I get a little more enthused than any normal human should over packing food for road trips, especially coming out to Tofino, where groceries are pricey but we do have a decent kitchen. Pancakes have become de rigueur at home, and so I thought I’d save a step and mix up some grainy pancake mix to bring along. I knew I wouldn’t have access to my kitchen cupboard packed with bags of flours and grains (some labeled, some not – some batches of pancakes are a mixed bag, literally) that I do at home.
I shudder at the sight of boxed pancake mix – it’s white flour, sugar and baking powder! Besides the fact that it can so easily be made at home for a pittance (I always envision Aunt Jemima chuckling all the way to the bank), I can’t imagine why a stack of sweetened white flour topped with syrup is considered breakfast and not dessert.
The great thing about pancakes, besides the obvious, is that a) kids will eat them, and b) you can sneak so much good stuff into them and they’ll still eat them, just by virtue of the fact that they’re pancakes.
Pancakes are made with flour, baking powder, milk, eggs and oil (or melted butter). Try any number of flours – oat, barley, quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice – even oats, ground flaxseed, any combination of grains will work. The milk could be soy, or plain yogurt thinned with milk or water. Eggs add protein. And the oil – I only add a little bit – adds healthy fats – I use canola or flax, which is high in omega 3 fatty acids. (And it’s far easier to add a drizzle of oil to things like pancakes than it is to work more fish into your diet.) I tend to add berries or banana or grated pears and apples (the half-eaten ones) or whatever bits of fruit (or even veg – try grated zucchini or sweet potato) I have around that needs using. (And yes, I have even made soggy cereal pancakes. Why not? It’s just grains softened in milk, which is what you’re using to make pancakes anyway! I hate wasting half-full bowls of sodden cereal. I’m not cheap, I’m environmentally savvy.)
The mix is just flours and grains, baking powder and salt. Add a teaspoon of baking powder and a pinch of salt to every cup of flours and grains. That’s it. I sometimes mix up a batch to keep at home, just to make the process simpler in the morning when I’m still mostly asleep. To use, whisk a cup of milk, an egg and a tablespoon of oil into each cup of mix. One, one, one and one. Easy, right? And simple to double or triple if you’re feeding a crowd. One plus one and one and one will make about five. Which depending on appetites may mean a couple leftovers. I’ve been known to spread a cold pancake with peanut butter and wrap it around a banana, but you don’t need to get that fancy.
Which can be a good thing. This morning, W asked if we could have a pancake picnic. But of course. He packed leftover cold pancakes, wrapping them in foil and putting them in our bag with towels and apples and water. When we got to Tonquin Park, he carefully unwrapped one and ate it plain, like a slice of pizza, before stripping down and jumping into the ocean. Apparently no one has told him it’s April.
Earlier this week, we had crepes. On Easter morning, they came with sauteed apples (with a splash of brandy, even) and whipped cream. But I think I was so enamoured with the ham that I forgot to tell you about them.