It's seven in the morning and a wonderful smell drifts up the stairs and finds its way under your door. The smell slowly fills your room and coaxes you out of your peaceful slumber. At first, you have no idea why in the world you are up so early on a Saturday morning, but then the smell really registers. You know that smell. You love that smell. Quickly, you jump out of bed and run downstairs to find that your wildest dreams have been realized.
There, on the kitchen table all fluffy and warm are your mother's homemade pancakes.
As you sit down to enjoy the fluffy deliciousness we call pancakes today, a thought pops into your head. How exactly was all this possible? Where did pancakes come from and who invented them. In order to answer that simple, innocent question, we'll have to go back to ancient times and then take a look at some variations of pancakes that have evolved in different cultures over the centuries.
'There, on the kitchen table all fluffy and warm are your mother’s homemade pancakes.' — Kat Safreed
The first pancakes can date back to Ancient Greek. Since the 6th century, pancakes have been an important part of any Greek person's breakfast. The first recorded mention of pancakes comes from the poet Cratinus who described warm pancakes in one of his writings. In Greece, pancakes are called taginites.
The French have their own spin on pancakes, calling their thin little disks crepes. These crepes can be filled with just about anything from eggs to cheese and even spinach and fish! Crepes can be eaten not just for breakfast, but for lunch and dinner as well. Crepes are served in countries all over the world, but are most popular in France and other European countries, though their popularity has spread to America and even Asian countries as well. You can even find crepes on the menu of some Ikea's!
Kaiserschmarrn is a popular pancake dish that originated in Austria-Hungary. Scholars agree that the first kaiserschmarrn was probably served to the Austrian emperor Francis Joseph I. This type of pancake it cut up into pieces and other ingredients like berries, nuts, and raisins. This pancake is usually eaten like a dessert and served with apple or plum sauce.
Finally, let's take a look at Pancake Day, or, as we know it, Marti Gras. As we all know, Marti Gras is the day before Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. Centuries ago, flour, eggs, and sugar-all of which are important ingredients of pancakes-were not allowed to be consumed during Lent because they were considered to be luxury foods. Since Lent is a time to sacrifice luxuries, these and a few other foods were not eaten during the forty days of Lent. So, the day before Ash Wednesday became Pancake Day, a day to use up all the left over eggs, flour, and sugar to make the last batch of pancakes until Easter.
Now as you sit back with your fluffy pancakes and drown them in syrup, you can see just how amazing this funny little food is. It is important in many cultures and each culture has its own take on pancakes, complete with different names and ingredients. Each different type of pancake has its own unique backstory and beginnings. From ancient Greece to an emperor in Austria-Hungary, each different type of pancake is unique. However, one thing remains the same: The fact that this food has linked so many different cultures across the world.