There is not a metal spatula to be bought in Pangnirtung, which is a problem since I like pancakes. So I am using a rubber spatula, which is inadequate because it is straight, narrow and flexible in order to scrape batter from concavities. A metal spatula, the kind I am missing, is hard and flat with a sharp leading edge. The correct spatula also has a bend so that the handle is parallel to the slope of the pan side, while the blade remains parallel to the pancake. This angle, I have discovered, is essential for the safe transport of wet loads.
When using a rubber spatula, the pancake must be carefully structured. First, make small cakes. Second, cook the pancake on low heat until it bubbles, and continue cooking until the bubbles begin to dry, and the bottom is crisp and rigid. Normally, one would not cook a side of a pancake to this degree, but a pancake that is moist in the center will gather into pleats when the rubber spatula is slid beneath. Of course, adding fruit is a concern, since it weakens the cake. With a fork, nudge the fruit-filled cake onto the rubber spatula, pause for balance, lift five inches, and flip decisively.
Although the Arctic is generally well stocked, the mainstream of commodities is far away and the connections to it are tenuous. But Scarcity in the form of a missing metal spatula has shown itself, and it is enough to trigger cunning.