Rosa Parks’ ‘featherlite’ pancakes recipe

Steve Pardo
The Detroit News

A hand-written note on a manila envelope for “featherlite pancakes” is one of the treasures tucked away among more than 10,000 personal items, photographs and mementos from civil rights icon Rosa Parks.

The recipe — which includes 1/3 of a cup of peanut butter, showed that Parks had a good eye for breakfast food. The pancakes are surprisingly light and airy. The peanut butter adds a distinctive, but not overly sweet note. And they cook to a satisfying golden brown on a hot griddle.

The recipe is part of 7,500 papers and manuscripts, 2,500 photographs and more than 20 books and awards received by Parks, including the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. For more than eight years the items have been shut off from the public. An estate fight kept the items in limbo after Parks died in Detroit in October 2005.

But this month the collection was opened to researchers to coincide with the 102nd anniversary of her birth. About two dozen of the items will be displayed March 2-30 at the Library of Congress’ Jefferson Building in Washington, D.C. Additional items will be added March 7 to an ongoing display about the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and will run through Sept. 12.

The Library of Congress plans to digitize the entire collection collection within the year and allow people to view it online. The library has received the items on a 10-year loan from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, which acquired the items for an undisclosed price last year.

Featherlite Pancakes

1 cup flour

2 tablespoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1 egg

1 1/4 cup milk

1/3 cup peanut butter

1 tablespoon melted shortening or oil

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a bowl and sift. Add the egg, milk, peanut butter and the melted shortening and mix. Don’t overmix, but the batter should be relatively smooth. Ladle about 1/4 cup of the batter for each pancake onto a griddle preheated to 275 degrees. Serves 6.

Per serving: 243 calories; 12 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 44 percent calories from fat); 26 g carbohydrates; 8 g sugar; 42 mg cholesterol; 690 mg sodium; 8 g protein; 1 g fiber.