Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Pancakes of the King of Men
by MaceVindaloo, Susu, GilArda

Having spent his childhood and youth in Rivendell to protect him from the spies of Sauron who were diligently looking for the heir of Isildur, one might expect that Aragorn would have led a spoiled and privileged life: being served meals as befitted the heir of the King of Men. But both his mother, Gilraen, and his guardian, Elrond, were wise and understood that Aragorn would face a long, dangerous path to achieve his destiny. Besides, if they spoiled Aragorn, that's what Sauron would have expected! Thus at the tender age of six, Elrond deemed Aragorn old enough to start learning survival skills and sent the boy out into the wild with his sons, Elladan and Elrohir.

The sons of Elrond knew their primary duty was to protect Aragorn, but the point of this exercise was to ensure Aragorn learned the skills they already possessed. So they explained to the young boy that they expected him to share in the duties of the camp, including cooking meals and cleaning. Aragorn openly admired the older ones and was eager to learn; the elves admitted they'd never had a more keen student. It was obvious that their tracking skills and mindset when on the hunt were transferred in whole to the boy.

But the elves also took advantage of their young charge's willingness to do anything they said. As the youngest on the expedition, they ordered him to prepare breakfast every morning, and were surprised that the youngster was eager to comply. This meant getting up early and preparing the bread, but Aragorn had already been helping out in the kitchens at Rivendell and had been instructed by the cooks how to create the perfect pancake, which he knew was better than mere bread and quicker to prepare. He was eager to show off his skill and garner his "brothers'" approval.

His favorite recipe was one that added texture and flavor to this classic breakfast by using oatmeal and nuts in the batter. He'd actually prepared a "dry mix" in advance before heading out on the hunt, and so just needed to add the wet ingredients to it. Since the wet ingredients were based on what he could forage in the wild, the recipe did vary somewhat; the type of egg differed, as did the type of fat to be melted for stirring into the batter. If he could not find a lactating mammal to get milk from, he could use water and a milk powder. In a pinch, he could just use water. Any way he did it, he'd heat up an iron skillet over the open fire and expertly watch and flip the cakes and serve with with a boiled treesap for extra sweetness. His guardians were suitably impressed and reported to their father that the boy would make a fine wife someday!

Years later when Aragorn was King, he'd hook up with King Eomer of Rohan to rout out the orcs and other creatures who had escaped the fall of Mordor. Eomer made the same comment about Aragorn making a fine wife after tasting the King's pancakes while on the hunt. It was rather surreal to have a ruler making breakfast for a royal guard, but Eomer never complained because the results were delicious! Not only would Aragorn make a fine wife, but he cooked a darned site better than his sister, Eowyn who was a notoriously bad cook. They'd joke about how Faramir must be starving, being married to her; if they were in the neighborhood, they'd drop in on Ithilien and ask Faramir to join them for some pancakes. And thus these wholegrain pancakes became the "Meal of Men" in that era!

    Basic Dry Mix
  • 3 cups oats, coarsely ground
  • 3 cups whole-wheat flour, finely milled
  • 1½ tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup sugar
Prepare the Basic Dry Mix by grinding the oats in a food processor or blender till like a coarse flour. Combine with whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix well and keep in an airtight container till needed.

    Additions to Basic Dry Mix, depending on which liquid you are using
  • 3 tablespoons baking soda (if using buttermilk, omit if using milk or water)
  • 2 cups milk powder (if using water, omit if using milk or buttermilk)
* In addition, if you will be using buttermilk to prepare the pancakes, add them to the Basic Dry Mix when blending.

* If you will be using water, add the milk powder to the Basic Dry Mix when blending.

* Do not add either of these if you are using milk.

    Liquid Mix
  • 6 cups buttermilk OR 4 cups milk or water
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
To prepare pancakes, whisk or beat together the milk (or buttermilk or water), the oil, and eggs together in a large bowl till combined well. Using a wooden spoon, slowly stir in the dry mix till the lumps are gone. Let the batter sit for 10 minutes before cooking.

    Additions to Include After Mixing — choose one
  • 3 cups chopped walnuts OR
  • 3 cups fruit, chopped into pea-sized pieces OR
  • 3 cups chocolate chips
Heat a non-stick skiller or griddle over medium heat, or use a regular skillet and oil it lightly. Just before you are ready to cook, stir in the "includes" if desired. Using a ¼-cup measure, slowly pour out the batter onto the hot skillet. These will spread in the first minute of cooking, so don't put them too closely together. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes or till a dark golden brown on one side. The edges of the pancake will appear a bit dry when it's ready to flip. Flip the pancake ONCE and don't press it down — this is the secret to good pancakes! Just leave them alone to cook, nothing you do will hurry the process and fiddling and checking it will only slow it down. Cook for another few minutes till cooked through. Keep on a warm plate under a teatowel as you cook the rest.

If there are leftovers, you can seal the pancakes in an airtight container and freeze them. To reheat, put a stack of 2 or 3 pancakes on a paper towel and microwave on high heat for 1 or 2 minutes, depending on the power of your microwave.

If you prefer not to cook enough to serve 16 (32 pancakes), for each 4 servings (8 pancakes), you will need:
    Ratios for 4 Servings
  • 2 scant cups of Basic Dry Mix (if you used milk powder, use the full 2 cups)
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
Combine as described above.

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