Ugly Pancakes

Food date: 2016.290

Pancakes are one of my favorite foods. If I go to a diner or anywhere that serves breakfast, I will likely order pancakes, especially if it is a new place for me. I am always on the search for the best pancakes. And when I say favorite, I mean that in my mind, I’m chanting “Pancakes, paaaaancakes, paaaaancaaaakes!!” while drumming the fork and knife on the table. I don’t do that out loud so please don’t be embarrassed if you are with me. At least I don’t think I do. But it is safe to say that I’m serious about pancakes. I prefer buttermilk (made from scratch) with butter and maple syrup, but blueberry pancakes are a close second.

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I was a little surprised to read that pancakes have a very long history in our diets. They come in various forms depending on region but the long standing popularity is likely due to the easy of making them. One does not have to wait for them to raise and they do not need gluten, since too much gluten makes them stiff instead of light and fluffy. Many different flours can be used. The ancient Greeks had tagenites made with wheat flour and sour milk served with honey. Many cultures have their own versions. There is evidence that pancakes go back to prehistoric times. So perhaps my craving for pancakes are simply connecting to my ancestors. Maybe it’s in the genes.

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Why ugly? A few weeks ago, I found interesting Instagram posts on ugly fruits and vegetables. I knew the next topic was pancakes. It occurred to me that every time I make pancakes, they come out so ugly though I tasty. Hence the title.

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Fun Food Facts:

Snow pancakes appear in an English cookbook called A New System of Domestic Cookery by Maria Eliza Ketelby Rundell from 1807. Snow is used in place of eggs. The recipe calls for snow removal from a clean spot of snow. Oh boy, the images that evokes.

Olney England and Liberal Kansas have International Pancake Races since 1950. Pancake racing dates back to mid-1400s in England. I’m serious; here’s proof:

http://www.pancakeday.net. (See the Story section)

The first written recipe in English seems to be from the Good Huswife’s Handmaide for the Kitchin, first published in 1588. A part of the recipe reads:

Take new thicke Creame a pinte, foure or fiue yolks of Egs, a good handfull of flower, and two or three spoonfuls of ale, strain them altogether into a faire platter, and season it with a good handfull of Sugar, a spooneful of Synamon, and a little Ginger….

(As you can imagine, autocorrect was having a field day with that quote.)

The ugly fruits and veggies posts are part of End Food Waste Campaign. It’s worth a look. And if you have Instragram, I recommend following: @uglyfruitandveg. Their website is:

http://www.endfoodwaste.org/ugly-fruit—veg.html

(Previously posted on The Awful Awful Food History Blog, also created by this writer.)

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