The pancake is one of the easiest foods to cook but yet remains one of the most beloved especially when Shrove Tuesday comes around.

It is that good that we have even have Pancake Day. An entire day is dedicated to the pancake.

Technically, it is Shrove Tuesday, but we’d be lying if we said that you don’t hear everyone talking about Pancake Day at work or school.

But where did this obsession with the pancake come from?

The earliest written record comes from the Greeks and Romans around 500 BC when Athenian poet Cratinus described having a ‘flat cake’.

Now looking back in history, a ‘flat cake’ is commonly used to describe a pancake as the word pancake wasn’t made yet.

People didn’t begin using the word pancake until the 15th Century.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word pancake was derived from the Middle English panecake or ponkake, which only came into use during the medieval era.

Thomas Austin’s Two 15th-Century Cookery Books advised readers to set a pan over the fire, pour in the batter and let it spread to “makyst a pancake.”

Fun Fact

Thomas Jefferson loved pancakes so much that he sent a special recipe from the White House to his hometown in Western Virginia.

The method of making pancakes seems to have always stayed consistent throughout history. 

Greek physician Galen included a recipe in his ‘On the Properties of Foodstuffs’ that’s similar to how Russian blinis or Canadian griddlecakes are prepared today.

He wrote: “The oil is placed in a frying pan that is put on a smokeless fire, and when it has become hot the wheaten flour, soaked in a large amount of water, is poured into it.”

Traditionally, the short preparation time and limited ingredients in pancakes made them a working-class food.

The pancake’s status as a food of the people stretches back centuries all the way back to the 1700s.

In the cookbook Country Housewife’s Family Companion, author William Ellis said pancakes are “one of the cheapest and more serviceable dishes of a farmer’s family in particular; because all the ingredients of the common ones are of his own produce, are ready at hand upon all occasions.”

So if pancakes have always been around, why do we now have Pancake Day?

Funnily enough, the connection between Shrove Tuesday and Pancake Day goes beyond them being on the same day.

Shrove Tuesday is the holiday for feasting before Lent.

At one point during Lent, people were not allowed to eat any animal products like milk, eggs and butter.

To prevent them from going to waste, people would cook these ingredients on Shrove Tuesday creating tall stacks of pancakes.

They would be consumed in large quantities on the day which is why it is now also referred to as Pancake Day.

It is also beloved around the world with each culture having a unique take on them from Dutch pannenkoeken to Welsh crampog to Hungarian palacsinta.

Whether people eat them for breakfast, lunch or dinner and no matter the topping, they never fail to bring a smile to people’s faces.

So next time it comes around to the faithful day, you know everything you need to know to impress your friends with pancake facts.