The Unofficial, Unhistorical History of Pancakes
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 paginates.
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.
Finally, let’s take a look at Pancake Day, or, as you may or may not know, Marti Gras. Marti Gras is the day before Ash Wednesday, which is 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 come in this week and sit back with your fluffy pancakes, drowned in your favorite topping or 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 cultures in Europe, 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.
- 600 BC — The first recorded mention of pancakes dates back to ancient Greece and comes from a poet, Cratinus, who described warm pancakes in one of his writings.
- 1100 AD — Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day) becomes a traditional celebration as a way to use up dairy products before Lent – the pancake breakfast is born.
- 1445 — The year that villagers in Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom, started their famous pancake race. Each year the winner receives a smooch from the church bell ringer.
- 1870’s — The flapjack becomes known as the pancake and America is changed forever.
- 1880’s — Maple syrup becomes the preferred topping of choice.
- 1933 – Mr. B’s very own Grandfather introduced Anna Robinson as the face of Aunt Jemima in Chicago.
- 1969 – The Barham family opened our first restaurant in Spring Lake, MI.
- 1974 – Mr. B’s Pancake House was opened in Muskegon, MI.
- 1985—To recognize the history and continuing popularity of pancakes, a week-long celebration was created —National Pancake Week.
When you stop in this week and try one of our daily pancake specials, make sure to tell us about your history with the pancake! Have an awesome week!