While we only celebrate Pancake Day once a year (February 21, 2023), the pancake itself actually dates back thousands of years.
Where did pancakes come from?
Experts believe that people enjoyed pancakes as far back as 30,000 years ago, during the Stone Age. Researchers found pancakes in the stomach of Ötzi the Iceman, famous human remains that date back more than 5,000 years.
In Ancient Greece and Rome, pancakes were made from wheat flour, olive oil, honey, and curdled milk. They were written about in Ancient Greek poems and later Shakespeare even mentions them in his famous plays, All’s Well That Ends Well and As You Like It.
During the English Renaissance, people flavoured their pancakes with spices, rosewater, sherry and apples.
Why do we celebrate Pancake Day?
Pancake Day falls on Shrove Tuesday, which is the feasting day before Lent. In the past during Lent, Christians were not allowed to eat animal products such as milk, butter and eggs. So, people would cook up all the ingredients into tall stacks of pancakes to eat before Lent began.
Unique takes on the pancake
While the pancake remains a daily American classic, different cultures around the world have a different take on them, such as crepes, potato latkes, Irish boxty, Russian blini, Welsh crampog, Indian poori, Hungarian palacsinta, and Dutch pannenkoeken.