Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Bottle or basin?

Yesterday was Shrove Tuesday - Pancake Day - I suppose the beginning of Lent has to be celebrated with something luscious and sweet before the days of abstinence to come.   I love pancakes and so does the farmer, so there is no way I can get out of making them; nor would I wish to.

But walking round the Supermarket with the farmer yesterday morning (he has to take me as I cannot drive at present) we came across a large unit holding nothing but plastic squeezy bottles of something optimistically called "Pancake Mix".   Our Supermarket is on a large army garrison so that I would guess a large proportion of  the customers are young women with children.   Those pancake mix bottles were disappearing off the shelves as if by magic.

We speculated on why it would be necessary to buy Pancake mixture when the stuff is so easy to make and when you make it yourself you know exactly what is in it.   Flour, egg and milk and that's it, so why would you need to buy it?

Fling all three ingredients in a basin, whisk it up until bubbles appear on the top, cover it and put it in the fridge for an hour and there you are - it is all ready to use. And, what is more, you know exactly what is in it - a few additives in the flour and everything else is untainted.   In these days of the horsemeat scandal I am suspicious of everything - this may well be only the tip of the iceberg I feel.

Apparently Domestic Science, or whatever it is called these days, is to be taught to everyone in schools again from something like 2014.
In my day at school you only did D S if you were considered too poor at academic subjects to merit more 'serious' subjects. Didn't this imply that only 'dim' people could spend their time doing menial things like cooking - all those in other jobs could afford to pay somebody to do it for them?

I am not for a minute suggesting that everyone should spend all day slaving over a hot stove but really I do things have come to a pretty pass when folk can't even make their own pancakes.

Ours by the way were delicious - three each, served with lemon juice and caster sugar.   The farmer pointed out that he used to have his with Golden Syrup - I offered him some but he turned it down.
Not sure whether that was because he really preferred lemon or whether he thought he would incur my wrath at eating something so obviously not good for his health or weight!

It is snowing heavily here in North Yorkshire - as the weather forecast said it would.   It is supposed to turn to rain later.   In the meantime it is grey and bitterly cold.   I hope my new header cheers you all up a bit. 

**  I am experiencing problems with the internet (what's new) - it keeps coming and going, so if I am off air for a couple of days you will know why.   The computer man is coming in the morning and hopefully he will sort it out - it seems I may need a new hub.


Tom Stephenson said...

These days, we are expected to make our own tomato ketchup by celebrity chefs.

Dave King said...

Yes, in my day only girls did D.S., boys did woodwork. Then everyone did D.S., and then the government scrapped that requirement. And now they're bringing it back again.
'Twas ever thus!

Rachel Phillips said...

What a silly world we live in now.

MorningAJ said...

I needed to use up some leftover ham, soft cheese and half a tin of sweetcorn yesterday. I offered K pasta to go with it but gave him the alternative of savoury pancakes. No contest! And we had enough left to finish off the last two with some apricots (also leftovers) and a splash of cream. (You guessed - also leftover!)

It wasn't even called DS in my school - it was cookery! And we all did it for two years. (Learned more from my mum at home though.)

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

In high school over here it was called Home Ec (for Home Economics) and we were taught by an old, cranky woman who had learned to cook in the Boston Cooking School - which would be about 75 years ago that she was learning to cook. We had to copy the recipe of the day into our little note books every morning (the result of the Boston Cooking School teaching girls to read and write as well as cook, though we all knew very well how to read and write), then gather all ingredients and begin cooking. We learned basic things like biscuits (I'm not sure what they call them there, but here biscuits are somewhat like a scone, with no additions, but cut with round cookie cutters and served with butter and jam or honey). They are served with breakfast sometimes - and instead of butter and jam, topped with a sausage milk gravy (my favorite way). They are also served for dinner as a bread, especially with chicken dinner.

Back to Home Ec - all girls were required to take it for two years (in the 60s), half the semester was cooking and half was sewing. Since I had been making my own clothes since I was about 10, and cooking entire meals for my family since I was 11, I found the classes simplistic and slow. But I was still required to follow each little step - first we learned to hem, then to run a machine, then made a potholder - oh my word it was hard to wait for some who didn't sew - most of my friends already did, but we plugged on through the simple tasks given us, when we would have preferred to run up a pretty prom dress.

I wonder if Home Ec is even taught in schools over here these days - it has been a long time since I've been associated with a High School.

I love your pancake story and today I shall have pancakes for breakfast - I like them with butter and a little maple syrup, or with peanut butter and honey - isn't it funny how differently we all prepare our foods?

Crafty Green Poet said...

surely the most difficult thing about pancakes is the tossing of them? And I'd guess those squeezy bottles of suspicious stuff don't have a built in toss...

At my school we all had DS for the first two years and then anyone could continue with it if they wanted. Though mostly those with good grades in academic subjects were encouraged not to.

Linda Metcalf said...

Same here in our Jr.High School and High grandaughter can do all the higher complicated maths but didn't know how to sign and cash her first after school job pay check. I did get her a small sewing machine a few years ago so she could practice the basics. When I was in school we did learn to sew an outfit(skirt and sleeveless blouse) and also how to figure the costs of a meal,purchase what was needed and cook and serve the the meal at a correctly set table. Pancake mix? Nope not here.

Heather said...

Your lovely new header is just what we need - a little cheerfulness in the greyness of late winter.
I can't think why anyone buys these mixes, but there do seem to be so many women nowadays who can't or won't cook. Perhaps dropping Domestic Science from the curriculum has led a generation to assume that cooking is beneath them.
Keep warm and hope to have you back soon.

jerilanders said...

I loved Home Ec class in school. It's more fun to cook with a dozen giggling girls! We also learned to sew and that stood me well for my entire life. I made all my own clothes throughout high school. But, we did had a great teacher. As far as the prepackaged pancake mix,I think folks just want the convenience because many simply do not like to cook and then WASH up the extra bowls and spoons.
PS> This weeks soup is "Leftover Soup" Using whatever you have in fridge that mixes nicely.

angryparsnip said...

When I went to Junior High School we all took art class and music. Then the girls took Home Ec and the boy took woodshop or auto mechanics. This was Junior High not even High School.
What a great education system we had back when I was growing up in the 50's.
We learned everything. Yes some what simple in that the girls took cooking boys woodworking but it was taught along with PE classes, track, volleyball, football, gym and even dancing, from folk to the foxtrot !
We now live in a fragmented silly world now.

cheers, parsnip

Rachel Fox said...

We make our own pancakes... but not just on Pancake Day... every couple of weeks!

Robin Mac said...

I love your new header. When I was growing up, if we had a wet Sunday my mother always made pancakes - and there was no way she could shirk as we children were all urging. We always has lemonjuice and sugar on them too.
When my boys went to high school, during the first year everyone, boys and girls, did both domestic science and woodworking. All the boys had to learn to mend and knit and crochet as well as the girls. I think that has been changed now unfortunately, as I think it was a good life skill for all of them. Cheers

Eddie E. Cummings said...

I had home Ec classes over here in Michigan. Along with typing, and sewing. And glad I did, some of what I learned I still use today, cumputers have keyboards, I know how to make Tuna cassarole, and I can thread a sewng machine and sew a button on a shirt. These classes taught you basic skills that I am thankfull for. Wood working was a elective, and pointless and unless you were going to be a carpenter. As for the pancake mix, welcome to the world of packaging. Home-ec is still taught in some schools here to both boys and girls. A new fan of your blog

Rachel Phillips said...

I had problems with internet going up and down for several weeks, and then I rang BT in Mumbai and she arranged for the BT man to come out to me from four miles up the road from here and he gave me a new hub and I have not looked back. So dont hesitate. BT up date the hubs but don't tell anyone and until you experience problems you dont know that yours is considered an old one and more or less out of date.

Gwil W said...

I think I sometimes have problems because they installed the 'wrong' kind of wire under the street - they said they couldn't get any fibre optic - perhaps it's all going to China or India or someplace - but I have an 'hp stick' to bypass the problem when it arises.

The Weaver of Grass said...

My computer man has been this morning and he is sure it is a faulty hub so I have written a stern letter to BT asking for a new one.
Watch this space.
Thanks for calling.

Leanne said...

In my schooldays it was Home economics too. I also saw those plastic bottles of pancake mix and sighed deeply. As you say, making a pancake batter is hardly challenging, and all that plastic, yet more plastic, to be (hopefully) recycled, but more likely than not will end up in landfill.

Leanne x