Pancake mix

It’s Shrove Tuesday. Mardi Gras. Or, as we usually call it round these parts, Pancake Day. So I made some pancakes. Hey, it’s as good a reason as any, right? What I don’t get, though, is the existence of a product called pancake mix.

Pancakes are really, really easy to make. You mix eggs, milk, flour, and a dash of oil or melted butter. Maybe a bit of sodium bicarbonate if you like. It doesn’t even have to be wheat flour: almost any starch will do. I’ve used yam flour and rice flour to make gluten-free pancakes very successfully in the past. If you want thick, American-style pancakes, add more flour; add less for crêpes.

And yet, every year, the shops are full of packets of pancake mix. Pancake mix! And people buy it! The very idea that someone would take a recipe so trivially simple, made with everyday basic ingredients, and commoditise it into a branded product—well, it makes me quite irrationally angry.

There’s something disempowering about the whole thing. What was once a simple recipe made with things that everyone had in their larder is now cast as a niche product that can only be manufactured with the assistance of corporations.

Perhaps I’m overreacting. I’ll tell you what, though: come the end of civilisation, it’ll be the people who bought ready-made pancake mix who die out first.


  1. Stu

    Wrote at 2012-02-22 09:36 UTC using Chrome 17.0.963.56 on Mac OS X:

    cough bottled water cough
  2. Adriaan Erasmus

    Wrote at 2012-03-20 15:26 UTC using Chrome 16.0.912.77 on Linux:

    I love it when people sound all knowledgeable about the kinds of meat and/or fish. Which kind is better than the other kind BUT the first time they witness a cow being slaughtered or a chicken or fish being gutted, they want to faint and turn vegetarian for weeks after that ….. makes me laugh every time. They also fall within the group that will die out first.
  3. Robin Ellams

    Wrote at 2012-04-30 09:19 UTC using Firefox 11.0 on Windows XP:

    Back before the beginning of time you had some useful/interesting posts on Ruby at:
    which seems to have disappeared. Are they available at some other site?
    Regard, Robin