Pancake mix

I was chatting to a student yesterday who introduced me to the concept of buying ready-done pancake mix. I found this funny and curious – to me, it seems strange to buy this rather than the easy and cheap task of mixing the few ingredients. But it got me thinking – what does this say about our culture, if anything?

I’ve had a few thoughts which I haven’t had time to develop:

– This could be considered iconic of where we are in the West. Instead of pancakes signifying using up even basic ingredients so that one can fast and concentrate on God, they’re now a commodity for the consumer. I hardly ever fast myself, and I don’t offer this as a criticism, really – I just think it’s an interesting example of where our society is.

– I also find myself thinking about the distancing of people from food ingredients. This student says he doesn’t really know how to cook – he’d have to phone his parents for a recipe. And anyway, he doesn’t buy milk, eggs, flour as part of his diet – pancakes and their ingredients really are an oddity to him; he has to buy them specially, so why not the ready-made mix?

I see this as the second stage in a distancing from ingredients:

* The first stage is our modern distancing from how ingredients are produced. I’m not used to killing animals, or seeing them killed; I’m not used to the processes of sowing, harvesting and processing.

* The second stage is a distancing from the ingredients themselves. What are pancakes made of? No idea, I’ll buy the mix ready-done. How is bread made? No idea, I’ll buy a loaf. How do you make a curry? No need to know – I’ll get a ready-meal. This stage is less-developed in me and many people, but it exists. Will we just eat flavoured lozenges in 3000AD?

– On the other hand, hey, don’t you wish you could make perfect pancakes? With a hint of blueberry? Let’s get down to Tescos for some ready-made mix…

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  1. Please note – I’m not really saying anything but just commenting

    This seems to go into every field, not many people know how to build a vacuum cleaner but I would guess most have used them.

    We seem to have all become very specialised to the point where we don’t even know the basics of some things which were fundamental to living in the not so distant history.

    However it seems wise to build on to others knowledge without having to understand everything that went before. Like I don’t understand Hebrew or Greek etc, yet I’m happy to have English translations of the Bible.

  2. Yeah I agree there’s nothing wrong with specialising.

    So why do I feel like there’s _something_ wrong with the phenomenon davidb’s describing?

  3. How do you know it’s davidb? It doesn’t say anywhere who wrote it. Or have I got to change theme again?

  4. Yes it is a bit weird, I do feel it is wrong somehow not knowing how to make

    So is it down to dependence? Do we not want to rely on anyone or any machine without knowing that we could do it if we wanted to?

    Or is it pride – we like to know everything?

    Something else …

  5. As for feeling a bit weird I can feel that too, and agree with the dependance/pride thing and have no further thoughts except one.

    My father told me it’s not what you know but who you know.
    Fortunately I know a few people who make good pancakes!

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