24 February 2009

Pancake Dinners


If you read this blog regularly you may know that pancakes make me smile. There is something so basic and elemental about them. They are a real comfort food. Often a family's pancake recipe is cherished and has either been handed down through generations or chosen because it reminds them of the pancakes they grew up with. If the recipe isn't special there is often something about the way they are cooked or served that has a history to it and kindles happy memories. Pancakes communicate many stories and can offer great life lessons.

Everyone knows that pancakes can be a great way to start the day or to mellow into a weekend afternoon. And yet, as anyone who has ever attended a Shrove Tuesday pancake dinner can tell you, pancakes are not just for breakfast or brunch but can make a fun and economical dinner as well.

For many years now we have enjoyed attending a Shrove Tuesday pancake dinner at our church. On the evening before Ash Wednesday the Senior Men prepare pancakes, sausages and orange juice in the Parish Hall. It is nice to get together and share a meal as we prepare for the Lenten season ahead. And while the pancakes represent the rich fare of eggs, milk and syrup that were traditionally given up during Lent, in our modern society it can also help us to set our minds on simpler meals to share with family and friends in the coming weeks as we look forward to spring and the celebration of Easter.

In Doris Janzen Longacre’s “More-with-Less Cookbook” the author suggests entertaining guests in our homes by sharing simple meals together. She states that “eating with joy is eating together.” Gathering friends for a meal need not be a complicated ordeal. "More-With-Less" encourages us to gather with an emphasis on warmth, relaxation and enjoyment of each other’s company. To do this she suggest building a meal around a theme, “one nutritious, cheap, but interesting dish” served with a “few simple foods to complement it.” One of her suggested themes is a “Waffle or Pancake Meal.”


The advantage of a pancake dinner is that the batter can be made ahead. As the pancakes cook each person can build their own stack and add their own favorite toppings. I topped mine with a variety of things I found in the refrigerator and pantry: Hickory Syrup, peanut butter, Nutella, jam, pumpkin butter and a marionberry fruit syrup were among my finds. Honey, yogurt or powdered sugar would also be good choices. Berries, toasted nuts or chocolate chips might be added. Applesauce, fruit slices or sausages could be served as side dishes if desired. Or just serve lots of pancakes. I have never heard anyone complain about a dinner of such a fun favorite.

Almost any type of pancakes would make a great dinner. Use a family favorite, or try my favorite Overnight Pancakes. For something different, my friend Alanna has a great recipe for Brown Rice Pancakes at A Veggie Venture. For international flair you could make Swedish Pancakes. Or try this recipe from the "More-With-Less" cookbook. It uses wheat germ to boost the protein content and spices to complement the nutty flavor. Over dinner, share stories about your favorite pancake memories.

Enjoy!


Wheat Germ Griddle Cakes
from "More-With-Less Cookbook " by Doris Janzen Longacre

Makes 14 pancakes

1 1/2 cups wheat germ
1 1/4 cup white flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon allspice (the original recipe calls for mace)
2 1/2 cups milk
3 eggs
6 Tablespoons salad oil

Mix ingredients in a large bowl with an electric mixer for 1 minute.

Pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto a hot, lightly greased skillet or griddle. Cook over medium low heat until the edges are dry and the bottom has browned. Flip pancake and brown on the other side.

Serve hot with butter, syrup, peanut butter, jam or any topping you choose.

Enjoy!


Note: If you like the idea of a pancake dinner here are some other simple meal themes you might want to try during Lent, or anytime:

  • A bread and cheese dinner with olives and wine.
  • Rice dinners. Brown rice cooked in broth served with a simple meat, bean or vegetable topping if desired.
  • Baked Potato topped with cheese or leftovers.

Idea: If you save money by eating simply during Lent, why not set aside the difference between what you spent on a simple meal at home and what you might have spent on an average family dinner or a dinner at a fast food restaurant, or set aside the ingredients you didn’t use, and put the difference into a special box or jar on the family table. At Easter, count the money and/or gather the ingredients and donate it to a local food bank to help feed others who are in need.

Be blessed to be a blessing!

15 comments:

Cathy said...

A beautiful post, Lisa. The pancakes looks wonderul and your photos are terrific.

I could eat a stack any time of day. In fact, I may just do that today.

Megret said...

Pancakes are my favorite food, EVER. We have them at least once every couple of weeks for dinner. We vary our recipes, but our favorite is a three-grain pancake that has cornmeal and oats in them. Sometimes we top them with homemade cinnamon syrup...mmm. Thanks for the yummy photos and great post!

Alanna @ Kitchen Parade said...

Love this idea! When I posted my mom's pancake recipe yesterday, someone left a comment about how her mother would invite people home after mass and then make pancakes! It struck me how 'entertaining' has come to mean something fussy and overwrought. But pancakes -- now that's a great idea. (Hmm. I've been looking at griddles, maybe now's the time!)

My backdoor neighbor likes to invite people for Sunday supper - she makes soup and a salad, someone brings bread, someone else brings dessert. DONE.

Grace said...

best post ever. good grief, i love pancakes. i'll take one with hickory syrup, peanut butter, nutella, jam, and marionberry fruit syrup. heck, maybe two of each--when it comes to pancakes, my stomach miraculously expands. :)

Pam said...

My daughter loves pancakes for dinner! These look fantastic...that first picture is really great.

Bunny said...

Looking at your beautiful pancakes has given pancake envy, I am the only person a live who can't make good pancakes *sigh*.

Pam said...

Great post! I love the ideas presented in that cookbook. Pancakes are great always. One of my favorites is a copycat recipe of IHOP's harvest grain and nut pancakes.

noble pig said...

Your pancakes came out perfect...just beautiful!

Michelle said...

OMW...your pancakes are gorgeous! Hickory Syrup is a new one to me, I'll have to find some!

Maris said...

These look beautiful. I love breakfast food, especially for dinner!

Christie @ fig & cherry said...

I'm a fan of thinner pancakes - crepes, but your stack does look very inviting! :)

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

I honestly think that there's little more comforting than the sight of a great big stack of pancakes in the morning. Somehow the day can't go bad when greeted with those. Your pancakes look so inviting and it's a nice tradition that the men do it too! :)

Ivy said...

The top picture is so Grand! It makes me so hungry though. They look good but healthy and I love when you can make something healthy and really delicious too. Hehe. :O

Have a great day!

Nicisme said...

Yay, I love them too. Yours look so perfect, all the same size - delish!

Passionate About Baking said...

Your pancakes make me BEAM, & so does your post.