When I was growing up pancake and waffle mixes didn’t exist and my mother made the batter from scratch. I used to watch her impatiently, eager for the pancakes and sweet syrup. Food was scarce at that time and we were lucky if there was bacon or sausage to go with the pancakes.
I’ve bought pancake mixes, but I don’t like the ones that contain corn meal. Personally, I don’t like corn meal in my pancakes because it makes them too thick. Thinner, crepe-like pancakes taste better to me.
The original recipe for my mother’s pancakes came from The Victory Binding of the American Woman’s Cook Book, first published in 1943. This wartime edition contained many meatless recipes and “victory substitutes and economical substitutes for delicious wartime meals.” One section of the cookbook tells how to render fat and this brought back memories.
I was a young child during World War II and remember school fire drills (we knew they were air raid drills) and blackout times, when everyone turned off their lights. Families had ration stamp books for scarce food items like meat, sugar, and cream. The government asked people to save fat in tin cans. One of my jobs was to take the cans of fat to the local butcher, who gave me money for each one.
Every family on our block saved fat and had a Victory Garden. These neighborhood gardens–potatoes, carrots, lettuce, beets, and other vegetables–helped to feed us and united us in the war effort. Flour and eggs were available and that may be why my mother made the Flannel Cakes recipe in the wartime cookbook.
This is a basic recipe. I add a little sugar and vanilla for more flavor. My husband and I are monitoring our sugar intake, so I serve the pancakes with sugar-free or light syrup. Instead of adding berries to the batter, I add blueberries to the syrup and warm it on the stove. This turns the syrup blue and that’s fine with us.
Are you looking for a budget-friendly, delicious meal? This recipe for Flannel Cakes may be just the thing.
2 cups pre-sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups milk (regular, 2%, skim, or reduced fat buttermilk)
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Syrup of your choice
Whisk flour, salt, and baking powder together. Separate the egg yolks from the white. Whisk yolks well. Add milk, melted butter, and butter to egg yolks. Stir flour mixture into egg mixture. Beat egg whites with an electric beater until stiff but not dry. Gently fold beaten whites into pancake batter. Bake on greased, hot griddle, browning pancakes on both sides. Makes 24 pancakes.