Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Hearty Oatmeal Pancakes

The picture over on Plants and Animals is better...

We ate these pancakes for our first meal on the Penny Wise Eat Local Challenge. They are my favorite pancakes, from a cookbook trio I find myself using most often these days. Simply In Season, published by Herald Press, is terrific. Years ago, I bought a cookbook called More With Less, also published by Herald. The recipes were contributed by members of the Mennonite Community, and came from all over the world. I used it for years, and gave copies of it to some of my sisters- I wanted to share the low-impact eating and cooking style.

Last year EunJee gave me a copy of Simply In Season, the next cookbook commissioned by the Mennonite Central Committee. The book is divided into sections- starting with Spring, passing through Summer, Autumn and Winter, with a fifth section called All Seasons. The recipes in each section feature the foods that are abundant during that time. But even more than the recipes (which are delicious), I enjoy the comments found on most pages. The cookbooks are an education just to sit and read. Take, for example this comment on page 295, the same page as the pancake recipe

"Who's the most efficient?

One common perception is that farmers today must "get bigger or get out": in order to compete, they must become as economically efficient as possible. That is thought to mean having bigger farms, more powerful machinery and fewer types of crops.

A growing number of studies, however, show that small farms are more productive than large ones, yielding as much as four to five times greater output per acre. The difference is largely attributed to the kinds of crops grown. A thousand acre farm that grows only corn and soybeans may produce more than a small farm where corn is grown with other crops. But the total amount of food will be more on the small farm, whether judged by volume, weight, calories or cash value."

It reminds me of the comparison between spinning wheels and drop spindles; Industrialized people can never understand why indigenous people would want to keep spinning with drop spindles when spinning wheels are available. But to spin on a spinning wheel, the spinner must sit and do nothing but spin, whereas a spinner using a drop spindle can mind children, herd animals, even cook, if he or she has sufficient skill. Drop spindles, a technology that has been in use by humans for thousands and thousands of years are said to be "slower by inch but faster by the mile because the spinner can utilize all the odd bits of time available to her, and end up with more yarn overall.

OK, Now everyone is wondering "What on earth is she going on about? Yarn? This is a food blog! Sorry, that's my life, I see connections everywhere. But now that I have drug you down a completely irrelevant path, here's the recipe.

Hearty Oatmeal Pancakes

2 cups (500 ml) rolled oats
2 cups (500 ml buttermilk or plain yogurt
The night before using, combine together in a large bowl.. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

2 eggs (lightly beaten)
1/4 cup (60 ml) oil
In the morning, stir into oat mixture

1/2 cup (125 ml) flour (We use white whole wheat)
2 Tablespoons sugar (We used 2 Tablespoons honey because of the Eat Local Challenge)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small bowl, mix together, then add to batter and mix briefly in a hot, greased fry pan (or griddle.)

The batter is VERY thick. Often we will add grated apple to the batter which makes it a little thinner. The recipe also suggests stirring in blueberries. I think I would add almost any fruit, to tell you the truth. Peaches would be very yummy. This time we used a jar of canned apple slices- Chuck put the apple slices on the griddle and then spooned the batter over the apple slices. We like to eat them with peanut butter and maple syrup.


farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

O.k---but what if you have never been good at the drop spindle? only the wheel!! :-D
Good pancake suggestion.

Willa said...

The pancakes are unbelievably good. And I got better with the drop spindle after I learned to spin on a wheel- somehow the drafting was easier.

Robbyn said...

YUM! these pancakes look easy enough for even ME to make...shall have to try them!

and SHALL someday try a drop spindle!

I always love your blogs, Willa...love seeing your flowers by your doorstep growing so wonderfully