Batter up

WHAT weighs 800 pounds, costs $5,000, and cooks? An automatic pancakemaker, that's what. It cooks 60 every three minutes, which appeals to those of us who shift impatiently from one foot to the other every Sunday morning, trying to prod pancakes-for-three into cooking in time for church.

The pancakemaker - the 800-pound one - is a not-quite-miscellaneous collection of iron pipes, propane torches, and other nonhuman parts. A retired farmer has just developed it to do a whiz-bang of a job mass-producing pancakes for fund-raising breakfasts.

No doubt it will.

But the real question is: When will he miniaturize it into something that'll turn out a baker's dozen for a speeding family? Now that would be societally useful.

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