Pantry Anarchy: Oatmeal Pancakes

Why “Pantry Anarchy”? Because recipes were made to be broken when you’re broke.


I have an abundance of Maypo oatmeal packets. Judging from reactions when I showed a picture of them before, a lot of people relying on a food bank are familiar with these oatmeal packets.

Fun and useless trivia: MTV’s branding was inspired by Maypo’s ads in the 50’s. I guess they had a kid saying, “I want my Maypo!”. MTV’s 80’s version was “I want my MTV!”

There’s an unfortunate thing about these….

They don’t taste great. Even dressed up w/ jam or sweetened with brown sugar. It’s a bit of a texture thing as well as a taste issue. Did Maypo taste better in the 50’s or did they just pay that kid a lot of money to be that happy about eating it? Or maybe packets from the food bank are stale? I’m not sure what’s happening here.

Now, there’s the viewpoint that it’s better than nothing ( especially when it’s free) but as one of my favorite comic book writers Gail Simone said recently, ‘Just because something is “better than nothing” doesn’t mean it’s any good’. True story.

Still, I have a bunch of them and when life gives you oatmeal packets, throw them in a bowl and make something out of them.Or something like that.

I took my trusty oatmeal pancake recipe from The Joy of Cooking ( if you find a copy of this at a yard sale ,snatch it. It’s one of those must-have cookbooks) and futzed around with it and came up with this:



Another thing I get plenty of at the food pantry is canned , unsweetened applesauce. It’s very thin and finely puréed. It’s excellent for baking and cooking. Eggs are something we don’t always have , so I try to substitute when I can. 1/4 cup applesauce = one egg.

Here is part of my highly technical process in action:

My dearest ones said they were the best pancakes I’ve ever made and were surprised the Maypo packets were in them.

The best looking pancakes were eaten by the time I got to take a picture but what I’m really showing you here is the plate. I am a super klutz and since moving, I’ve managed to break all but two of the plates we own. It’s actually a good thing I only buy second hand or get things from free piles/Freecycle.

Our food pantry has a “Give and Take Closet”. It’s a room with clothing,dishes,housewares,etc. If you need something,take it. They are very clear that if you need something, absolutely take it and don’t worry about giving something in return but I’ve taken advantage of the opportunity to clear out clothing and other things from our own house when I do take something. So, these plates were something I brought home and so far, I’ve managed to not break any. Go, me!









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2 thoughts on “Pantry Anarchy: Oatmeal Pancakes

  1. not thought of the porridge packs as an ingredient before , we have a big box sat here , everyone would sooner starve than eat them . My excuse they were a £1 for 50 , the best use however is filler for cracks in the walls and yes i have done this .k

  2. I’m old enough that I remember those Maypo commercials! The little boy (as you see on the packets) would whine to his dog that his breakfast was “oatmeal” and the dog would convince him it was Maypo and therefore delicious. Wee bairn that I was I was mystified by this–I LOVED oatmeal! It’s still one of my favorite breakfasts. I couldn’t figure out why the little boy didn’t like it. And ironically? Paradoxically? Growing up I NEVER had Maypo. It was too expensive, being flavored with maple and all (hence the name) and we just got the plain old oatmeal that one or another parent cooked up in a saucepan. That one pancake looks incredibly delicious, and the plate’s pretty cool too. Love the teal blue.

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