What goes into amaranth pancake?

Published 8:51 am Friday, December 7, 2012

Western Star Lodge No. 26 Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Albert Lea have been around this area since 1858 and for the last 30-plus years have been serving pancake breakfasts once a month to the general public as a means of fundraising for its charitable endeavors such as the food pantry, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, school scholarships and special Masonic charities.

The pancakes are not only tasty, but nutritious, because of the grain that are utilized in the recipe prepared by the Masons — amaranth and white flour. Like buckwheat and quinoa, amaranth is an especially high-quality source of plant protein including two essential amino acids, lysine and methionine, which are generally low in grains. Amaranth is packed with iron and calcium, and its fiber content is triple that of wheat. Amaranth is completely gluten-free and suitable for those with celiac disease; what’s more, it is an especially digestible grain, making it a traditional food for people recovering from illness or transitioning from a fast. The recipe used by the Masons cannot be said to be gluten-free since the ratio of amaranth to white flour is 1 to 5.

For pre-Columbian Aztecs, amaranth was not only a dietary staple, but an important aspect of religious rituals, as the women would shape a mixture of amaranth seeds with honey and even human blood into idols to be eaten ceremoniously. Today, amaranth is often popped like popcorn and mixed with honey, molasses or chocolate to make a popular treat in Mexico called “alegria” (meaning “joy”). Although amaranth derives its name from the Greek for “never-fading flower,” it is its highly nutritious seeds, not its vibrant red blooms, which are its most valuable asset.

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The grain-base of the Mason’s recipe is prepared by purchasing the amaranth grain from a local feed and grain business and then transporting it to a mill in Welcome for milling and combing with white flour. The finished product is then bagged and returned to the lodge in Albert Lea. The remaining recipe is much like KFL in that it is held close to the hearts of the Masons.

The Masons will serve their amaranth pancake breakfasts on the third Sunday of each month beginning Dec. 16, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For information regarding membership in the fraternity, see a brother Mason. No one is ever asked to join; every Mason was inspired by what he learned or observed about Masonry and was thereby motivated to petition to become a brother.


Bill Webster

Albert Lea