Pancake recipes: through the ages
In France they are thin and light. In Germany they are sprinkled with cinnamon and served with mashed apple. In the States they are fluffy and thick, and in England they are drenched in lemon and sugar. Russian blinis, Indian dosas and Ethiopian injeras can all be classed under the same category: pancakes.
In fact, there are few foodstuffs that can claim to have a whole day in their honour, but Pancake Day (or Shrove Tuesday) is celebrated in countries around the world - although admittedly the occasion may have lost some of its spiritual resonance in latter years.
Pancakes have been around for centuries, however. The Elizabethans were one of the first to toss, or at least record, their pancake recipes. According to the 1594 edition of the 'Good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchen', a pint of “thicke creame” and 2 or 3 tablespoons of ale were a necessary addition to the mixture.
The 17th century was less indulgent. Gervase Markham's 1615 pancake recipe suggests “a pretty quantity of faire running water”, which seems to have replaced not only the cream, but also the milk. And there doesn't seem to be any sign of the ale, either, in a rather puritanical twist.
Of course, there's no reason why anyone should wait for Pancake Day to enjoy these tasty treats. For delicious pancake recipes, take a look at Waitrose's online cookery guides.
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