This is a guest post by Kim B
[This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win a number of prizes including an 84 serving storage bucket of Wise Food Storage, 500 rounds of 9mm ammo, a NukAlert a copy of my book The Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat and a copy of my CD It’s The End Of The World As We Know It – And I Feel Fine . For complete rules and list of prizes see this post.]
While growing up, my mother would make pancakes for breakfast several times a week. I remember when she would put small slices or bite-sized chunks of regular old chicken, pork and beef hot dogs in them. Boy, did they taste good with homemade Mapleine syrup.
When I was older, I found out that she never used anything but Krusteaz brand pancake mix and the reason she gave was because she did not have to add any extra ingredients such as eggs and oil as some mixes require. I sometimes believe that I am a child at heart because I still enjoy having a pancake made into the shape of a cute little man once or twice a year. It was about ten years ago when my mother told me that she likes to have a bag of the stuff on hand because “it will keep a long time” and keep it does.
It is amazing how long some of the bags she has had sitting in storage have been around, loosely encased in one of Wal Mart’s plastic grocery bags.
A pancake not only fills my stomach and makes me feel like I did when I was a child but the uses for the mix are ideal for survival. Pancakes can be eaten as is or made with additional ingredients added in such as chocolate chips, Raspberries, Blackberries, Marion berries, Peaches, Pears, dried or fresh Cherries, Apples, Blueberries, hot dogs, Cheddar, American, Pepper Jack or Mozzarella cheeses (one or a combination of), a dab of Jalapenos and shredded cheese, integrated with softened finely chopped or diced fried onions, fine or medium corn meal, bacon, bacon bits, ham, shredded potatoes with or without onions mixed in (the cake topped with a dollop of sour cream), buttermilk, beer, chives, pepperoni, sausage, and flavorings of Maple, Rum, Orange, Almond, Chocolate, etcetera can be utilized because extracts such as these are great to give the cakes an added or new twist should the taste buds crave some excitement or the mind be in need of a little distraction away from survival boredom or stress.
No reason to stop there because the same additions can be used after a plain cake has been made by preparing the ingredients while it is cooking and then layering on and rolling them up inside to make a pancake burrito.
The most memorable of pancakes was when, on a very rare occasion, I would get a buttered pancake that was still warm which had been lightly sprinkled with sugar. It was always a surprise because before it was set before me my mother would ensure that the sugar was melted so that I would not see what was about to hit my taste buds. Because I no longer prefer a sugar-coated pancake I now like to place an over easy egg on top of a cake because the flavor of the yolk makes it taste good.
I enjoy stews and also dumplings in a beef, chicken, or other clear broth soup, especially on a cold Fall or Winter’s day. Sometimes I like to put some left over stew into a baking dish and bake it with a crust on top which always satisfies my appetite after a long, cold day outside.
I like to make up dough balls and drop them in just before everything in the pot has finished cooking so that I can closely keep watch to ensure they do not overcook and to be able to retrieve and set them in a separate dish while they are still tender. I also like to bake a few biscuits and cover them with a gravy made from the mix and they are a real enhancement to a nice hot bowl of thick bean soup when warm and buttered.
There were a few times when my mother had run out of cooking oil so she put the dry mix into a frying pan and, while stirring continually until it would brown, she would then add canned or powdered milk and water until it reached the thickness that she wanted. Personally, when making gravy, I like to brown diced onions and place them in a dish until after I make a batch of gravy so that the dry powder will not stick to them, clump and create a lumpy gravy.
Because the Krusteaz mix goes a long way and requires only water or liquid to use it, it would be a very good trading or bartering item. Placed into zip loc baggies, it would be easy to conceal them under a jacket to prevent being mugged for what may be the only food that anyone’s seen for miles or months and not so large that they could not be carried in a bug out bag.
I can imagine that an event happening in my area and how good it would feel after eating a pancake dough ball that I roasted over an open candle flame before trying to get some shut eye. With a little oil I could put dry ingredients on the outside and with a little liquid seasoning I could add my own flavor or touch up the outside during cooking which would make it seem more like I am having a meal than merely some plain bread. Things such as barbecue or steak sauce, powdered cheese, garlic salt, bouillon, sage, thyme, rosemary or even a simple sprinkling of salt and freshly cracked pepper from a hand-sized grinder would give dinner a small but welcome kick when I am waiting it out, bored from sitting too long on a clogged freeway, or stuck in the middle of nowhere.
Being from a poor background, I was around a lot of people who improvised and used a little creativity, so early on I learned how to do the same. Their ways taught me that when in a pinch I should try this and try that. Stuck or waiting someplace, I would eventually run out of drinking water but with a few packages or a bottle of apple or other juices, I would have the liquid needed to use the dry mix.
If the Krusteaz company ever goes out of business or stops serving our nation with their product then I will settle for a different brand as I sometimes have to do so long as it does not require more than water or liquid to prepare it. And if I ever run out of store-bought seasonings or cannot trade or barter for them if my supplies have been depleted or devastated then I will find and use things such as pine needles, rose hips, pine nuts, sprouts and other natural goods that our planet so graciously provides.