Monday, May 26, 2014

Prairie Kitchesn - American Pancakes

When we think of the pioneers, we tend to think of Brits, Ukrainians, Germans or Scandinavians. Truth is, more settlers came to Saskatchewan from the United States than any other foreign country.

And why not? The United States is, of course, much closer than Europe and the journey was much easier to navigate than a long voyage across land and sea.

Most Americans arrived by covered wagon or by rail, bringing their household belongings, farm implements, livestock, food for the journey and seeds to plant.

They knew how to farm the prairie and were, therefore, more successful from the get-go than farmers from Europe, who often worked hard for a year of more before they could afford a plow and a milk cow.

According to Bill Waiser's Saskatchewan: A New History, an estimated 600,000 people migrated north to Saskatchewan and Alberta between 1896 and 1914. One-third of them were long-time Americans, such as the ranchers and black pioneers. One-third were Canadians who had previously moved to the United States and took the opportunity to come back across the 49th parallel. And one-third were Europeans who had immigrated to America one, two or three generations before and, for various reasons, felt they would do better in Canada.

Some typically American recipes travelled north, too, such as baked beans, barbeque short ribs, baking powder biscuits, potato pie and pancakes. Early cookbooks call these fluffy pancakes "American" to distinguish them from the large thin pancakes that were popular in European cuisine.

American Pancakes
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp sugar
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp melted butter

Sift together flour, salt, baking soda and sugar in a large bowl. In another bowl, whip together buttermilk, egg and butter. Pour mixture into flour and stir to a smooth batter. Fry pancakes on a lightly greased cast iron skillet, flipping when the top side is bubbly and the bottom is evenly browned. Serve with butter and syrup.

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(This article first appeared in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix.)

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