This came up because I made applesauce pancakes with Javier for dinner tonight. Now, I'd used the recipe (several months) before and it delivered among the best pancakes I'd ever made, so I figured I was guaranteed success as long as I followed the recipe.
This meant, of course, that when I came to the part of the recipe that asked for two tablespoons of baking soda, I was a little leery--most recipes only call for a teaspoon or two, unless you're planning on making one of those cool baking soda and vinegar volcanoes--but hey, I'd printed it out directly from a website, and I'd made it before and it'd turned out great. So maybe they'd just be extra fluffy. Or something.
(fish_echo is cringing right now, I can tell.)
Jav and I went on cheerfully with adding the eggs and the butter and milk, etc. etc. Javier really enjoyed licking the spatula, and it tasted pretty good to me too, if perhaps a tad salty. But weirdly, when Dom was cooking the pancakes (he always cooks the pancakes. I seem to be constitutionally incapable of cooking pancakes), instead of the light brown, slightly crispy, wonderfully sweet circles of carbohydrate-full apple-y goodness, he got thick, blackened, mushy non-circles of really salty.
Odd, I thought, but I girded my loins and tried a bit of a freshly-scraped off the pan mushy thing. And it was really, really bad. And then it occurred to me to perhaps go back and see if I messed something up in the recipe. And then I remembered my fleeting perplexity about the two tablespoons of baking soda.
Javier insisted his pancake was delicious. Dom and I were significantly less enthused, despite the liter of maple syrup we dumped on the poor mutant things. But while I was eating the baking soda taste became so unpleasant that I started to wonder not so idly if I might actually be poisoning my child.
Checking around on line using such comforting search terms as 'eating baking soda' and 'baking soda death' did turn up some unpleasant articles about how taking baking soda for indigestion on a very full stomach can make it do a Seven all over your intestines. There was also a miserable news report about a malnourished toddler who died from eating baking soda. Unfortunately there wasn't any readily available information on exactly how much would constitute a deadly amount. I'm assuming it'd be much more than the two tablespoons spread through eight pancakes, but I'm very glad that Javier stopped eating just after a couple of bites. The rest of the pancakes went into the garbage. I hate wasting food, but I'd hate hurting Javier a lot more....
My mom has told a story about how back when my sister and I were young children, we got into a box of baking soda and started eating it. She let us, assuming that it was harmless and if we ate too much we'd just get a stomach ache and throw up. Apparently we did throw up, but I don't remember if it served as an adequate object lesson or not. Funny to think that we could possibly have died. That is, funny-strange. Not funny-funny.
Needless to say, I edited the recipe.