Pancakes have been eaten for thousands of years. The Romans and the Greeks made meals out of pancakes dipped in honey while many Europeans mixed in spices, apples, fruit flavored waters and even meats and alcohol such as Sherry.
In centuries past, cooks needed to use up their perishables like milk, butter, and eggs just before Lent. The foods could not be eaten during this period, and thus, would spoil, so they naturally mixed them with some sort of flour and sweetener to make cakes that were eaten in large quantities just before Lent. The early colonist in America made pancakes out of cornmeal or buckwheat and called them flapjacks, johnnycakes, or hoecakes.
Some of the early recipes called for molasses instead of eggs. It can be surmised that eggs, were at times, hard to come by, so a substitute was found. Eggs are typically the preferred choice today, however. Today’s recipes also call for a leavening agent to make the cakes fluffier, more of a cake like texture, in other words.
Leave out the leavening agent and call it a Crêpe.
Pancakes can be a meal because you have grains, eggs, milk, butter, salt, and sugar all in one fluffy round cake. Not exactly well balanced by some standards, but add some peanut butter and jelly, nuts, dark chocolate chips or fresh fruit to the mixture and you have a relatively healthy meal that can be eaten as you walk, hike or as you sit around the campfire. Make smaller pancakes that can be used like slices of bread.
Ever hear of a peanut butter and jelly pancake, well now you have. Just make the pancakes the size of sliced bread. Let cool or keep them warm and then just spread peanut butter and jelly and carry like a sandwich for a fast meal anytime.
Once made, you can eat the pancakes cold, and even though any leftovers should be refrigerated pancakes will not spoil that quickly, so if you have to break camp and carry the leftovers in your packs you should be okay for the day.
However, once you have made the batter it should be used rather quickly. It will spoil in a few hours if left out of refrigeration. When you don’t have refrigeration, foods have to be cooked quickly and consumed just as fast in many cases. There are exceptions of course, and cooked foods will not spoil as quickly as fresh foods.
A Basic Pancake Recipe
- 1 1⁄2cups flour all purpose is best
- 3 1⁄2teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1 1⁄4cups milk
- 1 egg (x-large) or 2 small
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
Mix your dry ingredients in a bowl and then in a separate bowl whisk the eggs, milk, and melted butter together. Do not over work the eggs and this can happen if you use an electric mixer (use a hand-operated eggbeater instead). Whipping them for too long will stiffen them up.
Add the wet to the dry and mix until you have a lumpy batter. Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes and then ladle or pour onto a hot well-greased cooking surface. Rocks had been used in the past and still can be used today to cook your pancakes on.
Tip: Put the batter in a squeeze bottle like a used ketchup container, or some other liquid dispenser. Just squeeze the batter onto the hot surface making whatever size you want.
You can cook pancakes on any flat hot cooking surface that is well greased. Use lard, butter or some type of cooking oil, or a combination of all of the above. You can mix lard and butter together to pan fry with, but keep in mind butter will smoke at a lower temperature than will lard.