Product Review: Aunt Jemima Whole Grain Pancakes
It’s March, so what does that mean (well, other than wall-to-wall college basketball and Saint Patrick’s Day, that is)?
And while I’m usually the first to scoff at the notion that anything manufactured with the sole intention of sitting in a freezer for an unspecified amount of weeks, months or even years could possibly taste as good as the genuine article, there are times when even I’m willing to sacrifice flavor for convenience. Hence, a recent and dare I say impulsive purchase of Aunt Jemima Whole Grain Pancakes.
I really had no good reason to buy these, especially considering that I’ve been known to make my own whole wheat pancakes at home. Still, on sale for $2 a box, I just couldn’t resist. Besides, how often do you find whole grain frozen pancakes anyway?
I chose the most straightforward approach to making these pancakes, popping them in the microwave for about a minute. I was impressed with their pungent aroma once they came out, and can honestly say they gave off that unmistakable pancake smell. Texture wise they were quite moist and squishy, far from the ideal “light and fluffy” most people want from a buttermilk pancake, but at the same time not dense or firm like many homemade whole wheat pancakes. While they smelled authentic, they certainly felt artificial, both when I probed them with my fingers and when I took my first bite. In terms of mouth-feel, I’d say these pancakes could best be described as an odd cross of “chewy” and “gummy.”
In other cases I might be able to overlook this oddity in texture, but the complete lack of flavor in the pancakes does nothing to mask their maddening mouth-feel. While I seldom eat pancakes just “as is” (who does, really?) I did try these on their own at first, but can honestly say that I tasted nothing discernible in the taste department, which is saying quite a bit considering I’ve developed a rather large culinary vocabulary. And when I say nothing, I legitimately mean nothing. No sweetness, no “earthiness” of the supposed whole wheat flour, and certainly no savoriness or faux butter flavor provided by whatever industrial fat was used in the manufacturing process.
There was another problem as well. As my man Greg mentioned in his brilliant Frowdown of frozen buttermilk pancakes last year, these pancakes contain a major flaw in that they are not individually wrapped. Thus, the rest of the pancakes in the box are exposed to unnecessary freezer burnage, which further ruins any subsequent pancake making. Not that such a flaw was a big issue for me, since I found these so worthless to begin with that I didn’t even bother partaking in said subsequent tasting.
I was able to finish these with the help of some cool whip and apricot preserves (hey, don’t knock my pancake eating toppings!) but would not recommend eating these without excessive use of your own favorite condiments, if at all. Once more, even if you’re a relative novice, I’d suggest experimenting with making your own pancakes, or maybe just eating something else for breakfast if you want to get your whole grain fix. Speaking of which, I hear Cinnamon Toast Crunch is chalked full of whole grains. Sweet.
Pros: Whole grains. Looks like a pancake. Smells like a pancake. Tastes like pancake syrup if, you know, you pour pancake syrup all over it. Gives me a decent excuse to eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
Cons: It's a frozen pancake which completely and utterly lacks taste, while at the same time managing to feel like something you made in first grade art class. If I had wanted the ever thrilling and exciting taste of "absolutely nothing" than I could have saved two bucks and bitten the air in front of my face instead.
Price: 2 (on sale)
Overall GrubGrade: 1.75 (GrubGrade Hall of Shame)
More Info: http://www.auntjemimafrozen.com/
Aunt Jemima Whole Grain Pancakes