I made sourdough pancakes with my nephew as a fun activity before leaving him for a bit. We had a blast, he helped add ingredients and stir and loved flipping the pancakes on the griddle. When my sister wasn't looking, I would sneak him some maple syrup, his laugher gave us away, but she let him think we were getting away with the ruse. Turns out, it's also one of two national pancake days today! What a treat... but for how long has this treat been around?
Pancakes have been around for centuries as a favorite staple in many cultures’ diets. They began over 30,000 years ago during the Stone Age. Researchers have found pancakes in the stomach of Otzi the Iceman, human remains dating back 5,300 years.
In ancient Greece and Rome, pancakes were made from wheat flour, olive oil, honey, and curdled milk. Ancient Greek poets, Cratinus and Magnes wrote about pancakes in their poetry. Shakespeare even mentions them in his famous plays. During the English Renaissance pancakes were flavored with spices, rosewater, sherry, and apples.
The name “pancake” started during the 15th century but became standard in 19th century America. Perviously, they were called indian cakes, hoe cakes, johnnycakes, journey cakes, buckwheat cakes, buckwheats, griddle cakes, and flapjacks. Early American pancakes were made with buckwheat or cornmeal. Thomas Jefferson loved them so much he sent a special recipe to his home town from the White House.
Pancake Day is real. In fact, doubly so! Shrove Tuesday (Fat Tuesday) is the holiday of feasting before Lent. During Lent, some people are not allowed to eat animal products like milk, butter, and eggs. To prevent these ingredients from going to waste they were cooked into tall stacks of pancakes. They were consumed in such large amounts that this day earned the rightful name of Pancake Day. The fall version of the day dates back to 2005. Originally the observance started as 'Lumberjack Day'. Marianne Ways and Collen AF Venable sought an excuse to eat pancakes and waffles with friends. Since it was one week after “Talk Like a Pirate Day” and that theme had been worn out, eating lots of pancakes like a lumberjack seemed a better holiday than ever to them.