What to Put on Your Pancakes in Maryland?

I think about it every time I make pancakes, but I don’t think I’ve tasted it in twenty years. No matter, I still remember the taste of King Syrup on pancakes, with sausage, served by my grandmother.

King Syrup is a mid-Atlantic combination of corn and sugar syrups created by the Mangels-Herold Company in Baltimore in 1901. Would you ever put Karo Syrup on your pancakes? No way. But King Syrup is different.  At my parents’ house in Westminster, Maryland,  we ate Log Cabin and Mrs. Butterworths, somehow more modern in taste than the King Syrup we ate on hotcakes at Mom Mom Mom and Pop Pop’s in Havre de Grace. (I don’t think I ate maple syrup habitually until I moved to Boston after grad school). Breakfast was either bacon and eggs, or pancakes and sausage. (although before I was around, my grandfather was known to eat more eyebrow-raising/foodie-esque fried shad roe and pork brains). King Syrup was often used throughout the 20th century in the mid-Atlantic to make Shoo Fly pie, a Pennsylvania German dessert that’s like pecan pie without the pecans, with a spiced crumb topping. There was also the inexplicably named King Po-T-Rik, a more molasses-y version, that some folks put on biscuits. My grandfather kept hardware in old King Syrup cans after they were emptied.

King Syrup isn’t made in Baltimore anymore, but was purchased by Carriage House Companies in Georgia.


About Becky Fifield

Becky Fifield is a cultural heritage professional with 25 years experience in institutions large and small. She is currently Head of Collection Management for the Special Collections of the New York Public Library. An advocate for preventive conservation, Ms. Fifield is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation, Chair of the AIC Collection Care Network, and former Chair of Alliance for Response NYC. She is also a scholar of 18th century female unfree labor and dress. There's a bit of pun in the title The Still Room, delineating a quiet space brimming with the ingredients of memory, where consideration, analysis, and wordcraft can take place. Ms. Fifield’s interests include museum practice, dress history, historic preservation, transit, social and women’s history, food, current events, geneaology, roadtrips, and considerations on general sense of place. Becky and her husband, Dr. V, live in the Hudson Valley.