Who made the first pancake

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Many people wonder who made the first pancake while eating this delicious food. It is known that the first pancakes were made and eaten by ancient people. Pancakes eaten by ancient people didn’t look exactly like the pancakes we know today. Ancient pancakes were called ‘Alita Dolcia’ what in Latin means ‘another sweet’ and were simple, fried concoctions of eggs, flour , milk and spices. The finished product had many varieties. It could be fritters, pancakes, custard or omlettes. Everything depended on proportion of ingredients and method of cooking. Some of the dishes prepared, where sweet with addition of fruits, honey or nuts whereas the other were savory, served with meat, cheese, vegetables or fish. Ancient recipes are also believed to be relatives of cakes, muffins, waffles and doughnuts. Pancakes which we eat in America nowadays, were invented  in Medieval Europe.

First pancakes which were different from plain griddle breads are sweet ones mentioned by Apicius. They were made from batter of eggs, milk, water and flour and served with pepper and honey. Later an English culinary manuscript from 1430 year refers to pancakes, but the reference doesn’t occur often in early printed cookery books.

Pancakes due to their long history, have reflected regional cuisine and local customs. Pancakes can be made from cornmeal, potatoes, wheat flour or buckwheat. Milk can be replaced with buttermilk or even water. Firs ancient pancakes were cooked on bake stones, medieval on hearths and pioneer griddles. Now they can even be cooked in microwave. Final product can be thin or thick pancakes. They can also be sweet or savory, served for example with butter and smothered with syrup, or with cheese and meet. Thin pancakes can be rolled around with jam. Christians developed many traditions linked with pancakes. Throughout Europe pancakes had a place among Easter foods, especially on Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras. It is the last day before Lent. Customs varied from country to country… One typically English institution is the pancake race. The oldest Pancake Race has been held at Olney in Buckinghamshire, in most years since 1445.

Shrove Tuesday is the day before the Christian Lent season begins. The connection between pancakes and Shrove Tuesday is rooted in the need to deplete stores of forbidden by the Catholic Church foods during the Lent. These are eggs, meet, milk, oil and other fats. This tradition began in Medieval times and continues today in the form of Pancake Day in some countries. There are many customs connected with this day. The Olney pancake race is said to be one of the oldest. Shrove Tuesday is celebrated in many countries around the world. Celebrations are various. Everything depends on tradition of country.

Fat Thursday is a traditional Polish and German feast marking the last Thursday before Lent and it is associated with the celebration of Carnival. Lent is a time of fasting and the next opportunity to feast would not be until Easter. Fat Thursday is a day dedicated to eating. People meet in their homes or in cafés with their friends and relatives and eat large quantities of sweets, cakes and other meals. The most popular are not pancakes! Polish people enjoy eating “pączki”- fist-sized doughnuts filled with rose marmalade and “faworki”- French dough fingers served with powdered sugar.

In America, pancakes are usually served for breakfast. They also have quite long history in our country. The history of pancakes is as old as that of the Native Americans who shaped a soft batter in their hands and called it in their language “nokehick”, what exactly means: “it is soft”. The early settlers transmuted this word into “no cake”. The first eaten pancakes by settlers were also called “Indian cakes”. It was as early as 1607 and these “Indian cakes” were made from Cornmeal. In 1740 similar cakes from buckwheat were made by Dutch who lived in America. They were called “buckwheat cakes”. English settlers brought with them the tradition of Pancake Day, which was previously called Shrove Tuesday. In 1745 and later Americans used to call pancakes “hoe cakes”, mainly because they were cooked on a flat hoe blade. And of course one of the most favorite versions of this simple cakes is the Johnnycake or Flapjack. Johnnycake is associated with Rhode Island and Flapjack has a long history dated back to 1620. “Flap” means to toss.  In the past, Flapjacks used also be a sort of apple tart or apple turnover. The word “pancake” came into general usage in the 1870s.

Interesting fact about pancakes:
Even William Shakespeare mentions pancakes four times in his two plays. Both plays were comedies and both characters mentioning pancakes were clowns.

Kitchen Tools For Making Pancakes


Find your favorite pancake recipe!

Our website is full of recipe for making pancakes at home but if you can't find the one you want there is another cool site that has over 25 different recipes - check out http://thepancakerecipe.com/.

Other Recipes

There are also a few other recipe websites that I would like to recommend. If you like waffles then go to http://www.waffle-recipe.com, they have lots and lots of recipes for different waffles from Belgian to Liege. Then there is also this site that specializes in potato recipes and has a nice section on how to make potato pancakes, great for those leftover mashed potatoes - check them out!

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