tovar Gewürtztraminer 2008. (Qué pretensión!)

  5. “A pancake is a thin, flat cake prepared from a batter and cooked on a hot griddle or frying pan.”

    Some traditional pancakes are made from wheat, others from corn, just like arepas.

    The 2 distinguishing features of pancakes:

    1. batter
    2.cooked on a pan( sometimes called a griddle)

    When Arepas are prepared on a’ budare’ they could be called pancakes.

    Cakes can be cooked in different ways, just to name a few:

    1.oven( plain cake)
    2.griddle or pan( pancakes)
    3.hoes(hoecakes) corn cakes made out in the fields over an open fire with eh use of a garden tool

    Arepas Andinas fit the description best because they are thin and flat.

    The thicker , filled arepas veer a bit from a typical pancake here in the US however they are common in Denmark.

    Grits from the US South have much the same taste as arepas but cooked in cereal form, but are also eaten with cheese and or bits of meat and butter.

  6. here we go again….

    People arepas are made with PRE-Cooked cornmeal, pre-cooked cornmeal! a totally different beast.

    Yes they are most often cooked on a griddle but it is just a cooking method, not an requirement (arepas peladas anyone?)

    The arepa andinas….they are not really arepas, we just called them that to make them more “user friendly” and easier to order. they are made with wheat.

    Arepas, unlike the tortillas from mexico or the pupusas from el salvador (made with dried out corn soaked in water with lime!!!) are a true form of bread, you need to roll the dough and leave it to rise and must be cooked thoroughly or the end result will be nasty (“crudo”)

    So no pancakes, no cakes, no grits (really????) or my best “worst” description from a gringo in a mining journal: “greasy corn pancakes” …

    FYI: corn flour is not the same corn starch either, as it is known by some in the US

    while arepas defy description let’s just not make it worse, by comparing it to anglo-saxon foods…most of them have palates that gravitate toward the sweet, whereas our arepas are salty or neutral according to taste.

    for our european friends, arepas are made with coarse maize flour

    No other food is as versatile as the arepa, you can tear it into chunks and dip them in soup, they can be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and they can be filled with just about anything…(reminds of you of bread doesn’t it?) and yet a good arepa will keep you from getting hungry again for hours…try that with a biscuit, or a pancake!

    And saving the best for last, who has not enjoyed an “arepita dulce”????

    Bread people, we have out own peculiar bread, plain and simple….


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