Ingredient TM_IN_SWPOT_FI_003

The great American sweet potato. We all recognize it as a staple of any Thanksgiving dinner, and see sweet potato fries now offered as a healthier alternative to white potato ones at almost every restaurant. They’re even showing up more often as a substitute in traditional potato salad recipes. But though the orange-fleshed vegetable is an occasional visitor for lunch and dinner, we almost never see it on our plates before noon.

The Larder

Mix and Batch

Boxed convenience, from-scratch taste


Long before I was born, my dad worked as a short order cook at the International House of Pancakes. During each shift, he cooked eggs, ran the waffle iron, and flipped stack after stack of doughy pancakes. While he didn’t mind the work as a line cook, he was singularly dissatisfied with the quality of the pancakes and waffles he was charged with making. He began experimenting with his own recipe for an easily stored baking mix that could be stirred into a batter far superior to IHOP’s.
By the time my sister and I came along, he had perfected his dry mix. The final recipe combines whole grains, a little sugar for sweetener, and just enough baking powder to create lift. Dad’s mix was ever-present during my childhood, always ready to be whipped into action for the griddle or iron.

When I left home, I took the recipe with me and maintained the family tradition by always keeping a jar of dry mix in the fridge (it keeps better there than in the pantry). I soon discovered that in addition to making perfect pancakes and waffles, it also works brilliantly as a base for drop scones. The scones are a particularly handy innovation, as they can be frozen unbaked and then baked off one or two at a time. On chilly fall mornings, it’s awfully nice to be able to pop a scone or two in the toaster oven  while the coffee brews. MORE