Food products that are offenses against nature: Bisquick Shake ‘n Pour


Yes, it's another entry in the extremely sporadic series of food products that are offenses against nature. Today it's the incorrectly-punctuated Bisquick Shake 'n Pour.

For people for whom adding a half cup of milk and one egg to two cups of Bisquick powder is too complicated, now they've even dehydrated the milk and egg and pre-measured the mix, so all you need to do is add a measured amount of water. Because you know, cracking an egg is so time-consuming.

My colleague who tips me off to all the foods that are offenses against nature let me know by email that even she, mother to a three-week-old baby, was able to somehow pull it together and measure out the milk and crack the egg. "Oh wait," she corrected herself. "I made the pancakes from scratch."

Comments (58)
  1. John says:

    I guess the next logical step is to eliminate the shaking and pouring.  Technology marches on!

  2. SM says:

    They beat you to it; the shaking and pouring were eliminated years ago:

    http://www2.kelloggs.com/Product/ProductDetail.aspx?product=169

  3. Chris Walken says:

    Raymond,

    Consider this. Your a single male and besides all the other house chores, you have to do the shopping too. Its Sunday morning, and you have been out late the previous night and a store run might not be something you want to do. You might not have eggs in the refridgerator but yet, you want pancakes. Albeit awful tasting and textured pancakes. You do however have this box of chemicals. In this scenario they have a product that will solve the "hmm no eggs" problem.

    Chris

  4. Ian says:

    Chris,

    That requires you have had the moment of insanity required to buy this instead buying a box of eggs. (And yes, I am in the demographic you specify)

    Ian

  5. Luke says:

    no water, no pouring, just shake and spray directly onto a hot griddle:

    http://www.batterblaster.com/

    Despite being USDA organic certified, does this product still qualify as an "offense against nature"?

    (I actually have this stuff in my fridge right now.)

  6. Nathan_works says:

    I wish I could find the reference I saw at least a year ago saying those products were discontinued.

    The article (I want to say it was NPR All Things Considered, or Marketplace) quoted a Bisquick person talking about how people want to feel more "hands on" when they are cooking and they found the "just add water" versions did not sell very well. How measuring a cup or two of milk, cracking a few eggs and adding some oil counts as hands on eludes me.

    (Given how making them from scratch is trivial makes me wonder how the mixes survive)

  7. James Schend says:

    I’m sorry Raymond, but this post strikes me as "get off my lawn" geezer-ism at its worst.

    If people like the product, what harm is it doing you? If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. People who do like it can buy it. If nobody likes it, it’ll go away. Everybody’s happy.

  8. Jamie says:

    After working for the firm behind this product I can safely say there is plenty of demand for supply of this product!

  9. :S says:

    Anybody trekking/camping ?

    I bet eggs are not comfortable in the backpack.

  10. Mikkin says:

    Raymond must lead a very sheltered life. This is exactly the type of product you want in your larder when refrigeration is unavailable.

  11. Matt Green says:

    I bought one of these types of mixes by mistake. Not recommended at all if taste is a concern.

    And the "single white male" excuse doesn’t really hold much weight. Speaking as one, we have far more time and freedom than married people, even if we have to do absolutely everything ourselves. If you fritter away your time after work and on the weekends, then things can get a bit tight, but, such is life.

  12. Old Coder says:

    I personally love this product.  When my son shows up unexpectedly for breakfast, instant pancake mix is just dandy.  I also very much like this product for camping trips.  Place some banana slices on the pancakes while they are cooking and you have a great tasting pancake everyone loves.

    I have to give you a thumbs down on this post.

  13. Triangle says:

    I would’ve thought someone who works on Windows of all things would know the necessity of ease-of-use over useful features (Such as tasting good) for appealing to a mass market that doesn’t know any better!

  14. George Jansen says:

    Nathan_works: I too have always heard that the mix companies added the requirement for the egg to make cooks feel as if they were doing something. There is probably some larger category that will encompass this and the stinging component added to wound disinfectants to reassure the consumer.

    However, you go on to say "How measuring a cup or two of milk, cracking a few eggs and adding some oil counts as hands on eludes me." Liquid, flour, eggs, and fat, plus something to make it rise–what else do you need in pancakes? They’ve taken away the measurement of baking powder & sugar, that’s all.

  15. MS says:

    Geez, all the people complaining about Raymond joking about a silly product.  Calm down guys, its just pancakes.

    I think the best pancake related thing to ever come out was the Jimmy Dean chocolate chip pancake covered sausage on a stick.  If I remember right, it had like 110% of your daily recommended amount of fat.

  16. Yuhong Bao says:

    In fact, factory farms and GMO foods as well as pesticides are offences against nature. The Monsanto company commited many offences against nature. Sustainable farming is not.

  17. GregM says:

    I’d say the offense against nature is not the "just add water" pancake mix, but the single use container into which you pour the water and then dispose of.  I don’t know why you would want to take this camping or backpacking, as the space in the bottle to add the water is wasted.  Just buy normal instant pancake mix in a box and put it in a zipper storage bag.

  18. Mr Cranky says:

    Let’s talk about from "scratch".  I’ll bet that means that in addition to mixing in an egg, milk, and oil, she also measured out some flour, baking powder and salt.  Yeah, she’s ready for her own show.

  19. Aaron says:

    If you’re the type of person who can’t figure out how to finish off a small carton of milk before its expiry date, but think that horrible-tasting pancake mix that doesn’t require milk is a super idea, then you need to read a friggin’ cookbook.

    I wonder if your Sitten Spynne’s real identity is my ex-roommate who once tried to cook rice without water.

    Or my next-door neighbour, who about 2 months ago asked to borrow a can opener because he didn’t have one.  We both had moved in 5 months prior.

    Do these people just have pizza and coke for every meal of every day?  Just eating cold cereal a couple of times for breakfast will finish off that milk.

  20. Grumpy Old Man says:

    Yeah, well, you know what really gets me?  Automatic transmission!  Dear lord in heaven, is it really so hard to learn to drive properly and use a manual transmission like god intended?

    Oh, wait, god actually intended us to live naked in trees and eat raw vegetables. So, all you grumpy old men – who wants to join me in living a natural life that god would approve of? Noone? We’ld rather just be self-righteous and whine that other people aren’t living up to our standards of purity? Well, ok, that’s cool too, I guess. Its good to be aware of one’s own natural superiority to all those hairless monkeys.

  21. Kjartan Þór says:

    Those things are great as well for those of us not brought up in a country where pancakes are considered breakfast.

    Where I live (Iceland) pancakes are usually very thin eaten with jam and whipped cream so we really don’t have a family recipie for breakfast pancakes so the instant ones work fine while searching for a good recipie.

    Feel free to share some great recipie for pancakes :D

  22. Sitten Spynne says:

    I find milk pretty detestable as a drink, and reasons why I don’t enjoy cereal.  I have a defective respiratory system that loves to produce phlegm all the time; excessive use of milk in my diet makes for unpleasant days.  I’m sorry it offends you that other people live differently than you, Aaron, but I believe your analogy gun is broken.

    Likening someone who doesn’t finish a milk carton by its expiry (sic) date to someone that tries to cook rice without water is not a good analogy.  Some people trade money for goods and services (it’s a new technology!) and in some cases, they trade this money to have other people cook food for them.  In general, this is where my pancakes come from, because on the rare occasion that I decide I’d rather have pancakes than a bowl of oatmeal, it makes more economic sense for me to pay for a plate of pancakes at a restaurant on the way to work than to go out of my way to the grocery store and assemble the perishable ingredients I don’t have on hand then drive back.

    I’m so sorry I’m a sad human being for rarely having the time to cook for myself.  I’ll tell my boss I’m not worth hiring anymore because I don’t leave early and arrive late so as to have the time to prepare meals every day.

  23. Scott says:

    "You might not have eggs in the refridgerator but yet, you want pancakes."

    Actually, as a bachelor, eggs are easy.  You get a dozen and they easily last 4-6 weeks.  I always have eggs. OTOH, milk is expensive, doesn’t last long, and isn’t used for that much (by me at least).  So I never have milk… I do have half-and-half, so I usually come up with some kind of substitution when I need milk.

  24. Nick says:

    @MS: Ah, yes.  Flapsticks!

    http://www.jimmydean.com/products/default.aspx?postId=265

    If only they came with maple syrup injected into the sausage, then they’d be perfect!

  25. Miles Archer says:

    Real pancakes require buttermilk. Good thing it lasts for about a month in the fridge before it goes bad. Actually, I don’t know if goes bad. I think it’s like yogurt and starts out bad and just gets worse. Anyway, I digress.

    Best pancakes ever –

    Core, peel and slice 3-4 large granny smith apples. Saute in plenty of butter. When they’re starting to get soft, take them out of the pan an put them on a plate. Sprinkle liberally with brown sugar and cinnimon.

    In a large bowl, mix about 1.5 cups of flour (the amount isn’t that important) with 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 1 teaspoon of baking soda.

    In another small bowl (I use a 2 cup pyrex measuring cup) beat 1 egg and 1.5 cups of buttermilk.

    Get the griddle to the right tempurature.

    Mix the wet and dry (but not the apples yet) but don’t mix too much. Just enough to get them mixed. Put a ladleful of batter on the griddle. As it is flattening out, put a couple of slices of the apple on top of the pancakek

  26. Hobie-wan says:

    For the two people commenting about eggs not lasting in the fridge… they do just fine if your fridge is set properly. I’ve forgotten about, then eaten eggs 3 or 4 months past their date with no problems. If I were using raw eggs in something, I wouldn’t risk it, but have had no problems with scrambled eggs or baked goods requiring them. As long as they look and smell fine, I wouldn’t worry about them being past their prime date too much.

    There’s plenty of food that is perfectly good (though admittedly not always as tasty) if eaten past the date with the built in  large safety margin. After all, if we all throw any leftovers out the minute a date is hit, we spend more money buying company X’s food, right?

  27. Mats Gefvert says:

    What is *really* needed here, is eggs that can sit in the fridge for six months without degrading. :)

  28. Miral says:

    I regularly use yoghurt and milk for weeks after the expiry date without problems (it’s fairly obvious when they go bad, and it’s usually long after the expiry date).

    But my established trend towards egg usage is about two or three eggs per six months, with them lasting around 1.5 months on average.  And since I can only buy them in sets of six, this just doesn’t make economic sense for me to buy eggs at all.

  29. Bob Snyder says:

    Raymond, your knowledge of Win32 is impressive and very helpful. Thanks for sharing it.

    However, I don’t get much out of these other topics. After reading topics like this one, I often feel as though I’ve wasted my time. They are like junk food:  irresistable, but not very satisfying in the end.

    I always end up wishing that you had posted more of your Win32 knowledge instead. Just my $0.02.

  30. Mark says:

    It’s not just single white males – is there any shame in using prepared cookie dough?

  31. Sitten Spynne says:

    I think I’d like a little clarification about why it’s an offense against nature.  Sure, "from scratch" is great, and so is having milk and eggs for the mix.  Personally, we don’t cook a lot and when we do have milk it was purchased to cook one specific food item and 75% of it ends up in the trash in a week.

    No offense, Raymond, but the snide comment made by the mother reminds me of things I typically read on slashdot: purposefully ignorant of the possibility that some people do things differently.  "I spent all morning installing service packs, then reformatting my machine because I went into a blue screen loop. No, wait, I’m using a Mac; I booted quickly and spent all work productive while my coworkers waited for IT to fix their windows machines. *rubs neckbeard*"

    It just rubbed me the wrong way :/

  32. Rat says:

    Let me tell you what these things are *really* good for. RV trekking/boondocking.

    Storage space for single-meal containers and the resulting (self-sealing) trash is plentiful. But milk and especially eggs are a pain to deal with (e.g. keeping them fresh in a tiny little fridge, keeping them uncracked when you zip around corners and then open the fridge door later, and also when you toss egg shells into a plastic trashbag, they tend to tear out and ooze into your storage spaces… and dried on egg is pure death to clean up… And yes, jugs of egg substitute and cans of condensed milk are acceptable, so it’s not impossible to make pancakes from "scratch"… but then we’re back to foods that are an affront to nature anyway).

    Pancakes are a tasty hot food (even ready-made mixes) that requires very cooking effort and very little cleanup if you only have to wipe down the pan and toss the paper plates and plastic jug.

    Making them from scratch? Not so great. Water for washing up is at a huge premium, and you really don’t want to go pouring left-over library paste into your limited capacity, easily clogged grey-water system either.

  33. Triangle says:

    “If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.”

    Well yeah, but just enough of it for some apple trees, etc.

    It’s not like you have to create the whole thing.

  34. jcs says:

    Bob Snyder: You complain that reading the post was a waste of your time, yet you find time to leave a comment?

    Okay.

  35. Worf says:

    Actually, the egg and cake mix is just an urban legend – http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/cakemix.asp

    The real reason cake mix requires the use of a fresh egg is well… a fresh egg makes a superior cake. Cake mix sales on introduction were great – they doubled in the first few years. Then sales slowed (which people attributed to the egg theory), which was reformulated as fresh eggs made better cakes. But sales didn’t pick up because of this – it was the fact a cake suddenly was a creative endeavour. You had frosting, stuffing, etc that made cake mix sales soar – not the "egg satisfaction".

  36. Andrew R says:

    “If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.”

    — Carl Sagan

    Did she…

    * Cultivate, grow, harvest and mill the wheat?

    * Raise, feed and milk the cow?

    * Generate the gas/electricity to cook it?

    Bah, she didn’t do anything, she merely mixed the final prepared ingredients and didn’t even prepare the fire to cook it… or smelt the iron she used as a hot-plate.

    Lazy.

  37. Matt says:

    @Luke: Yes, I think that IS a product that would qualify as an "offense against nature."  And I must have some.

    @MS: Thank you so much for the pancake on a stick, and thank you, Nick, for finding the link.  These might change my life for the better.

    I work a full time job and do work on the side.  Between all of that and keeping the house up and the yard work, I really don’t have the time or desire to cook.  I’m not good at it, the stuff I make is never all ready at the same time, and after working/smelling the food I’m cooking the whole time, when it is ready I’m just not in the mood for it anymore.  Thankfully, my wife is an ok cook, and she stays at home now so it’s not as much of an issue these days.

    But when she goes out of town, then I’m left to fend for myself.  Normally I just pop open a can of Chicken Noodle Soup or Beef Ravioli and dig in with a fork.  I don’t bother heating it up since they are already pre-cooked, so I’m not going to get sick (or I haven’t yet, anyway).  When my wife comes home she finds the kitchen sink filled with forks and spoons (normally one for each day she was gone) and that’s about it.  It totally grosses her out.

  38. Ray Rex says:

    Bob Snyder, nobody asked for your 2c. You’ve got some nerve.

  39. MS-DOS 2.1 Zealot says:

    My wife and I used this product extensively while camping.  But at home we make pancakes from scratch with whole wheat flour.  So it has its uses.

  40. Chris Walken says:

    Crikes…..

    By not having eggs or milk I didnt mean that they didnt keep. I meant the inventory was nil. And due to trying to figure out how to get fricken owner drawn tool tips to work using only the Win32 API from C++ with VS 6.0 I have not had time to go to the store to get any food.

    (this was not a troll to start a .net flame war. Ill never leave the Win32 API for a framework)

    Chris

  41. mschaef says:

    @Aaron: "Pretty much everything else can be summarized as either (a) I’m too lazy to bother, (b) I’m too disorganized to plan and shop ahead, or (c) all of the above."

    You forgot (d), "I have other things I’d rather do with my time."

    @Aaron (again): "Never mind that autos are cheaper, safer, more reliable, and often faster than manuals these days."

    You forgot that automatics can pollute less. In manual transmission cars, you get off the throttle to reduce engine speed when you upshift. This rapid throttle reduction can cause a fair amount of unburned hydrocarbon emissions as the engine adapts to the rapidly decreasing air flow. Automatics don’t have this kind of throttle usage and avoid this problem. Manual transmission cars end up trying to solve the problem with throttle maps that cause the perception of engine speed ‘hanging’ on upshifts. I remember reading about a year ago, that there was a particular BMW 3 series variant that was able to reach an emissions certification target, only with the automatic transmission, not with the manual.

    Manuals, at least those without the screwy throttle maps, are still more fun… :-)

    @Raymond: "even she, mother to a three-week-old baby, was able to somehow pull it together and measure out the milk and crack the egg. "

    Let’s see how she does with a two year old. You know this, but three week old kids basically don’t move….

  42. John Vert says:

    I’m with Luke on this – if you like Shake ‘n Pour, you’re going to love http://www.batterblaster.com/

    It’s lots of fun for the kids to squirt their pancakes on the hot griddle in fun shapes. Morning entertainment and they might actually eat some too.

    Not the greatest pancakes, but not the worst I’ve ever had.

    And it’s "organic" so you get that warm fuzzy feeling inside.

  43. Jonathan Rascher says:

    Keith: But is that really a bad thing? I personally like thick pancakes.

  44. John says:

    Unfortunately, the mixes that require the addition of eggs and milk are much higher in sodium than than those that require only water. This makes them undesirable for many people.

    Of course the water-only version of the mix tastes much worse…

  45. davel says:

    As someone who has a cow allergy, I can’t have a lot of things because they have whey or (unspecified) milk solids or whatever in them.  When I make my own pancakes, I use goat milk.  It substitutes well for buttermilk in almost everything.  I go with rice milk for cereal.

  46. Norwegian Bachelor Farmer says:

    Powdermilk biscuit mix is a good part of what makes all the women strong, all the men good-looking, and all the children above average in the little town that time forgot and the decades cannot improve.

  47. Aaron says:

    I love the excuses people make.  I don’t have time.  Milk doesn’t keep.  Eggs don’t keep (!).

    Funny, I routinely work 9 or 10 hour days and still have time to make breakfast and dinner, go to the gym, and respond to all my personal calls and e-mail, with plenty of time left for tea and an episode of Lost or whatever it is the kids are watching these days (that’s a joke).  And I get a normal 8 hour sleep.  I’m not claiming super powers here; subtract sleep and extended work from a 24-hour day and there are a full 6 hours left per day for all of this, plus weekends.

    The only two *valid* excuses I’m hearing are from the ones who admit that they can’t grasp the fundamentals of food preparation (that’s OK, we all have our Achilles’ heels), and the ones using it for camping/backpacking (however, may I point out that this is not how they’re marketing the product).  Pretty much everything else can be summarized as either (a) I’m too lazy to bother, (b) I’m too disorganized to plan and shop ahead, or (c) all of the above.

    But the automatic transmission analogy was great, really.  Never mind that autos are cheaper, safer, more reliable, and often faster than manuals these days.  No, they’re purely for lazy people.

  48. Bob says:

    That warm fuzzy feeling inside?  You mean that by "organuic" they’re actually saying they left the fur on whatever animal they used to make the stuff?  Mmmmm, tasty……

  49. Leo Davidson says:

    Show me a pancake that doesn’t taste good and I’ll show you a plate that hasn’t had enough maple syrup poured on it yet.

  50. Chris Clark says:

    When I was in boy scouts we loved when this product came out.  They tasted great while we were camping and were much easier to pack in and out vs. other options.  While I would never choose them for home, they have their place.

  51. JHL says:

    There’s a book you may find interesting, it’s titled In Defense of Food. If not wishing to read a full book (he can write in loops sometimes), here’s a decent seminar video he gave for the book: http://lifehacker.com/389192/michael-pollan-speaks-in-defense-of-food

  52. Keith says:

    I think Raymond has hit the nail on the head, with the statement "For people for whom adding a half cup of milk and one egg to two cups of Bisquick powder is too complicated, now they’ve even dehydrated the milk and egg and pre-measured the mix, so all you need to do is add a measured amount of water."

    The actual recipe for Bisquick pancakes is *Two* cups of milk, one egg and two cups of Bisquick. Raymond’s pancakes would be very thick.

  53. McBain says:

    Camping seems like the obvious application for me.  Its the first thing I thought of.

  54. Robert says:

    The notion that food must be ‘natural’ only makes sense if you are religious or technophobic.

    In reply to the people who suggested that people should use organic foods, I should mention that Vaclav Smil calculated that only four billion people could be fed using organic farming methods (eschewing modern fertilizers).

    I personally hope that one day food technology can be advanced sufficiently that we can stop being forced to use vast tracts of land to grow it, and immense amounts of energy to store it. It may even be possible to get the taste right. ;-)

  55. spitzen says:

    What’s incorrectly punctuated about Shake ‘n Pour? The ‘n abbreviation may not be OED, but it’s pretty common and was even listed as acceptable by the 1980 Associated Press stylebook, which listed rock ‘n roll as their example (guess when I got into the newspaper business).

  56. Ben Hutchings says:

    Taking cooking laziness a step further, ready-fried puppodums: http://www.sharwoods.com/product-range/28/sharwoods-plain-puppodums.htm

  57. Friday says:

    @mschaef:

    (d) is really (a). In fact. Actually. :)

  58. mschaef says:

    @Friday:

    I could maybe buy that argument if time were not a limited resource. If I can save some time in the kitchen and that lets me spend more time with my family, read something interesting, or work a little on getting better my profession, that’s a good thing (at least to me, YMMV).

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