Pancake Mix: Buy It Or Make It
I’ll cop to buying pancake mix sometimes. The last time was when my daughter Abby was an infant, I was desperate to get some hot food into my other daughter, Penny, and I saw the whole-grain mix at the store. At the time, $7 was a small price to pay for peace of mind. But once I found a perfect pancake recipe that I didn’t have to think about—I posted it on the fridge, so my husband didn’t have to ask either—I went back to scratch, because, honestly, it was harder to remember to stock boxes of mix than just keep the pantry filled with the staples that went into it.
Besides, we go through a lot of pancakes. But am I really saving money, or is this just so much sanctimonious breakfast-slinging?
I finally broke down the cost of making your own pancakes, and I must apologize to Mr. Martino of Morristown High School. Sir, you were correct. I did need math, plus a calculator, plus another calculator that converts grams into ounces, and a rough estimate of cups in a pound, and my brain now feels like a big, spongy bread pudding. I hope you people appreciate what I do for you. (Speaking of sanctimonious breakfast-slinging.)
I compared a couple different things. Being a sanctimonious breakfast slinger (I guess we should just shorten that to SBS if I’m going to keep saying it), I buy the fancy whole-grain mix, and when I make things myself, I buy the fancy white-whole-wheat flour (which is not your mother’s nasty, sawdust-like whole wheat, let me tell you) and organic milk and eggs. Plenty of folks only do some of that, or none of that, so I priced it out for Aunt Jemima’s mix and all-purpose flour, and I came up with this approximation:
- The fancy, $7-a-box mix costs about 40 cents a pancake.
- Aunt Jemima’s costs about 16 cents a pancake.
- From-scratch fancy pancakes cost about 10 cents a pancake.
- From-scratch ordinary pancakes cost about 6 cents a pancake.
Oh. My God. Thank heavens I didn’t know this when I was using boxed pancake mix, or I would have been yelling “Finish that pancake, that’s a quarter’s worth left on your plate! I could buy a cigarette with that!”
This takes into account, though, that the fancy boxed pancake mix is really the easiest option—all you have to add is water, because powdered eggs and milk are already in there. So if it’s a challenge to keep the fridge stocked with milk and eggs—you’ve got an infant, or you’re me at the age of 25 (contents of fridge: leftover pizza and Tab), go for it, sister.
Otherwise, come on. Worst-case scenario, you make a jar of “mix” and tape directions to the side, and you still come out way ahead. You can add your own flair (spices, different flours, margarine or butter vs. oil or none at all, vanilla or almond extract), it tastes just as good, and the prep is easy enough to do while the pan is heating.
Unless you use Bisquik. I’ll get to that one in a couple weeks. In the meantime, happy sanctimonious morning to you!
Verdict: MAKE IT