Macaroni Pancakes (1915) ★★★


Here's a fairly unique recipe, from a cookbook advertising Allinson products. The Allinson company still exists today and continues to sell flour products based on Dr. Allinson's original standards. Dr. Thomas Allinson was a Victorian who was concerned with nutrition and diet, especially the use of wholemeal flour, which he recognized as more nutrient dense than refined white flour. He created a bread making company which aptly used the slogan, "health without medicine." Here's a quote from his cookbook, which discusses the health benefits of wholemeal flour:
Most of my readers have received great benefit from eating wholemeal bread instead of white, and they may all gain further good it they will use Allinson wholemeal flour in place of white for all cooking purposes. Those who are at all constipated, or who suffer from piles, varicose veins, varicocele, back pain, &c., should never use white flour in cooking. Those who are inclined to stoutness should use wholemeal flour rather than white. Hygienists and health-reformers should not permit white flour to enter their houses, unless it is to make bill-stickers' paste or some like stuff. Toothless children must not be given any food but milk and water until they cut at least two teeth.

Original Recipe:


2 oz. of macaroni, 1/2 pint of milk, 3 eggs, 3 oz. of Allinson fine wheatmeal, sugar to taste, the grated rind of a lemon, butter, and 1 whole lemon. Throw the macaroni into boiling water and boil until quite soft; drain it and cut it into pieces 1 inch long. Make a batter of the eggs, meal, and milk, add the lemon rind, sugar, and the macaroni; fry pancakes of the mixture, using a small piece of butter not bigger than a walnut for each pancake. Sift sugar over the pancakes and serve them very hot with slices of lemon.

The Verdict:

So when I first found this recipe, I thought it was something like this. I got a bit of a surprise after I actually read the ingredients. I prepared myself to eat something really gross, know what? These were okay! The sugar and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice made these pancakes great. Otherwise, they were fairly plain. I thought the macaroni would be weird, but it didn't really affect the texture or taste. However, that kind of made me wonder why they were even in the recipe to begin with. I guess it's good if you have leftover plain pasta from dinner, but otherwise I think it would be simpler to just make regular pancakes.
These pancakes were a tiny bit eggy, which I think was my fault, since I used 3 large eggs, forgetting that in the past, eggs were probably a bit smaller. Also, I used regular flour because it was what I had. Apparently wholemeal flour absorbs more liquid, so I added extra flour to get a better consistency.

Modernized Recipe:

(Adapted from The Allinson Vegetarian Cookery Book)

2 ounces MACARONI, cooked and cooled
1 cup MILK
3 small EGGS
SUGAR, to taste
BUTTER, for frying
1 LEMON, for garnish

1. Make a batter of the eggs, wholemeal flour, and milk. Add the lemon zest, sugar, and prepared macaroni.
2. Fry the pancakes, using no more than a walnut-sized piece of butter for each.
3. To serve, sift sugar over the pancakes and garnish with a slice of hot lemon. Serve hot.

Anje graduated with a Honours Bachelors degree in History with a minor in Museum Studies. She currently lives and works in Japan's least populous prefecture as an assistant English teacher.


  1. Fascinating. I am just as surprised as you are over the success of these!

  2. The macaroni does seem a bit weird. Weirder still is that Dr Allinson chooses to use macaroni at all since it most likely was made from highly processed white flour. Plus, you have to cook, cool and chop it up. Or did the Allinson Company make a whole wheat macaroni? Back in 1915, people may have been looking for inventive ways to use dry pasta due to food shortages during the War.