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March 11, 2008

Batter Blaster: What’s wrong with this picture?

 

Batter Blaster. It’s organic. It’s fast and easy. Just squirt into a pan and fry up some pancakes in seconds rather than minutes. What could be better?

I first read about Batter Blaster back in January on the Organic Picks blog. Cindy expressed total disdain for the product, as did I in my comment on her blog where I wrote, “That is just wrong on SO MANY LEVELS!” My comment caught the attention of a certain Associated Press reporter who emailed me for a follow up. This weekend, her story, including my comment, was published by news outlets large and small, from Fox News, AOL, and San Francisco Examiner, to Ventura County Star, The Sacramento Bee, The San Diego Union-Tribune, and Bakersfield Californian. All I can say is, it must have been a slow news day.

As I stated in my comment, it’s not like pancake-making the traditional way is a slow process. In this CNet video comparing canned Batter Blaster with traditional batter-making, mixing up batter the old fashioned way took 3 whole minutes, compared to the 5-second squirt from the can. So we’re now creating disposable steel and plastic containers, more physical waste, just to save 3 freakin’ minutes? Give me a break!

On the other hand, I’ve never made a pancake in my life. Ever. What do I know? So I called my friend, Mark, who makes them for himself every morning, and told him about Batter Blaster. His response: What a stupid thing! How lazy are people?

Mark, mind you, is not some radical tree-hugger. He’s your average concerned human being. He brings his reusable bags with him shopping, and since he started reading Fake Plastic Fish, he’s become more aware of and concerned about excess packaging. He’s pretty typical of what Brave New Leaf recently called “The Environmental Pragmatist.” He doesn’t grind his own wheat or gather his own eggs. But he does get up 3 minutes early to make his own pancakes:

Mark’s No Big Deal Pancake Recipe

1) Mix together 1 cup flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 Tbsp. sugar or natural sweetener of your choice (in other words, not aspartame because it doesn’t bake well.)

2) Add 1 cup milk, 1 egg, and 1/4 cup oil and mix everything together. Leaving it lumpy is okay.

3) Fry up your pancakes. Now see, to me, this seems like the hardest part. How long do you leave them before flipping? How do you flip without destroying? And these problems are not solved by Batter Blaster at all!

Mark says this recipe makes 4 big pancakes, which he cooks and eats over 2 days. He says that years ago, he might have thought that making pancakes would be a pain in the butt, but now, he can pretty much do it in his sleep. In fact, when I called him at work today, he rattled off the recipe from memory.

So, maybe some people don’t have an extra 3 minutes in the morning to make up fresh pancake batter. To them, I say, “Eat cereal! And leave the pancakes for the weekend!”

This has been my rant for the week. Niceness is scheduled for tomorrow.



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36 comments
Camille
Camille

Rant all you want... The inventor of this makes 60 million a year.

david
david

While I rarely make pancakes, and would never dream of making them from a can, I have to echo the sentiments of "anonymous on mon", It's not about the 3 minutes to mix the batter; it's about the time to cleanup and the number of ingredients one must have on hand to mix Mark's (probably delicous) batter. To be fair, Mark is a single guy making 4 pancakes to last him 2 days. Add hungry kids, a Mom trying to get her kids to school / daycare, and herself to work on time and you begin to see how this product could be appealing. Buy one item instead of the small basket full required for Mark's recipe. Yes, they could eat cereal, but this product allows "Mom" to feel good about sending her kids out with a hot breakfast with a minimum of fuss.. Is it more nutritious than the cereal would be? Um...no; but marketing is a powerful. thing, as is the guilt endured by many working mothers who don't have the "luxury" of staying home with their kids. To many working Moms this probably looks like a step up from the "toaster" waffles they usually buy.

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Hi Tracy. What's wrong is that it takes materials and energy to create that can, and energy to recycle that can. Why expend that energy when making pancakes from scratch is so easy, and I can buy the ingredients in bulk from the natural foods store without any packaging except for the cardboard egg carton which I return to the farmers market to be reused for more eggs -- not recycled. Recycling is a feel good measure that will not solve our climate crisis. Reduction is much more important. And I don't see anyone here promoting eating meat from a can either. .-= Beth Terry´s last blog ..Carnival Of The Green #217 =-.

Tracy
Tracy

Batter Blaster pancakes are THE best I've ever tasted, they remind me of the buckwheat pancakes I once had at a restaurant. Really delicious. The cans are recyclable steel so.....what's everyone's problem? Gosh it's just wrong to have pancakes from a can? Really? MEAT from a can is so way more gross to me! :)

Jason
Jason

Bottom line is that batter blaster pancakes SUCK. The taste is horrible and they get away with calling it organic. That buzz word which may mean wholesome and natural to most is used to easily in marketing.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Hey, check out www.messageinabatter.com

Anonymous
Anonymous

Hi Beth,it's so gratifying to hear your comments on Batter Blaster, a product that seems a just 1 step more abhorrent than another item I've been ranting about to friends and family for months. It's Bisquick Shake n Pour from General Mills, a Big Food brand that is sadly much more ubiquitous on supermarket shelves. Oddly, I see little to no outcry about this untrapackaged, not-really-more-convenient food. A few friends (playing devil's advocate) said, "well, you could take it camping." Comments like these only underline the extent to which people really don't think about the utter uselessness of some packaging.

Anonymous
Anonymous

100% agreed. A completely unnecessary product. My only hope is that sales are bad and they pull it from the shelf. Your post reminded me of a lady I met who bought pre-cut apples for her grandson from Costco. First of all each apple was individually wrapped in a plastic bag and then the whole bag of ~10 apples was again wrapped in a bigger plastic bag. I remember thinking you are soooooooo busy you don't have the whole 30 seconds it takes to cut up an apple for your ONLY grandson?!? (BTW they weren't peeled) Not only that but they tasted like SH*T b/c of course they had to put a preservative on the apples to keep them from going brown and mushy. However, they were "organic."

har mar
har mar

i lied...sorta. batter blaster just emailed me and let me know that the cans are made out of recycled steel.

har mar
har mar

boyfriend tells me more about this batter blaster last night (where the slip of my tongue kept calling it bladder baster for some reason) and he said he read a whole article on this when it first came out...that one...the materials to make the can is made out of recycled aluminum (may not be aluminum...i have a tendancy to stop listening to boyfriend rants after a certain point but i DO know he said it was made from recycled parts) but he also said the top was not recycled material (so i know you'll be upset with that). AND he also said that batter blaster was invented by a local resident and is made locally. so doesnt that make batter blaster a little better? isnt recycling old parts into something new better than making new stuff out of new stuff? and isnt recycling old stuff into new stuff more realistic in the world we all live in today? boyfriend also made a case...although, yes, our sample at costco both left us a little disgusted with the product...isnt it handy for those of us that are a:clumsy and b: messy? well, yes, i am both, but i do a good job making pancakes from scratch and am more anal about the clean up process. but if boyfriend decides to make breakfast...and he makes pancakes from partially made mix (dry mix+water=pancakes) there is pancake flour EVERYWHERE, there are clumps of wet pancake mix here and there and then there are bowls coated with pancake mix left in the sink...so for him (and my own sanity) batter blaster would make sense...one squirt and a lovely pancake forms without the mess and dust and crust that i end up having to clean up. and a less mad and more grateful girlfriend in the end benefits EVERYONE in my home.

Mickey
Mickey

Maybe it's already been said, but shouldn't the organic label have something to do with the packaging of a product as well? I just hate that the term has been hijacked to sell canned pancake batter.

heather t
heather t

for just ducky - (I'll try to find you to respond personally as well.)Anyhoo - I always make a double batch of pancake batter and cook up the whole batch. Leftovers keep in the fridge for a few days (they get eaten before they go bad) - just pop them in the toaster to reheat. Just make sure your pancakes are a size to fit your toaster and not too little or you'll be tempted to dig them out with a fork - big no-no!! I'm sure you can reheat in the oven or toaster oven, and I've reheated in the microwave also (not as good as the toaster tho).

N. &amp;amp; J.
N. &amp;amp; J.

We were able to make pancakes in Iraq. If we could do it on a single griddle powered off a generator without using this crap then anyone can do it. We make more elaborate breakfasts every Sunday and it's great because when we make pancakes we can store them in the fridge already made or even freeze them or we can leave the batter in the fridge and have fresh pancakes any time.N.http://badhuman.wordpress.com

SootsandArya
SootsandArya

Mark iz hallucinogenic 2 us and put us in bag. but can he come over & makez us pancakes? we tired uv pumkin & chikken. if we can haz pancakes we makez nyce poop in litterbox promise k?

Rejin L
Rejin L

Beth, I like your idea of scheduling niceness. Sometimes it is hard to do spontaneously.

just ducky
just ducky

ronp--I hear you point and I think it is a very good one. There are two sides (and sometimes more) to every "green" dilemma...which you have intelligently pointed out here. It's a good reminder for us all. Question for you--Can you fry up all of the batter and then freeze the pancakes that you don't eat or do they turn out yucky when you reheat them? I'm not trying to be snarky...I've never actually done it, so I don't know

Carla Jean
Carla Jean

This reminds me of my own rant on fake, plastic, carvable pumpkins (See " Are you Funkin Kidding Me?"). Who actually sat down and thought of a NEED for this type of thing?! I agree with you totally. I just wish people would stop fixing things that weren't broken, and replacing natural things with fake, time saving ones.

Clif
Clif

Look at it from the angle of first responder safety. Suppose a fire breaks out at Costco near the batter display. Firemen attempting to save the store will (when high temps cause the cans to burst) be completely immobilized in large masses of pancake!You are on the right track in mocking such purchases. That is what will cause a pause before purchase. I'm hoping the "one person in a large SUV" habit we see every day will end up similarly ridiculed.

Ron P
Ron P

I think people are missing the point here. Its not about being lazy, its about conservation. I actually make pancakes from scratch. The problem is that once you make the batter, a lot of it is wasted and batter does not keep well (i have tried). You can't make just one pancake from batter, the recipes are not made that way. So this allows you to consume what you want, its organic, everything can be recycled including the cap. I love it and i AM a treehugger.

MamaBird
MamaBird

Wow, that is crazy. re: saving time, why not make bulk pancake mix on your own? we do that and stick it in the freezer. I got the recipe from Leanne Ely's website. It's whole grain and you keep it in a big ziploc, well, I did before you got me looking at all the plastic everywhere! Now it'll go into an empty oatmeal container....

Tracey
Tracey

I used to make pancakes every day, until my family decided that breakfast itself was a time consuming task.Flip the pancake when the bubbles on the top side start to dry. The pan should be medium hot. I recommend cast iron, as it is naturally non stick. Clean it without water and set it on the warm element to dry. Wipe on some oil if it needs re-seasoning.

organicneedle
organicneedle

My favorite lazy-ass product is the peanut butter and jelly in the the same squeeze jar. Is there anyone out there that has not mastered the fast paced high tech world of jar opening?PS. Thanks, Beth, for coming to visit my little blog. I really appreciate the encouragement.

Allie
Allie

I've seen this! How ridiculous! I also can't stand the Bisquick shaker bottle that's out too -- big plastic bottle for ONE USE! Is it that ridiculously hard to wash a mixing bowl?

just ducky
just ducky

I never know if smart-aleck anonymous comments are supposed to be funny or offensive...oh bother...But to address the comment from anonymous: Why bother with the spray pancakes at all if you're tired/too busy/lazy? Why not opt for the frozen "pop in your toaster" kind of pancakes then? I'm by no means advocating frozen pancakes...but if you are going to take the easy way out, with tons of crazy packaging, in hopes of avoiding the clean-up...why not skip the whole thing and move straight to the toaster...

arduous
arduous

I love how they advertise the product as organic as if natural food is supposed to come out of a can like that.Awesome.

har mar
har mar

they had samples of batter blaster pancakes at costco this weekend. they werent very good...but i think the sample lady was having a bad day and was refusing to cook the pancakes all the way through so mine was all dough-y in the middle. not that i'd use batter blaster anyway (cuz you can whip up some krusteez with one scoop of mix and one scoop of water and yum) but im more of a french toast kinda gal. found an amazing recipe to try this weekend which also gives me an excuse to go by bread at the farmers market and see sarah too.

Jenn
Jenn

We make ours from scratch. Andrew and I, every time he sleeps over.To make a fluffier pancake sustitute half of the milk with a carbonated soda...anything works...I always use sprite because I like the sweetness.You flip them over when they have little bubbles all over the top.It's easy...you can do it! Invite a kid over and give it a try.

Katie
Katie

All I can think of when I see that can is Cheez Whiz. How lazy have we become as a society??? Another option, which I think you alluded to your friend Mark doing, is to make a big batch on the weekend and pop your required amount in the toaster oven for a quick breakfast grab during the week.You could even premeasure your dry ingredients into a canning jar and make your own version of the shake mix where all you need to add is the wet stuff and no stirring is required.Deep Breath...thanks for listening to my rant.

Beany
Beany

OT:Have you heard about garbage revolution?. I really enjoyed the videos you posted about the recycling facilities and have been thinking about them since. Its very hard to not be so judgemental about people walking around with little plastic bags containing something that could be held in their pockets. I searched your blog to see if you had mentioned this documentary and didn't see anything. It seems like some sort of trend to hold on to garbage (I think some guy in the Bay area also held on to his plastic (or was it trash?) for a year.

punkmunkyuk
punkmunkyuk

Hmmmwhy bother cooking it? just get up pop off the cap squirt directly in to you mouth swallow, no need to even chew!!i joke!!you just said dont leave with out leaving a comment im guessing this product is a U.S. product?

Jessica at Bwlchyrhyd
Jessica at Bwlchyrhyd

I saw a fairly comparable bit of hideousness in the supermarket here in the run up to Pancake Day (yes, British people only eat pancakes once a year...) Instead of using ordinary pancake mix in a cardboard box (which is lazy enough in and of itself), the idea is that you fill this container (which comes half full with pancake mix) with water to the line, put the lid back on, and shake. It saves you having to measure the pancake mix into a (reusable) bowl... I was so truly disgusted when I spotted it...

Anonymous
Anonymous

It's not just the 3 minutes to make 'em. It's about the cleanup. Nutz. Guess I will have to try some of the spray cakes. Thanx for bringing to me attention.

Sunny
Sunny

I agree pancakes from a can is just wrong. But seriously, you haven't ever made pancakes before. That's a staple in my family and probably one of the first things I learned how to make. We can work on this!

EnjoyingLife
EnjoyingLife

Oh, my!!! Pancakes from a squirt can. That just sounds scary! I think that is taking fast food just a bit too far. Thanks for the recipe. :)

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