Pancakes are a very easy, low cost food that are made all over the world. Each country has it’s on versions of the simple staple which can be either savoury or sweet. Pancakes seem to have their first mention in history in 5th BC when they were recorded as ταγηνίας (tagēnías) by Greek poets Cratinus and Magnes. The Greeks made Tagenites with wheat flour, olive oil, honey and curdled milk, and they usually had them for breakfast. Another kind of pancake was σταιτίτης (staititēs), “of flour or dough of spelt”. Athenaeus of Naucratis talks about them as topped with honey, sesame and cheese in his work “Deipnosophistae”.

It is believed the first pancake recipe in print was in an English cookbook from the 1585
AD, entitled “‘The Good Huswifes Jewell’. You can see a copy of this recipe on the British Library’s website

The term “flat as a pancake” is believed to have been in common use in English at least since 1611.

They are known around the world by different names, here are a few examples:
English – Pancakes
Greek – Tiganíta
French – Crêpes
Spanish – Crepe
German – Pfannkuchen
Lithuanian – Blynai
Russian – Blini
Pancakes have been made from a variety of different ingredients depending on what was available in the area in question. They are no longer just flat breads, but can be yeasted, can be raised with baking powder to make them fluffer, can be made from different flours like buckwheat, spelt, oat, chickpea or just about any other flour you can think of. They have branched out in to waffles, piklets, crumpets and even been transformed altogether into what we know as potato pancakes which have also transformed into ones made from a variety of different vegetable like courgette &sweet potato.

Whatever kind of pancake you like to eat you are part of a worldwide love of a very old, very yummy food tradition!