Parents

Batter up: Pancake dad turns weekend ritual into edible art

For some families, pancakes are a Sunday morning tradition. In Nathan Shields' household, pancakes are edible works of art. 

We're not just talking Mickey Mouse here. The professional illustrator, math teacher and dad of two likes to entertain his two young children Gryphon and Alice by making truly spectacular pancake art. Recently, his pancake portraits of all four members of the Beatles have gone viral.

From detailed creations of sharks and cephalopods to bunnies and butterflies, Shields said the tradition began after the family moved to Saipan, an island near Guam that's part of a U.S. Commonwealth, about two and a half years ago. His wife worked as a nurse-midwife, and he suddenly found himself in charge of two little kids. "I made them some pancake cars and trucks one morning, which were well-received, and a tradition was born," he said. Since then, he's posted more than 120 kinds of pancakes on his blog, saipancakes.com, and launched @saipancakes on Twitter. 

The family now lives in Port Angeles, Washington. Often, Shields says, he'll choose a theme that interests him and that he wants to share with his kids. "We both end up learning something along the way," he said. "I didn't know what an argonaut was until last weekend." 

Picasa / Today
We're gonna need a bigger breakfast table: Dad Nathan Shields delights his children with artistic pancake creations.

Angry Birds are his among his kids' favorites, although Shields says he's getting more requests for Star Wars and princess pancakes lately. He even posted one recent creation in the likeness of Zach Galifianakis.

"It started out as a way to entertain my kids, which it still is, but now it's a fun artistic challenge as well," said Shields. Over time, he has found that a squeeze bottle gives him more control of the batter. "I'm still learning through trial and error — which are still delicious."

Picasa / Today
Protozoa pancakes, come and get 'em, kids!

His advice for other parents who might want to give this a go? "Get a condiment bottle, and try making an octupus," he said. "It's super fun." 

Lately, his kids are also experimenting with making their own creations, including a recent version featuring Darth Vader and two light sabers. 

While his kids love pancakes, his wife is not such as big fan. "I’ve never liked pancakes... I’d prefer an egg in the morning," said Cheri Shields. "Also, it’s nice to sleep in on mornings when he’s entertaining the kids with his pancakes."

This story was first published on May 20, 2014. TODAY's Lance Booth and Rebecca Dube contributed to this story. Follow Joy Jernigan on Twitter or on Google+.

  • Slideshow Photos

    Picasa

    Batter up: Pancake dad turns weekend ritual into edible art

    Professional illustrator and father, Nathan Shields, creates edible works of art

  • Batter up: Pancake dad turns weekend ritual into edible art

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    Batter up: Pancake dad turns weekend ritual into edible art

    For some families, pancakes are a Sunday morning tradition. In Nathan Shields' household, pancakes are edible works of art.

    Nathan Shields / Nathan Shields
  • Batter up: Pancake dad turns weekend ritual into edible art

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    Butterflies

    We're not just talking Mickey Mouse here. The professional illustrator and dad of two likes to entertain his kids Gryphon, 6, and Alice, 3, by making truly spectacular pancake art.

    Nathan Shields / Nathan Shields
  • Batter up: Pancake dad turns weekend ritual into edible art

    of

    Marine invertbrates

    From detailed creations of sharks and cephalopods to bunnies and butterflies, Shields said the tradition began after the family moved to Saipan, an island near Guam that's part of a U.S. Commonwealth, about two and a half years ago.

    Nathan Shields / Nathan Shields
  • Batter up: Pancake dad turns weekend ritual into edible art

    of

    Cephalopods

    His wife worked as a nurse-midwife, and he suddenly found himself in charge of two little kids. "I made them some pancake cars and trucks one morning, which were well-received, and a tradition was born," he said.

    Nathan Shields / Nathan Shields
  • Batter up: Pancake dad turns weekend ritual into edible art

    of

    Organs

    Since then, he's posted more than 120 kinds of pancakes on his blog, saipancakes.com, and last week launched @saipancakes on Twitter.

    Nathan Shields / Nathan Shields
  • Batter up: Pancake dad turns weekend ritual into edible art

    of

    Protozoa

    The family now lives in Port Angeles, Washington. Often Shields says he'll choose a theme that interests him and that he wants to share with his kids.

    Nathan Shields / Nathan Shields
  • Batter up: Pancake dad turns weekend ritual into edible art

    of

    Birds

    "We both end up learning something along the way," he said. "I didn't know what an argonaut was until last weekend."

    Nathan Shields / Nathan Shields
  • Batter up: Pancake dad turns weekend ritual into edible art

    of

    Fish

    Angry Birds are his among his kids' favorites, although Shields says he's getting more requests for Star Wars and princess pancakes lately. He even posted one recent creation in the likeness of Zach Galifianakis.

    Nathan Shields / Nathan Shields
  • Batter up: Pancake dad turns weekend ritual into edible art

    of

    Anthropods

    "It started out as a way to entertain my kids, which it still is, but now it's a fun artistic challenge as well," said Shields. Over time, he has found that a squeeze bottle gives him more control of the batter. "I'm still learning through trial and error — which are still delicious."

    Nathan Shields / Nathan Shields
  • Batter up: Pancake dad turns weekend ritual into edible art

    of

    Reptiles

    His advice for other parents who might want to give this a go? "Get a condiment bottle, and try making an octopus," he said. "It's super fun."

    Nathan Shields / Nathan Shields
  • Batter up: Pancake dad turns weekend ritual into edible art

    of

    Animal skulls

    Lately, his kids are also experimenting with making their own creations, including a recent version featuring Darth Vader and two light sabers.

    Nathan Shields / Nathan Shields
  • Batter up: Pancake dad turns weekend ritual into edible art

    of

    Sharks

    While his kids love pancakes, his wife is not such as big fan. "I’ve never liked pancakes," Cheri Shields said. "Also, it’s nice to sleep in on mornings when he’s entertaining the kids with his pancakes."

    Nathan Shields / Nathan Shields




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