Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pancakes—mix or scratch?

I love all the conveniences we have today. I grew up in a home that had a wringer washing machine, clothes that were hung on the line to dry and then had to be ironed, floors that had to be waxed, and so on. We had an electric stove but my grandmother cooked on a wood stove until the early ‘70s, and she was in her early ‘70s at the time. She was an early riser, up every morning before sun, and would get a fire going with wood that had been chopped the night before, put on a pot of coffee and start making breakfast. Porridge, pancakes, bacon and eggs, toast, hand-squeezed orange juice... Breakfast wasn’t just a meal, it was the most important meal of the day and it had to be something that would “stick to your ribs.” I still love that saying!

Everything my grandmother served was made from scratch, including pancakes. My mother kept up the tradition and so did I. Pancake batter is one of the easiest things to whip up—even kids can make it—and the ingredients are staples in every kitchen.

When my daughter was ten or eleven, she was invited to a friend’s house for a sleepover. The girls decided they wanted pancakes for breakfast, but the host mother said they couldn’t have them because she was out of pancake mix. My daughter—who already had the recipe memorized—stepped in, and when I picked her up later that morning, her friend’s mother was still stunned that a child knew how to make pancakes from scratch.

Here’s our favorite pancake recipe.

1 egg
1 cup milk or buttermilk
2 tablespoons melted butter (or vegetable oil)
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Beat the egg, and beat in the rest of the ingredients in the order listed. Heat the griddle. Pour on the batter with a large spoon or ladle. When bubbles appear on the surface, flip the pancake and cook the other side till golden brown. Serve with butter and syrup.

Pancakes are still a stick-to-your-ribs breakfast favorite at my house, and we still make them from scratch. How do you make them?

Until next time,
The Writer Side of Life


Anonymous said...

Gee, thanks, Lee. You've got me CRAVING pancakes now! Not exactly slimming, my dear.

But, ooooooooh... they look so GOOD in the picture you posted!

Heading off to make pancakes,

Sheryll said...

What an awesome topic, Lee! Pancakes are part of my childhood memories of my grandmother as well. I have the metal bowl she used to make pancakes in and that's what I make mine in - from scratch. It's also a family favourite at my house. We have them for lunch sometimes as well. Buttermilk pancakes are still my favourite because that's what she made!


Rachel said...

If we were *really* lucky, we might have pancakes for dinner.

I remember some with a lemony drizzle… I wonder how Mom did that?

Now *I'm* hungry too!

Lee McKenzie said...

LOL, Joy! You're right. Pancakes will stick to your hips, too.

Lee McKenzie said...

Sheryll, how wonderful that you still use your grandmother's mixing bowl. I love hearing about those kinds of family traditions. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Lee McKenzie said...

Lemon pancakes are making my mouth water, Rachel. I'm still partial to maple syrup, but the lemon drizzle sounds delicious!

Estella said...

If I have a mix, I use it. If i don't, I make them from scratch.

Lois said...

Ooh, pancakes. . . well, be it mix or sort of from scratch. . . I simply prefer going to IHOP or something, because I'm just not good at it. So why go through all the trouble of making them. LOL :)


Linda Henderson said...

I love pancakes. I just use a mix though. These sound great.

Jodie Esch said...

For me, how I make pancakes is all about 'location'. If I'm at home in my farm-style kitchen, I'll make an elaborate recipe.

If I'm camping or on the road, then I love the convenience of a mix.

And there's nothing like real maple syrup from Quebec.

Anonymous said...

I know that recipe like the back of my hand! So I should, I've been making them since I was twelve :) My tip... if you make too many, store them in the freezer. Whenever you need a quick breaky, just let them defrost while you're in the shower and when you get out throw them in the toaster! Mmmm. I think I should go check my freezer right now!!

My vote is for "scratch".


Gillian Layne said...

Hi Lee!

My grandmother made the very best buckwheat pancakes, rick and heavy and just amazing. And it's cold here this morning, so I'm thinking bring on the syrup! :)

Lee McKenzie said...

Estella and Jodie,

You both reminded me that I actually have a recipe for pancake mix.

8 cups flour
2 cups milk powder or buttermilk powder
1/2 cup sugar
8 teaspoons baking powder
4 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt

Mix all ingredients together. Store in a cool, dry place in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Keeps for six months.

To make pancakes:
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil
1 cup water
1-1/2 cups pancake mix

Combine the egg, butter and water in a bowl. Stir in mix until blended. Cook the pancakes on a hot griddle.

I haven’t made this in many years but it was handy to have on hand. I also used to give it away as a gift.


A few people on this year’s Christmas gift list just might be getting a jar of pancake mix and a bottle of maple syrup.

Lee McKenzie said...

Lois, I love going out for breakfast! I usually don't order pancakes, but one of my favorite places makes the BEST hashbrowns I've ever had. Have tried to duplicate them at home, but so far without success.

Lee McKenzie said...

Hi, Linda. If you've found a great mix that works for you, why switch? At least half the fun of pancakes is what you put on top of them. Maple syrup is my preference, but I also love waffles with fresh fruit and a dollop of whipped cream :)

Lee McKenzie said...

Michaela, my sweet girl. Twelve, was it? I guess my memory isn't what it used to be. Thanks for the tip about using leftover pancakes. I'd forgotten that altogether. Seems to me it works for wafflefs, too ;)

Lee McKenzie said...

Hi, Gillian! Buckwheat pancakes are delicious and so wholesome. And they'll definitely stick to your ribs ;)

Anita Birt said...

Before I moved into my new little apartment I made my pancakes from scratch. I used to drop in some peanut butter or bran or a finely chopped bit of apple - made the mix very interesting.

My mouth is watering! Serve with real maple syrup, of course, none of that fake stuff!

Lee McKenzie said...

Peanut butter pancakes? What a great idea, Anita! Topped with sliced bananas and maple syrup - I'll bet they're delicious!