Pancakes: They are not just before Lent anymore!
Quote for Today: “There’s no time for chit-chat when there’s Chocolate Chip Pancakes to be eaten.” Kristen Day
Today is National Pancake Day according to some of my sources. The problem is that other sources say it’s not. Some claim the 26th of this month is Pancake Day, including Perkins’s Restaurants. Perkin’s will be giving away a free stack of buttermilk pancakes this Thursday banking on the fact that you will contribute to their charity “Give Kid’s the World” with all the money you saved. The day before Lent or “Mardi Gras” Day also lays claim to Pancake Day worldwide. This day before Ash Wednesday is the last day to indulge in eggs, butter and syrup before forty days of fasting begins. This day happens to be March 4th in 2014 and is also called Shrove Day.
Today, I choose to write about Pancake Day because of Nancy Green. Who was Nancy Green and what does she have to do with pancakes? Well, here’s the story. Chris Rutt and Charles Underwood bought a flour mill in 1888 and named their venture the Pearl Milling Company. With a lot of competition out there, they sold their excess flour as a ready made pancake mix named “Last Ready Mix.” Mr. Rutt witnessed a Vaudeville Act in the Fall of 1888 featuring blackfaced performers that gave him an idea of how to market his product. Before their idea came to fruition, he and his partner were forced to sell.
World’s Columbian Expo 1893
The R.T. Davis Milling Company acquired Pearl Milling in 1890. This is where Nancy Green comes into the picture. The new owners capitalized on Mr. Rutt’s marketing idea by hiring Ms. Green to portray the character in the Vaudeville play. At the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, Ms. Green was introduced as a spokeswoman for their newly named instant pancake mix, “Aunt Jemima.” Nancy’s skill as a cook and her charming personality won the crowds over at the fair. A band of policemen were on hand daily to control the crowds around her pancake display. She was so popular that the Expo officials awarded her a medal and a certificate.
Aunt Jemima Pancakes
Davis Milling granted Ms. Green a lifetime contract to promote the Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix. This was the beginning of a major promotional campaign and thousands of personal appearances. The company was renamed Aunt Jemima Mills in 1914. Nancy continued with the company and her steady income allowed her to pursue her passion for helping those in need. Her philanthropy centered around feeding the hungry, especially children. Unfortunately, she passed on September 23, 1923 in an automobile accident.
P.S. The International House of Pancakes is also giving away a short stack of pancakes on Shrove Day, March 14, 2014.
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