Pancakes. Hotcakes. Flapjacks. Call them what you want—when served up with syrup and your favorite mix-ins, these delectable rounds make for the perfect breakfast must-have.
But what makes this warm, fluffy dish so irresistible? As it turns out, our love for pancakes goes way, way back—beyond cars, cities, or just-add-water mixes.
Read on to learn more about this brunch and breakfast staple, as well as a few delicious ways to enjoy it right now.
A prehistoric passion for pancakes
Are human beings hardwired to enjoy pancakes? It seems that we’ve loved them from our earliest days!
From studying Stone Age grinding tools, researchers have been able to glean that people likely heated cattail and fern flour and water on a heated rock—the early equivalent of your kitchen frying pan or griddle. While we typically use wheat flower today, this is simply the earliest known example of a simple flour-and-liquid combo that (when heated) would come to serve as a must-have part of diets throughout history.
Pancakes have also played a role in religious traditions, too. On Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent begins, religious observants would often make pancakes as a way to use up the perishable ingredients (butter, eggs, etc.) that would not be eaten during Lent. The tradition has persisted so deeply, that many now know the day as “Pancake Day” or “Pancake Tuesday.”
Sweet or savory?
We’ve of course come a long way since cattail and fern pancakes. While most probably associate the word “pancake” with the sweet breakfast treat, the basic recipe can be seen across the globe in both sweet and savory varieties.
Potato pancakes, or latkes, offer a savory option often enjoyed during the celebration of Hanukkah. In Vietnam, a pancake-style dish called Bánh xèo is made with rice batter and served with pork, shrimp and bean sprouts. On the other side of the spectrum, French crepes are often served sweet like dessert—with fruit filling or even chocolate and whipped cream.
For pancake cravings…
When you’re searching for that perfect pancake, what’s your go-to option?
Even from your very own kitchen, you can achieve pancake perfection. While everyone will naturally have their own go-to recipe and favored mix-ins, there are a few fundamental steps that will help you ensure a perfect pancake every time. One is, of course, to butter your pan. This will not only help prevent your pancake from sticking when it’s time to flip—it will also add to the color and rich flavor of your pancake.
Another must-have ingredient for pancakes? Patience! Too often, pancakes become burnt and crumbly when you heat the stove too high—or clumpy and misshapen when you flip too early. Setting your stove to a medium temperature (as opposed to a high one) may take a few more minutes, but it’ll ensure a more even heat all around, preventing burning. Flip when you see tiny bubbles across the surface of your pancake—then, you’re set to flip and cook the other side!
Of course, you don’t need to lift a finger to enjoy that perfect pancake. For a no-fuss option, come down to Peach Valley Café—we’ll do the flipping for you! At this time of year, our Pumpkin or Harvest Pancakes from the Seasonal Valley menu are especially worth indulging in. Other classic flavors abound all year long—you can enjoy deliciously fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes, or opt for Pecan, Chocolate Chip, Banana or Blueberry varieties, each topped with powdered sugar for an extra-sweet treat.
Have a hankering for hotcakes? We’ve got you covered. Come down to Peach Valley Café for a plate of fluffy homemade ‘jacks and all your favorite toppings.