D.I.Y. (Pt. 2)

That D.I.Y. idea percolated through my brain the other morning as I prepared The Saturday Pancakes. Realizing that we were out of instant mix, I saw an opportunity to “build from scratch” and compare time-and cost-effectiveness.

We paid $7 for a 10-pound bag of pancake mix back in August or September, so that works out to 70 cents per pound…I am now taking a moment to be slightly troubled by my computer keyboard’s not having a ‘cent’ key…one moment please…okay, we can proceed. That mix takes maybe a minute to prepare: 3 cups mix, 2 cups water, stir, cook. I’ll get 16 pancakes from that; 3 per person, plus a spare. Add in some sausage that we got on clearance for 99 cents per 12-oz. package and it’s a great day-off breakfast. Just for ultra-convenience, 3 cups of mix weigh 1 pound, so 1 pancake = 1 ounce, and at 70c./pound, 1 pancake = 4c.

How does the scratch mix stand up? Well, it took me 10 minutes to find a recipe, check for ingredients, and get everything ready to mix; I had to use whole wheat flour, so I sifted everything to keep it fairly light. It then took me 5 minutes to  make a batch of batter with the dry mix, adding eggs and oil. That puts it well behind the package mix; even if I amortize the 10-minute prep time out over the other batches I make, I won’t catch up on a 2-pound quantity of dry mix. At any rate, the pancakes came out very well.

As for cost…(sigh)…it’s not looking good. I came up with a cost of $1.31 per pound, which rounds off to 8c. per pancake. That’s twice as expensive, and much more time-consuming. Who knew? At least I’ve got something to tide us over until I can get out to the store where the package mix is cheaper, because close to home it’s $8 or $9 for the big bag. It’s a good thing I’m checking into this stuff, eh?


About poorlocavore

Welcome to one family's journey towards a smaller food-mile footprint on a small food budget. How do our choices affect the environment, and what influences our choices? Read on and find out what I'm learning.
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2 Responses to D.I.Y. (Pt. 2)

  1. Cassie says:

    It’s tempting to calculate cost simply in terms of money out of pocket. I would also factor in the cost to our health of the mix using (most likely) hydrogenated oils and being made from highly processed, bleached white flour.

    I noticed an interesting thing in the Weight Watchers book last weekend. A 4″ pancake from a mix is 1 point. A 4″ homemade pancake is 3 points. Points are calculated based on calories, fat and fiber contained in the item. So is it possible that you are, in effect, getting more nutritional value (i.e. calories and therefore energy) from a scratch pancake than you are getting from a mix pancake? If the mix one at $0.04 gives you a third of the food energy of an $0.08 scratch one, then it seems like it is more cost-efficient.

    Or am I employing faulty logic here?

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