aunt janet's pancakes


Time to eat!

When we go camping we eat very, very well. I enjoy cooking outdoors as much as I enjoy cooking at home at my gas range. Firing up the Coleman stove to grill pancakes, or cooking eggs and potatoes in our big pan over the coals of the campfire is something I look forward to every summer.

Most of what we eat when we camp is homemade, but not every meal. I’ll pack homemade Bolognese sauce and serve it with penne pasta and a salad one night, but everybody wants to roast hot dogs over the fire at least once. We’ll have homemade dip with veggies, but Jiffy Pop is now considered a “must do” tradition around the campfire. It’s a good balance.

We have a camping supplies checklist that is seven pages long! The items on the list correspond to our boxes filled with camping supplies. These boxes stay full and organized year-round. When we’re getting ready for a trip, we just pull them and double-check that each item is accounted for. For cooking, there’s a box for silverware, sharp knives, small cutting boards, a ladle, wooden spoons, a wire whisk, rubber scrapers, and a few other odds and ends. There’s a big box for the plates, cups, and bowls, and it seems to me a variety of kitchen towels and a roll of paper towels live in that box, too. The pots and pans, collapsible mixing bowls and colander take up another box, and then there’s a box with salt and pepper, other seasonings, coffee filters, a roll of aluminum foil, etc. For some reason, a few decks of playing cards reside in one of the kitchen boxes.

All of the neatly packed supplies and equipment, combined with scrupulously well-planned meals, a few big coolers stocked with great food and good beer, and an eager cook (that’s me!) with helpers, guarantee happy campers.

Then we just have to cross our fingers and hope Mother Nature cooperates.

Aunt Janet’s pancakes

This recipe’s been used in my family ever since a family vacation in Door County, Wisconsin, 16 years ago. One morning all the kids wanted pancakes and my sister in law, Janet, had memorized a recipe that she had made many times. They were a hit with everyone. Since then, nobody in the family’s bought pancake mix.


  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons oil


Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl. Whisk the egg, milk and oil together in a different bowl. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, until somewhat smooth. (Small lumps are okay.)

Heat griddle and brush lightly with oil. When griddle is hot and a drop of water can dance on the griddle, spoon or ladle batter onto griddle. Turn when bubbles appear on surface. Cook second side until puffed and golden brown.

Serve with real butter and real maple syrup.


Batter up! Time for pancakes

These aren’t your ordinary pancakes, they’re Aunt Janet’s pancakes. At family get-togethers in Door County they appear every morning at breakfast to hungry recipients. All the cooks know the recipe by heart and it only takes a minute or two to whip up a batch of these thin, tender pancakes. Late-risers yesterday were treated to a double batch made with fresh blueberries in the batter. Grade A, dark amber maple syrup is always a must.

Good times.