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Aunt Jemima's Explosive Pancakes  

A 1930s original print advertisement for Aunt Jemima’s Pancakes.
A 1930s original print advertisement for Aunt Jemima’s Pancakes.

This extract from food history will make you extra careful while eating your pancakes because they might just be explosive! There were many instances where food was recorded to play an important role in the past,  especially in war times. In our Food History series, this has to be one of the most astonishing ones to come across. So much potential in one of life's greatest pleasures, be it good or bad. These explosive pancakes surely left their mark.

Amidst the chaos of the historic Second World War, the Allies and the Axis powers both pushed for scientific development so that they could outpace the opponent. Technological advancement brought about the creation of weapons in an explosive and destructive manner, unlike anything the world had ever seen before. In an innovative attempt to match such potential, an American chemist and physicist of Ukrainian descent developed an explosive powder that was no different than baking powder in its physical properties. It was at this moment that food history was made.

The pancake flour was codenamed “Aunt Jemima” after the successful pancake mix which was already for sale in the American market. It became incredibly popular amongst the Chinese guerrilla fighters resisting the Japanese.

Government labs oversaw the development of explosives and combined them with regular flour to make the mix look harmless. The biggest selling point of this concoction was that it was actually edible, though not advised. The edibility of the mix was its main emphasis so that smugglers could pass the flour through any doubting customs officers. The mixture was also highly resilient to premature explosion which made it safer to transport. 

Though the mixture was not recommended to be ingested, there have been documented cases where it was baked into cakes and fed to the soldiers when the food ran scarce during the war in China.

A wide variety of quality ingredients are available from Arkadia supermarkets in Malta and Gozo, including Arkadia FoodExpress Swatar and Arkadia Food Market Valletta.

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