Food and Rationing

Cheese Pancake

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Cheese Pancake

  • 4 oz. Flour.
  • 2 oz. Grated cheese.
  • 1 ½ Gills milk and water
  • 1 Teaspoon baking powder.
  • Salt and pepper.

Method, Mix the flour and liquid into a batter then add baking powder and cheese.

Melt fat in a frying pan, and when smoking hot pour in sufficient batter to cover the bottom of the pan.

Fry pancakes to a golden brown on each side. If liked, this mixture can be made into drop scones, using a girdle, greased hot plate or frying pan.


For this project, I chose Cheese Pancakes. I love cheese and pancakes but never thought about mixing the two. The recipe came from the Recipes Past and Present website which takes its recipes from leaflets, Ministry of Food, used for rationing during WWII. I’m a little hesitant about tasting this later because cheese and pancakes do not seem like something that should be mixed, like mint chocolate (ick.).

For my assistant, I have drafted my boyfriend Moses to help me measure and do math. For example, after googling what gills milk means it turned out to be a unit of measure

In the US, 1 US gill = 4 US fl oz

Moses is better at math than me, although this is easy math I was still trying to figure out what’s going on with this unit of measurement. So, for this we will be using 6 US fl oz all together. 3 fl oz for milk and 3 fl oz for water.

(As for a gill being a unit of measurement, it is no longer commonly used except when it comes to the use of alcohol.)


First thing, gather all the ingredients:

Ration the milk and water:


Get ready for the unusual ingredients for pancakes (Bet you never ate pancakes with these):

Mix everything, including cheese:

Honestly the mixing process was really strange when we added the salt, pepper, cheese and baking powder. As I was pouring the pepper and salt Moses could not believe this is what people were eating during WWII. Adding the pepper alone was a little unsettling, why pepper with pancakes?


Now we take a bit of fat and let it simmer on the warm pan for a while

(There was more but most of it had already melted when I took the picture)

The smell was really weird. It kind of smelled like burning butter but also a little like oil. It certainly starting popping a bit like oil, that’s when I had to move away from the stove. I wasn’t sure if some would fly off the pan and I wasn’t prepared to find out.

I poured enough batter to make a medium sized pancake.

And when it settled it looked flat, the batter didn’t rise much but that’s to be expected due to rationed ingredients.

And for the big finale!

A beautiful golden-brown pancake.

Looks like a normal pancake so that made me think maybe the taste wouldn’t be too bad.

When I put it on the plate, it looked like an omelet and I was immediately turned off.

I don’t like eggs. I don’t like the smell, sometimes I don’t even like looking at them; and when I put this out it smelled like eggs.

I broke off a small piece of the edge and it was crunchy so that made me feel good. That part tasted okay, had a nice crunch and it tasted a bit like cheese.

I gave a piece to Moses and he made a ‘ew’ face and said it tasted like seasoned dough that had pepper and cheese.

When my mom tried it, she said it was bland but it was kind of good.

So, I thought so the end result wasn’t that bad and I took another piece, but this time from the middle.

It was soft, and the taste of cheese along with pepper was too much for me. It didn’t even taste blended together, somehow the cheese and pepper tasted as if I took a bite of cheese and then a bite of pepper. That was really weird.


Final thought:

Those two ingredients should not be mixed together. Going through the process was interesting since I got a slight glimpse as to what people in WWII had to do. After tasting the end result though I feel thankful that I don’t have to ration my food and I can use how much I want in what I make. It also made me realize that the people going through WWII who had to ration were also troopers in their own way. The food may not taste good but you got to do what you got to do in order to do your part.

1 Comment

  1. Nia,

    This actually looks like it would taste pretty good. (I am a fan of savory pancakes and pepper.) I’m wondering if part of the problem was the uneven mixing of ingredients or the fact that the three tasters seem to have very different taste buds. You are right to note that people had to do their part and part of that was rationing food. I wonder if you have thought about why cheese would be added here? What is it about cheese that would make the Ministry of Health recommend it in so many recipes?

    (Also, I disagree, chocolate and mint should ALWAYS go together!)

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