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By Roz Rogoff

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About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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The Pancake Man

Uploaded: Aug 6, 2012
(Sung to the tune of The Muffin Man)

Oh do you know the pancake man,
The pancake man, the pancake man?
Do you know the pancake man,
That lives in San Ramon?

You can find the pancake man,
The pancake man, the pancake man.
You can find the pancake man,
Right here in San Ramon.

Yes the Pancake Man, Rich Nidever, lives in San Ramon and sells Anna's-Choice Pancake Mixes at the San Ramon Farmer's markets.

Anna is Anna Callaway. She and Rich are married, but she uses Callaway as her career name and for the Anna's-Choice business she started in San Ramon last year. Anna also owns Choice Ingredients, a company she started 14 years ago, which sells Organic and Natural ingredients to major Natural Food companies.

Anna's-Choice Pancake mixes are not your (or my) ordinary pancake mixes. I consider Bisquick one of the great inventions of the 20th Century, but Anna's-Choice Pancake mix is an upgrade from Bisquick and especially Aunt Jemima. Rich says his goal is to replace Aunt Jemima with Anna's-Choice healthy pancake mixes.

Considering the price difference, $7 for 19 oz. package Anna's-Choice compared to less than $4 for 32 oz. box of Aunt Jemima, that's probably not going to happen soon, but Rich and Anna want to improve the nutritional value of traditional pancakes. In fact they go nuts over nutrition. OK, pun alert, Anna's-Choice adds nuts to their mixes.

Right now they have mixes with Almonds, Macadamia nuts, and Pecans. I've tried the Almond and Macadamia nut so far. I found the Almond a little disappointing.

I like almonds, but I didn't get the almond flavor from the pancakes as much as from eating whole almonds. I buy the Blue Diamond Smokehouse, Jalapeno, and Honey roasted regularly. I tried the Wasabi Soy and the Salt & Vinegar and didn't finish those cans. So far I haven't finished Anna's Almond pancake mix either, but I'll finish it off tomorrow. One half cup of mix makes three pancakes at a time; so one bag lasts me for four breakfasts.

I finished off my first bag of Macadamia Nut mix last week and bought another bag this week. My father loved Macadamia nuts. He died 30 years ago, and I still miss him. He was the best person I ever knew.

Macadamia nuts were very expensive and hard to find 40 years ago. These were a big reward for pop, and he deserved it. A little jar cost around $10 in the 1960's so $7 for pancakes with Macadamia nuts isn't that much now, and the memories are worth millions.

I suggested to Rich and Anna that they contact Roseanne Barr. Barr bought a Macadamia nut farm in Hawaii, and she could be a celebrity spokesperson. Some people think Rosanne is already a little nuts, and she has a tendency to take over. She might want to change the name to Rosanne's-Choice. Anna and Rich are "not ready to reach out to celebrities yet." That's a wise decision for a business just getting off the ground.

I bought the Pecan mix but haven't tried it yet. It's "gluten free," but I'm pro-gluten. I actually buy gluten flour to add to bread to give it more density. I'm not sure I'll like a gluten free product, but I like pecans, so I want to try it.

In addition to adding nuts to the pancakes, Anna sells nut sprinkles and nut swirls (like a nut butter) for spreading on top. I bought a jar of Almond butter from an Almond farm booth when the Farmer's Market was at Forest Home Farm. I had a little left over that I brought to show Rich. It was coarse and grainy and the oils had separated. He looked at it with a little distain and handed me a sample of Anna's-Choice Almond Swirls.

This was amazingly smooth and tasty. Anna's-Choice offers Almond Swirls and Cashew Swirls. Both are blended with Macadamia nuts, which is probably why the texture is so smooth. The swirls are too thick for me to spread on pancakes, but I tried them as a topping on vanilla ice cream (I really shouldn't), and they are better than syrup.

Anna emailed me about why she calls them Swirls, "Eventually my swirls will be in a spouted pouch to swirl on the pancakes or waffles and finish with a little sprinkle."

Here's more about her future plans for making breakfast fun and healthy.

"I wanted to create products that were fun and easy to encourage children to make their own breakfast. I started cooking at 8, and would have loved to have products that were fun and easy to use. I hope to create a software program in the future which will teach children how to cook and make good food choices. I am passionate about nutrition and want children to be able to eat healthy with my brand."

Anna's pancake mixes are "complete" which means add water only. I'm a little suspicious of complete pancake mixes. I've been making pancakes with Bisquick for years, and that requires adding eggs and milk.

I made the Macadamia nut mix and the Almond mix with water and both were good. I also added an egg and 1% milk to one batch and couldn't taste any difference. The mixes contain non-fat milk powder, but you might want to toss in an egg or two for additional protein.

There's a recipe on the bag for waffles that adds eggs and vegetable oil. I bought a waffle iron at CVS for $20. This is not exactly Williams Sonoma quality. The waffle iron looks like one of the expensive rotating kind you find in an upscale hotel brunch, but for $20 it won't last more than a couple of flips. I've used it twice now and the waffles came out great. I hope it lasts until I finish the bag!

I like packaging the mixes in heavy, foil-lined bags instead of boxes. The bags take up less room on the shelf and can be wrapped smaller as you use up the contents.

There's a label on the bag that says, "For best results refrigerate after opening." I haven't put the open bags in my refrigerator (it's very crowded in there) but so far the mixes keep fresh without refrigeration. It's easy to squeeze the air out, and fold the top of the bag down around the leftover mix.

The packaging is very practical and would be easy for taking on camping trips where we could sing The Pancake Man song. So all together now (to the tune of The Muffin Man):

Oh yes I know the pancake man,
The pancake man, the pancake man.
Yes I know the pancake man,
That lives in San Ramon.

So get to know the pancake man,
The pancake man, the pancake man
Get to know the pancake man,
That lives in San Ramon.


Other innovative startups in San Ramon
Rainsaucers http://rainsaucers.com/products.htm
Vitality Bowls http://www.vitalitybowls.com/
Schubros Brewery http://www.schubrosbrewery.com/
Gardens of California http://www.gardensofcalifornia.com/

If you have a new business you would like profiled in my San Ramon Observer blog (if you dare, and no Press Releases please), email me at rrogoff@embarcaderopublishing.com

Comments

Posted by Cinderella, a resident of another community,
on Nov 17, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Try adapting "Heavenly Hots" pancake recipe that can be found on Line using this mix.
Divine!







Posted by Cinderella, a resident of another community,
on Nov 17, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Try adapting "Heavenly Hots" pancake recipe that can be found on Line using this mix.
Divine!







Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Nov 17, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

Cinderella,

Thanks for posting this. I found the recipe for Heavenly Hots on Nibble Dish. It doesn't have much flour in it. It is mostly eggs, sour cream, and sugar.

Do you replace the 4 T flour with Anna's Choice Pancake Mix? That does sound very good. I'll have to try it if my cholesterol level can stand it.


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