Posted by: Ingrid | July 13, 2012

I can’t believe it’s butter

I am making pancakes tonight, because I feel like it and because I have a quart of buttermilk to use up.  That jogged my memory and reminded me that I’d begun a post on this ages ago that I never finished up.

One of our biggest natural eating changes happened over our pancake breakfasts.  I have a toddler who will eat pancakes (with jam) when most other things fail.  This meal used to look like a box of add-the-water-and-stir pancake mix, the cheapest type of buttery spread going by whatever knock-off name (It’s not butter?  Is it butter?  Better than butter?), and three types of “syrup”; regular, light, and sugar free.  And cheap strawberry jam for Isaac.

That was our typical pancake breakfast until I started reading labels.  Darned literacy.

I now have my faithful standby recipe, compliments of my sister.  Whole Wheat maple pancakes (I am a maple ANYTHING lover), which we have been making since January.  I think I still have a box of pancake mix that is still sitting on the shelf.  I can’t bring myself to use it (Ew!) or give it away (and waste $1.50?!?).  We love the real thing now and they are so easy to make!

Another exciting find was a store that sells real Michigan maple syrup for $12 as opposed to the $18 plus that I saw at the grocery store.  My concern with syrup was two-fold.  First, the calories!  Why would I “waste” that many calories on syrup (200 per 1/4 cup) when I can dump on a 1/4 cup of fake sugar-free syrup for 35 calories?  Secondly, I was afraid that with real syrup costing so much we would fly through it in no time.

I have since learned that when you use the real thing you don’t need as much.  It also tastes so much better!  I can get away with a tablespoon of the real stuff (with its rich and satisfying flavor) or dump on a 1/4 cup of the cloyingly sweet fake syrup.  I know which I prefer now and I am not looking back!  Even Clint uses it very moderately because you just don’t need as much.

And then there’s the issue of butter.  I dropped my fake butter spread months ago and have been absolutely floored by how delicious butter tastes.  Butter!  Yum!  Melted on pancakes or toast!  If you’d told me ten years ago that A) I would be eating and cooking with butter and B) I would actually think that butter tasted good, I wouldn’t have believed you.

After all of these years cooking and eating fake products that in my mind were supposed to be better; low-calorie, low-sugar, low-fat, blah, blah, blah, I am learning just how good real tastes.  I used to tell people that I liked the fake stuff, that I couldn’t tell the difference.  I thought that the light, low-fat, low-sugar options were better for me (not to mention cooler).  I used to freak out that if I ate the real stuff; syrup and (God forbid!) butter, I would get fat.

Guess what?

I am not fat.  I have discovered that food is supposed to taste good and satisfy, not be novel and cool.  And I would rather base my food choices on flavor and enjoy real food than eat the fake substitutes that don’t ever compete with the real thing.

Except for fake sugar in my coffee.  Don’t mess with that! 😛

Real pancakes for dinner tonight.  With syrup and butter.  YUM!



  1. I’ve been on a similar food journey in recent years, getting back to basic foods and switching to butter. We also love unsweetened apple sauce as a pancake topping. Have you read Pollan’s In Defense of Food? He argues that if a food has more than five ingredients or is something that your grandmother never ate, then you shouldn’t either.

    • I’ve read a couple of Pollan’s books and just finished In Defense of Food. Very compelling book!

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