Pancakes are one of the oldest forms of bread in the world. Basically speaking, a pancake is a thin cake of thin batter, which has been fried on both sides. Typically, they are then filled with either sweet or savoury filling, and eaten as a main course or pudding. But if you have no money, no food, and no respect for your stomach, they can be created from very little in the way of ingredients or money, and provide an almost filling meal.

Starvation, unfortunately, didn't improve art. It only hindered it. A man's soul was rooted in his stomach. A man could write much better after eating a steak and drinking a pint of whiskey... The myth of the starving artist was a hoax.
- Charles Bukowski, Factotum.

P o o r   m a n ' s   p a n c a k e s

Serves one hungry person with around four tasteless pancakes. I offer no sympathies for anyone who actually eats these at home. The following recipe could prove useful if you are ever forced to live through a famine, World War IV or even an alien robot invasion. There's no need to thank me, really.

Ingredients Method
  1. Place the flour in a mixing bowl, jug or other suitable container and add the liquid.
  2. Whisk together until all the lumps of flour have disappeared. You should now have a very basic batter.
  3. Heat a skillet up until it's really hot, then coat the base with the butter or oil and turn down to a medium heat.
  4. Pour in around two tablespoons of batter. The exact amount needed will depend on the size of your skillet and the thickness of your batter. You should aim to cover the skillet.
  5. Cook as you would a normal pancake: wait until the top has bubbled up and the pancake will slide inside the skillet, and then flip it over. Once both sides are a light golden brown, serve.

S o m e   k i n d   o f   c o n c l u s i o n

Flour and water, while being the prime ingredients to a glue-like paste, will not kill you. Just to add that personal twist, I'll say that I ate some of these a few hours ago, and my stomach hasn't started complaining yet, so I guess they're safe for human consumption. It was late, I had no money and no food, and was getting rather hungry, so I decided I would see what I could make from the contents of my kitchen - some flour and bit of milk. My batch of batter tasted more or less like a traditional pancake, just less rich, due to the lack of egg and butter. They had a tendency to be a little on the runny side, but more flour solved that problem.

So then - they're no substitute for real food, but certainly edible.

K i n d   w o r d s

And some not-so-kind words. I never knew the world of flour-based goo was so technical. I am clearly out of my depth here.
  • yclept says add an egg and these'd be crepes.
  • Chiisuta says this is exactly what I needed to know right at this time - I am but a po' man with a fridge fulla nothin'!
  • momomom says ah, basically soft hard-tack.
  • Ereneta says hard-tack my eye, you're describing a flour tortilla. Hard-tack is baked, not pan-fried.
  • yclept says tsk! A tortilla or chapati would be made with a kneaded dough. This is a batter, so it's clearly a pancake. Also, hard-tack has a large proportion of fat added to it to increase its calorie count. So it's not hard-tack either.
  • buffcorePhil says ladies, please. It's a freakin' pancake.
  • yclept says ah, the many permutations of flour paste!
  • RoyHoo33 says add salt instead of butter, and you have the stuff we used to make modeling clay in elementary school, and no it wasn't tasty...
  • Oolong says for what it's worth, gram flour will probably make much nicer pancakes and only be marginally more expensive.