Pancakes are truly the ultimate breakfast food to enjoy every morning! Many people love pancakes because of the sweet maple syrup that they put on top of their pancakes. The dripping stack of pancakes is more than many people can resist when looking at a plate of flapjacks!
Pancakes are not only a delicious breakfast for some, but they can incorporate all food groups if you make them right! Some cultures add meat products like ham and chicken to the batter of the pancakes for a different taste!
Still, other cultures make pancakes extra fluffy, thick, or thin. It often just depends on your preference for which kind of pancakes would best please your taste buds!
There are even pancake holidays, but we are getting ahead of ourselves! Let’s start from the beginning and then talk more about the world of pancakes and why they are so tasty!
What Are Pancakes?
Pancakes are basically flattened cakes, usually in the shape of a circle and thinner than a typical cake. Made with many of the same ingredients as a cake (milk, eggs, flour, and butter), a pancake is often made on a griddle or frying pan, usually prepared with oil or grease of some kind. Pancakes are usually made out of a batter of some kind and then fried on the stove.
Typically, pancakes are “flipped” to give both sides a good cook! That’s why some cultures call pancakes flapjacks!
People top pancakes with just about everything – from whipped cream, fruit, and vegetables to traditional maple syrup.
Pancakes are actually quite universal; almost everyone in nearly every culture loves the sweet and savory, stuffed, or topped dessert for breakfast!
Pancakes Around the World
Pancakes are a universal treat, as mentioned. From Europe to Asia, everyone has their own version of this breakfast food! It is one of those breakfast foods that you can eat at any time of the day and with just about any ingredient or topping imaginable!
In Britain, they celebrate Pancake Day on the Tuesday before Lent. This is also known as Shrove Tuesday. Shrove Tuesday takes place the day before Ash Wednesday!
The premise behind Shrove Tuesday (or Pancake Day) is to use up the rich ingredients (eggs, milk, and sugar) before lent; that way, they are not wasted! Lent is when you prepare yourself for Easter by denying yourself a simple pleasure – such as pancakes or sweets! By doing this, you are sacrificing something, as Jesus did when He fasted for 40 days.
There is even a Pancake Day race, where all participants show up with frying pans, dressed in aprons and headscarves! How wild would that be to see?
There’s even a legend that says that during one Pancake Day in the 1400s, a woman was so caught up in making her pancakes that she lost track of time and found out she was late for church! She raced out of the house, still wearing her apron with her frying pan still in hand, running to her church.
Many cities and organizations hold their own Pancake Day races today to commemorate the housewife and to raise money for charitable causes!!
Clearly, there are many reasons to celebrate the tastiness of pancakes, and in many cultures, they do things a little differently than in the United States. While we don’t usually have races for certain food items, a great story or legend, like the woman in Britain, is always a favorite in American culture.
A Brief History of Pancakes
The very first pancakes may have been made by the ancient Greeks. That’s where the first known use of the word “pancakes” is found. The Greek word for “pancake” derives from their word for frying pan! It can be found in poetry that dates back to the 5th Century B.C.
Ancient Greek pancakes were served for breakfast and were probably similar to what we think of as pancakes today in the United States, being made with oil, flour, and honey!
Okay, so in America, we don’t usually make our pancake batter with honey, but we do usually cook it with cooking oil and make the batter with flour, milk, and eggs! That’s what makes them so fluffy! Also, the ancient Greeks made their pancakes with wheat flour instead of regular refined flour, which is probably why they had to add the honey – for taste!
There is an Indian pancake called a meetha pood that might be served with pickles and chutney. Japanese okonomiyaki are made with cabbage! Polish pancakes are thin, like crepes, and while there are many familiar sweet fillings, they can also be stuffed with fried chicken, ham, and potatoes! Talk about your balanced meals!
Different Kinds of Pancakes
As you probably know, there are many different kinds of pancakes. In America, we enjoy crepes and buttermilk pancakes! Buttermilk pancakes are made using buttermilk rather than regular milk. These are not only popular in North America, but Scotland enjoys a good buttermilk pancake recipe or two, as well!
Regular homemade pancakes are made with eggs, milk, and butter in America. Potato pancakes have a potato pancake batter, meaning that potatoes are used as a major portion of the batter.
If you go to Sweden, you may be surprised to learn that Swedish pancakes are made with rice and saffron. They are baked in an oven, too! This probably makes Swedish pancakes a bit healthier. They typically add lemon juice to the sugar for extra taste.
To Sum It All Up
It’s amazing how different cultures around the world eat and honor the traditions of pancake history, right? It’s pretty interesting that some people add meat or cabbage to their choice of pancake! Some might find that a little gross or unusual, but to many cultures, it is the norm of society!
What are your favorite pancakes? Do you have a great pancake recipe you’d like to share with our readers?
Please contact us, or leave a comment! We’d love to read more about your favorite things about pancakes, your best pancake recipe, or how you like to top off your pancakes!